— Tom McGhee (@dpmcghee) December 18, 2016
Jeanie Schroder — who sings and plays sousaphone, double bass and flute with DeVotchKa — joined Clark as a co-conductor. The tubas were joined by other brass instruments, including the sousaphone, euphonium and even a valve trombone. 180 Tubas celebrate the season. The tuba rarely takes the spotlight in music, he said. This story was first published on DenverPost.com “I really like Christmas, and I think the best way to celebrate is the music,” said Neal, 15, a freshman. “No city can call itself a major city if they don’t have a Tuba Christmas.”
One hundred eighty musicians, some from as far away as Baltimore, played an hour of Christmas carols at the event in Skyline Park. Thomas Neal, 15, played at the event with his fellow Douglas County High School student Jake Fifer, 17. “You can tell all your friends you attended a heavy metal concert,” Bill Clark, Tuba Christmas conductor, told the crowd. The event is held annually in cities throughout the United States, Clark, a retired professor of music at the University of Colorado Denver and the director of the Queen City Jazz Band, said. Hundreds of people braved the cold Sunday to cheer on a flock of brass players as the Denver celebrated its 42nd annual Tuba Christmas. It’s Tuba Christmas in Denver! “This is such a neat tradition,” said Jim Hardee, 50, who attended to cheer on son Aaron, 15, a sophomore at Broomfield’s Legacy High School. It’s a blast.”
The players ranged from 9 years old to over 75. It was the 27th year that Walt Blankenship, 50, has played in Tuba Christmas. “This is the one time a year when tubas get recognition. The first Denver Tuba Christmas was held in nearby Larimer Square, and only 20 musicians played, Clark said.