December 16, 2011

Tuba Christmas

A downtown bank became the venue for the largest Tuba Christmas concert to date. The tradition started in 1978 with about 15 musicians. This year, 71 tuba players young and old braved the cold for the annual performance.
The group’s director Ron Keller – also director of the Naperville Municipal Band – says the event centers around enlightening people about the tuba.

“Everybody knows about the flutes and the saxophones but the tuba doesn’t get talked about very much, and the only time you see it is in marching bands on the football fields,” said Keller. “It’s kind of neat to hear them play Christmas music and have the mellow side of it.”

That mellow sound had a crowd of 150 singing along to 13 holiday classics outside the U.S. Bank on Jefferson and Washington. Favorites included “Silent Night,” “Jingle Bells,” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”

“I like we wish you a Merry Christmas,” said Naperville Danni Wolfe, a Naperville resident. “It’s just a great sound.”

“The Naperville Municipal Band and the Tuba Christmas is always very good,” said her mom, Michelle Wolfe.

Besides Christmas Cheer, the concert gives aspiring musicians a chance to learn from more seasoned players.

“It’s a good thing to encourage young people to play the instrument,” said John Cofer of Somonauk.

“It was pretty cool to see and play with some of the older people because they knew what they were doing,” said fifteen year-old Downer’s Grove resident Tommy Donnely. “For me as a musician, it was kind of a growing moment.”

Keller will also be directing the Naperville Municipal Band’s winter concert in early March.


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