From the Editor: The news item in the Winter, 2000 issue “It Must Be Hidden Behind Something Big” (p. 19) submitted by John Elliott evoked a number of interesting responses. Anyone else out there have experience with a “monster tuba?” J.Y.
It has been a cold winter here and, whilst woodshedding, I found this horn behind several cords of mixed tannenbaum and oak. It seemed at once to be Hoffnungish with a large beer tap protruding conveniently. It must be from the turn of the (20th) century because the tires are pneumatic. In checking the Winter Journal article, though, this one is two feet or so short, and the bell is just over 30 inches. Also, this one has three pistons and one rotary valve. Seems to me, if it were a genuine Brit Chewber, it would be in EE-flat (not CC).
Sorry for the false alarm. I haven’t checked my bam yet, but if I get down there in the spring. I’ll have a look around. Never know….
Sincerely, Jim Newell
Eugene, Oregon, USA
P.S. If there is blame to share, I nominate Doctors Bevan and Stauffer and their inspiring texts with illustrations!
Dear Editor, Here is a picture I took of Rex Conner playing that monster tuba at the Los Angeles Conference. I enjoyed the article by John van Nice, the octogenarian tuba and baritone player in the Winter issue. I am in the over-65 year playing class also. This year I am climbing the same steps to take trombone lessons in the same room that I took lessons 62 years ago! I’ve also been filling in the euphonium section in the Emporia (Kansas) University Band.
Madison, Kansas, USA
And fin lly…. We received the following news release from Tom Everett, long-time director of the Harvard University Band and long-time friend of the tuba…
Chester Schmitz, principal tubist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, helped the Harvard University Band celebrate its 80th anniversary by performing on their large, triple B-flat (contrabass) Besson tuba at their 80th Anniversary Concert. Mr. Schmitz, who premiered the John Williams Concerto for Tuba with the Boston Pops, performed the classic Asleep in the Deep on the big tuba. Over six feet high, the tuba requires at least two people to hold it while the performer is playing. Mr. Schmitz broke the world’s record for a sustained note on a contrabass tuba. For his encore (on his orchestral CC tuba), the soloist gave a virtuosic rendition of the Mozart Horn Concerto No.3. Mr. Schmitz continued a tradition, which was started by Sam Pilafian, Gary Ofenloch, and Matthew Gaunt, of professional tubists challenging the big tuba every five years during a Harvard Band reunion. To date, the record is: Tuba 5, the Tubists 0!
I am a parent volunteer for our small school district in Gaston, Oregon. (Two hundred plus in Jr. high and High school) Mr. Larry Jackson teaches band for grades 5-12 and high school choir. The school has never had a tuba it could call its own. (What is a band without a tuba!!!) Due to ongoing financial constraints, the school cannot afford one.
If you know of someone that has a tuba that is available or even needs repairs, we will gladly take it off of your hands. We would be more than happy to pay for shipping for any tuba and arrange it as a taxable donation. Any serious reply can be forwarded to Mr. Jackson at:
Sincerely, Vern Pursley