Crowds gathered near the steps of the Old Capitol Friday for the annual “Holiday Tubas” concert. Tuba/Euphonium Professor John Manning donned his Santa suit to lead The University of Iowa Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble a mix of season favorites. This year tuba, euphonium, and sousaphone players throughout the community were invited to play alongside the students. In addition to enjoying the unique sound of the tuba ensemble, concert goers filled several large boxes with toys for Toys for Tots, which distributes the toys to needy children around the area.
“Usually, [the best part is] just seeing the reaction of people watching, and people stopping to listen, and seeing little kids dance around when we play,” said Blaine Cunningham, a DMA candidate in Collegium Tubum.
Holiday Tubas has been a part of the Iowa City December scene since the 1970s. Bob Yates, a former music professor at UI, began the performances to bring the holiday spirit to campus. A welcome break from tradition this year was the weather–unseasonably warm temperatures found even more people out and about who stopped to listen to the music. Equally pleased were the musicians, who generally have to contend with cold fingers and freezing valves on their instruments due to the cold December weather.
The ensemble performs numerous concerts during the school year, including Oktubafest, Spooky Tubas, and studio recitals, but Holiday Tubas is the only outdoor event. The music played at Holiday Tubas is also easier for the players because they are joined by amateur musicians including children, alumni, and volunteers.