Yes, the free “Tuba Christmas” concert is back this holiday season.
And if hearing “Joy to the World” and other carols played on 100 tubas doesn’t inspire some genuine old fashioned Christmas spirit, I don’t know what would.
Tuba Christmas really is among my very favorite Christmas events. I have been attending it for more than 20 years and love the unique and uplifting music being played by such an enthusiastic orchestra.
I also love that the organizers have made it part of the Ms. Cheap Penny Drive for Second Harvest Food Bank, by encouraging the audience to make donations to the food bank on their way out after the concert.
With so many people in our community struggling with hunger, it is good to know every little bit contributed can help feed people. My motto is that every penny counts, and in year’s past the audience has been incredibly generous.
Like so many other holiday offerings, Tuba Christmas did not take place in person last year. So this year, it is extra exciting for me and other fans.
“It is certainly something you have to see and hear to believe,” said Joe Fitzpatrick, worship and music pastor at Nashville First Baptist church which is hosting the concert once again in its sanctuary on Dec. 14.
“Can you imagine hearing over 100 tubas playing Christmas carols and holiday favorites – all at the same time?”
He described it as a “fun filled festive concert which will get your toes tapping and your spirit ready for the season.” Well said.
The concert organizer is G.R. Davis, a true tuba expert, who started playing tuba in junior high school and taught euphonium at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music for 25 years before his retirement several years ago.
The tuba players include Middle Tennessee middle schoolers, high school marching band tubaists, as well as accomplished players who play and teach at area colleges. The only rehearsal is just before the 45-minute performance.
“It is a real blessing to be back LIVE and in person for Tuba Christmas Nashville,” said Davis who participated in the first ever Tuba Christmas in 1974 in Bloomington, Indiana, and has been part of the Nashville one, since it started in 1987. “It’s hard to believe it has been 35 years in Nashville.”
He added that he is happy that the concert will support the Ms. Cheap’s “Penny Drive” for Second Harvest. “The impact of that group on our community is so great, and we hope you will contribute, whether you are able to come to Tuba Christmas Nashville on December 14, or not.”
The songs to be featured include “Silent Night,” “Away in a Manger,” “Joy to the World,” “Deck the Halls,” “Jingle Bells” and “Oh Come All You Faithful.” The tubas play the songs through once and then the audience can singalong as it is played a second time. The singalongs are led by Carmen Sanders, who also does a rousing rendition of “Santa Wants a Tuba for Christmas.”
“We love hosting Tuba Christmas at Nashville First Baptist. Our church is known for opening its doors to the Greater Nashville community and Tuba Christmas is one of the more special occasions we are honored to host,” said Fitzpatrick, who said supporting the Penny Drive is one way his church can have a positive “impact on families in need, who suffer from food insecurities right here in Middle Tennessee.”
If you want to go:
The performance, which does not require reservations, is at 11 a.m. Dec. 14 at First Baptist Church at the corner of Seventh and Broadway in downtown Nashville. There will also be a Dixieland band playing some Christmas songs as a “warmup” group at 10:30 a.m.
The concert is free, but volunteers will collect donations for the Ms. Cheap Penny Drive for Second Harvest Food Bank.
There is limited parking in the church lots. Other options include Music City Center garage, or taking a cab, Uber, Lyft or WeGo to the church.