Five Milbank students helped spread musical Christmas cheer during the TubaChristmas concert Sunday, November 29. The event was a first in the local area, and was staged at the Sioux Valley Performing Arts Center in Volga.
Taking part in the event were William Karels (sixth grade euphonium), Joe Harstad (eighth grade euphonium), Ben Harstad (9th grade euphonium), Brandon Hansen (9th grade tuba) and Kaleb DeBoer (11th grade tuba). The local students helped round out the musical ensemble of 12 euphoniums and 8 tubas which was directed by Stephanie Oeltjenbruns. Susan Karels, Milbank band director, accompanied the students throughout the afternoon rehearsal and evening concert.
Merry TubaChristmas is celebrating its 42nd anniversary. Created by Harvey Phillips, the 2015 concert series will be presented in over 280 cities throughout the United States and in several foreign countries. Phillips was inspired to create the event to honor his mentor/teacher, the late great tubist William J. Bell (born Christmas Day 1902). The first TubaChristmas was conducted by Paul Lavalle in New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza Ice Rink on Sunday, December 22, 1974. Traditional Christmas music performed at the first TubaChristmas was arranged by American composer Alec Wilder who ironically died on Christmas Eve, 1980. Wilder composed many solo and ensemble compositions for tuba and euphonium. He was a loyal supporter of every effort to improve the literature and public image of the tuba instrument. Every Christmas season, tuba and euphonium players of all ages, from specific geographic areas, gather to pay respect, through William J. Bell, to all the great artists/teachers who represent their heritage. “The warm, rich organ-like sound of the tuba-euphonium choir has won the ears and hearts of every audience,” stated Karels.