Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Music

Christmas music. What is it about Christmas music? I LOVE Christmas music. With both my Wind Ensembles, my brass band and tuba ensemble, we just did a Christmas Extravaganza. Something about those familiar tunes that just gets me in the Christmas spirit. 

         It could be my first chamber music experience. In 6th grade, I played a Christmas concert (At Kellum Street Elementary School) and on the concert, I played my white plastic Conn sousaphone with both the brass ensemble AND the woodwind ensemble. I loved standing out in front of the curtain with a small group of my friends playing those songs; Let it Snow, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, O Christmas Tree. When I got older (High School), I put together a group of my band friends and went around to the convalescent homes and played Christmas Carols for the people who couldn’t get out. We even played a parade once and won first prize for special music. 

         When I moved to San Jose in 1982, I had to put on a Tuba Christmas, later changed to Christmas Tubafest®. Over the years, hundreds of people have said to me, “Christmas season doesn’t start until I hear Tony’s tubas.” God, I miss that. 

         Maybe because at Christmas time, people are more kind to each other, generous with their time and hard earned resources. Even when Valley Fair is so crowded, I seem to get more smiles from people during this time of year. Why is it only this time of year? Imagine what our world would be like if we were that kind & generous all year long. 

         My tuba friends came over this morning to play tuba quartets. What did we play for 2 ½ hours? Christmas Music! Thanks, guys! 

         I love Christmas Music. What about you?


  1. Old friend, I remember us as handsome high schoolers playing Christmas music for captive audiences of residents at nursing homes. (OK, the handsome part might be selective memory.)
    I recall the smiles on their faces, and the laughter and the singing along even if they didn't remember all of the words, as if anyone needs to know all of the verses of Jingle Bells.
    But, in complete fairness, I have to remind you that one resident of a home just off Coffee Road left stuck in my head these words: Too Loud!. And, Tony, I believe she was pointing at you!

    Happy holidays, from the guy who wasn't always playing dolcissimo because he couldn't remember the notes.

  2. No, handsome was a BIG part of our deal! And was that ME to whom that woman was pointing? I though she meant the whole group. And to think I've been living a lie all these years!

  3. Christmas music has always been rather special for me. When I was a kid I was allowed to go through the record collection and choose what got played for the season.

    Over the years I've collected a lot of those old albums on CD and I have recently been trying to gather together some upbeat jazzier versions of the tunes.

    I've been sorely tempted to spend my lunch breaks down at Christmas in the park playing tunes. I need to find some other folks at work to do duets or such. I need to fins some nice arrangements.

  4. Dude! Find some clarinet& tuba stuff & I'm there. Put out a hat, I'll bring the RUM!

  5. I grew up playing for the Salvation Army kettles. My friend Lori and I, a tenor horn player, would sometimes switch parts and transpose out of boredom. We also liked to try to sing the words from one Christmas tunes to the tune of another. Try it. For example, the words to Jingle Bells and to the tune of Silent Night.