2008: THE YEAR OF THE TUBA
John Griffiths, ITEA Vice-President
It seems that whenever tuba and euphonium players gather there is a collective um…moan about the fact we seem to get ignored by other musicians, band and orchestra directors, small children, homeless people, reviewers…but I digress. Oh it’s so sad! In fact the Executive Committee of ITEA shares your pain on this and we propose to do something about it ! 2008 will be the International Year of the Tuba and 2009 the International Year of the Euphonium.
“But what does this mean?” I hear you say. This is the kind of probing and incisive question we expected from our membership! It also ultimately exposes the fact the Executive Committee does not have a monopoly on creative thinking within the organization and that , in fact, is the focus of this short piece. We need your creativity, energy, and ideas. In both years we want to have far greater exposure for the instrument than ever before. We also want to have this at all levels . We want more young players to take up the tuba, and we want pro soloists to be featured with orchestras and bands all over the world.
To this latter end we will, for example, be seeking the support and participation of the American Symphony Orchestra League. How about Europe and Asia? For younger players we will be starting summer programs that parallel the highly successful and now ubiquitous “TubaChristmas” programs. Why not come up with a unique way of celebrating The International Year of the Tuba? How about a solo that year with your band or orchestra?
The range of our membership is diverse enough that one cannot address all exposure ideas and concerns simultaneously. It’s a good guess though that like me, you’ve often heard “I never knew a tuba could do that!” or “That was SO beautiful” and yet it’s another 10 years before that audience member hears another tuba feature. They don’t demand opportunities for us. Maybe WE should! Perhaps the tuba (and I include euphonium here) as a solo or featured instrument is like the saxophone at the turn of the 20 th century: a joke to be relegated to the speakeasy or the junk pile. Come to think of it, many still feel that way…. But I digress…. There are now thousands of great soloists from the second year player in his or her junior high band to the “Gene Pokornys” and “Chicago symphonies.” Our audiences SHOULD be allowed to hear them more often. If you’ve been to an ITEC or checked out the Tuba-Euphonium Press, you also know there are thousands of great solos and ensembles.
Do YOU have local or international ideas? Please email me: email@example.com. I really look forward to hearing from you. There will be more information in the Journal as the year takes shape.
“Year of the Tuba” seems to have a nicer ring than “Year of the Rat.” I wonder if we could get international calendars to reflect that.