It’s beginning to sound a lot like Tuba Christmas

  • Performers of the 2018 “Tuba Christmas” concert take their final bow after the performance at the United Church of Bernardston. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • A large audience gathers during the 2010 “Tuba Christmas” concert at Trinity Church in Shelburne Falls. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • “Tuba Christmas” players rehearse at the United Church of Bernardston. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • “Tuba Christmas” players rehearse at the United Church of Bernardston. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 12/6/2019 6:02:09 PM
Modified: 12/6/2019 6:01:56 PM

BERNARDSTON — As part of a unique, musical tradition, “Tuba Christmas” performers will gather at the United Church of Bernardston on Sunday.

The 2019 concert will be held at 2 p.m. Registration will start at 12:15 p.m. that day for players, with rehearsal beginning at 12:30. Organizer Steve Damon said patrons are invited to attend and sing along with the music.

“It’s the normal Christmas carols everyone knows,” he said.

A freewill offering will be accepted to benefit the Franklin County CROP Hunger Walk, which Damon also helps coordinate.

Tuba Christmases are held internationally, according to Damon. The unique holiday event was the brainchild of Harvey Phillips, who held the first one in 1974 at the Rockefeller Center in New York City.

Featured songs range from classical pieces like “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” to a special performance of “Santa Wants a Tuba for Christmas,” a song specifically written for Tuba Christmas concerts.

“My wife bought me the music for it a couple of years ago,” Damon said. “It is a vocal piece — a four-part harmony and tuba solo.”

According to Damon, the musical group is comprised of baritone horn, euphonium and tuba players who get together each year for the joyous Christmas concert. The group has played with anywhere from 15 to 50 players since 1996.

The group plays from the same book of music each year, collected for Tuba Christmases. The musicians practice on their own throughout the year, and some take part in other Tuba Christmases held in different parts of the region, including Boston.

“We played in Shelburne for years, then Buckland for a year, and we’ve been in Bernardston for four or five years,” Damon said.

The group was drawn to Bernardston on the invitation of Pastor David Neil, who offered the church as a venue. Neil even plays baritone horn for the group from time to time, Damon said.

Born and raised in Greenfield, Damon now lives in Gill. He has been a music teacher for more than 25 years, and currently works as a teacher in Guilford, Vt.

The performance will be conducted by Damon, with guest conductor Brendan Goodwin, who graduated from Keene State College in May. Damon is also Goodwin’s mentor through the New Hampshire Music Educators Association.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 264.




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