Whoever thought a bunch of musical instruments lumped together as “low brass” could give such a high spirit?
On Saturday, dozens of volunteer musicians - from 10-year-old students to seasoned professionals - put smiles on the faces of those packing the house at Trinity-on-Main for the third annual TubaChristmas.
The sounds from the horns was fitting for the season, eliciting voices that were perhaps less in tune, but certainly as exuberant.
It was all because a group of local residents, led by attorney Anne Marshall, took up the challenge three years ago to produce a local version of a 44-year-long tradition. The original appeared as a way to show respect for iconic tubist William J. Bell -he was principle player for John Phillip Sousa - by his mentee and student, Harvey Phillips. Then as now, the performances, today held in nearly 300 cities, pay respect to all artists and teachers of the instruments.
Under the baton of Walter Gibson, music educator and longtime manager of the New Britain Symphony Orchestra, the performance and singalong has quickly become a tradition in the area. Gibson, by the way, was at the first TubaChristmas in Rockefeller Center, New York City, in 1974).
A few local sponsors and a freewill offering took care of the expenses; a cadre of volunteers did the rest, from greetings to feedings to seatings. Ambassadors from New Britain High were in evidence, along with symphony mainstays and others who just wanted to help out.
As in past years, Mary Ann Nunn enthusiastically led the audience through a full range of carols and hymns, introducing a few special characters (we’re intimately familiar with an angel and a snowman!) and activities for the whole family. It was hard not to pick up the spirit of the season before the final note was played.
Seeing the community come together was like putting a star at the top of the tree, and especially heartwarming to witness a truly grass roots effort be so successful. If you didn’t get there this year, don’t let another year go by without making it part of your own holiday tradition.