Musicians work together to celebrate “Tuba Christmas”

by Staff Writer Hannah Zimmer

Florence will have the opportunity to experience the Shoals’ first “Tuba Christmas,” a performance of holiday music, at First Friday Dec. 2.

Jason Sulliman, low brass instructor for the Pride of Dixie, is the orchestrator of the event.

“The music is performed for free, and participants each donate to the Harvey Philips Tuba Foundation by registering for the event, which supports future ‘Tuba Christmas’ events,” Sulliman said.

The tuba ensemble will set up on the corner of Court and Tuscaloosa Streets in the First Friday area. The ensemble will play as early as 4:30 p.m. to utilize the daylight. They will play for approximately an hour.

Tuba and euphonium players from many locations will participate in the event.

The goal of the Harvey Philips Foundation is to develop, expand and preserve the music arts, Sulliman said. The Foundation focuses special attention on musical instruments not ordinarily the object of other support.

Tuba player Harvey Phillips created “Tuba Christmas” in 1974. He held the first event at Rockefeller Plaza Ice Rink in New York City. Since then, hundreds of cities, nationally and internationally, have hosted the event.

“One of the exciting things for us will be seeing how far people will travel to participate, as ‘Tuba Christmas’ events tend to attract tuba and euphonium players from great distances,” Sulliman said. “Sometimes, musicians travel hundreds of miles to join the fun.”

UNA students will participate in “Tuba Christmas” as well.

“Several music majors and non-music majors will be participating in the ‘Tuba Christmas’ event,” Sulliman said. “These students represent all of the instrumental ensembles at UNA, and we appreciate relying on them to be the ‘backbone’ of the ensemble. The students at UNA take great pride in playing well and encouraging others to perform, which is what ‘Tuba Christmas’ is all about.”

Freshman Taylor Parker said it is great that the community is finding ways to celebrate local talent.

“I think it’s awesome for students to have the opportunity to show off the talent they work so hard on,” she said. “Creating new experiences for students is important to expand their musical skills.”

Sulliman said he invites community members to play in the event.

If people are interested in playing in the ensemble, registration will be Dec. 2 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in choir rehearsal room 146 on campus.

The registration fee is $10 and is payable on the day of the event. Organizers will accept cash or checks.

For more information, visit Sulliman’s website at jasonsulliman.com.