Indulge your bass instinct at Christmas concert | Entertainment

The sound of their instruments is unmistakable, but tuba players are still somewhat overlooked as musicians.

That all changes Dec. 9.

The second annual celebration of TubaChristmas in Kelowna will see devotees of the big brass instrument gather at the Rotary Centre for the Arts atrium for the playing of some seasonal music in a free concert.

“TubaChristmas was started because tubas don’t get a lot of individual press,” Sue MacDonald, publicist for the Kelowna City Band, said Monday. “Tubas are usually performed more in a supportive rather than solo role.

“There are fewer musical arrangements that are written just for tubas than for other instruments,” MacDonald said. “But I think the sound of a tuba is magnificent, and I’m a percussionist.”

The first TubaChristmas, held in 1974 in New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza ice rink, was conceived by Harvey Phillips as a tribute to his music teacher, William J. Bell.

TubaChristmas concerts are now held in every U.S. state, several Canadian cities and in countries such as Switzerland, Australia and Costa Rica.

Last year, 12 tuba players showed up for the first TubaChristmas in Kelowna. Anyone who has a tuba can bring it to play in next month’s concert if he or she sends an email in advance to

Tuba time on Dec. 9 is, of course, 2 p.m.

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