By Bobinec, Greg on December 23, 2019.
Lethbridge residents heard the sounds of tubas, baritones, sousaphone and euphonium enthusiasts from all over play together for the seventh annual Lethbridge Tuba Christmas.
For the last seven years, the Lethbridge Community Band Society has followed the international event that brings together dozens of tuba and tuba-like players to learn, rehearse, and perform Christmas music to the community, all in one day. Organizers of the Lethbridge concert say it is less about the quality of the music, but a way to say thank you to the community and bring players together.
“The Lethbridge Community Band looks at this as our Christmas thank you to the community,” says Rene Van de Vendel, treasurer of Lethbridge Community Band Society.
“This is less about the quality of the music and the ability of the players, and is far more about Christmas and giving and the sounds of the season, so what we do is we try to find as many people as we can to play tuba or a related instrument, and we put them all together in a room and play fairly simplistic Christmas tunes and as a result you will see players like myself who have been playing for 40 years beside young people that have played for maybe two months, and that is the power of the event.”
Tuba Christmas Lethbridge has brought players from all skill levels and from all over together to share love of music and Christmas. The musicians dress up in their favourite Christmas sweaters, santa hats, and interesting holiday decorations, while decorating their tubas as well. The City of Lethbridge has enjoyed what Tuba Christmas has brought to the city and music community, prompting them to give LCBS grant funding to make the concert free to participate in and attend.
“It has built a community around the tuba and we know that because we see more students from different schools from around the city, but also professional players, semi-professionals, or hobbyists,” says Van de Vendel. “Over the last two years, the City of Lethbridge has really enjoyed what we have done and they have now supported us with a grant for the event, so that we can offer this free of charge.”
With many different choirs, orchestras, and musical groups putting on Christmas concerts throughout the holidays, Van de Vendel says the unique part of Tuba Christmas is how it brings unexperienced and upcoming musicians together with senior or expert musicians, and seeing the younger talent eyes open to new sounds and experiences.
“We do a lot of music this time of year, but this one for me is special because an old person like me is able to sit next to a 12 year old that doesn’t really know all of the notes that we are playing, but they sit next to me and their eyes are wide open from the excitement, they have never experienced the sounds they will hear today, and that makes it really special,” says Van de Vendel.
The 2019 instalment of Lethbridge Tuba Christmas featured over 40 tuba, baritone, sousaphone and euphonium musicians from all over, to bring some Christmas cheer to the community right before the holidays commence.
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