Looking Back: Early Growth of TUBA by Michael Lynch
In the previous issue, we looked at the inception of the Tubists Universal Brotherhood Association in 1968. Robert Ryker has indicated that the direct impetus for TUBA came as a result of the experiences of him and his students resulting from Expo 67 in Montreal, a six-month exposition from April to October 1967 during Canada’s centennial year. Robert indicated that he and many of his students were heavily employed during Expo 67 and very much enjoyed the camaraderie that resulted from the opportunity to get together during that period of musical activity, with the result that discussions frequently referenced the thought that “someone should organize a tuba association.” 
Robert once characterized the formation of TUBA as “the spiritual extension of the ‘tuba fraternity’ which met at convenient intervals at McSorley’s Ale House in New York City, presided over by the inimitable Bill Bell.” It is not documented just when such gatherings at McSorley’s, with Mr. Bell’s involvement, may have started (possibly shortly after his relocation to NYC in 1937, when he assumed the chair in the NBC Symphony, though he spent summers there as early as 1926, playing in the Goldman Band and the Asbury Park Municipal Band). From reports and available documentation, the McSorley’s gatherings were not strictly limited to tuba players by any means, and were clearly not limited to academic discussions regarding the tuba.
Eventually, there was a tongue-in-cheek formalization for the participants in these gatherings, with the printing of membership cards for the “Loyal Order of S*** Pots and Amalgamated Loyal Sons of McSorley’s Marching Clam Chowder Band.” An example membership card belonging to Ed Livingston, signed by Mr. Bell in 1962, is provided in Fig. 1.
Figure 1: Membership card for a tongue in cheek TUBA precursor group
The camaraderie between tuba players, and between Mr. Bell as teacher and his students, resulting from the McSorley’s gatherings and “club” were not the only precursor to a tuba association. Other persons had thoughts of such an organization, quite likely for the same motivations expressed in Robert Ryker’s October 1972 Report “TUBA: Past, Present, and Future,” the first part of which was printed in the previous ITEA Journal (Vol. 40 No. 1), and the remainder of which is printed below.
Ed Livingston had conceived of some form of tuba association at least as early 1965. In a letter from Mr. Bell to Ed in August of 1965, he references with approval a “Tuba Players Club” of Ed’s: “Your Tuba Players Club seems to be the beginning of something good. We shall have to make it International someday.”
Clearly, Robert Ryker’s activities in 1968 in forming TUBA led to a sizable organization, one that grew in short order to the point that it required a more formal structure and additional individuals to serve the membership in the manner desired. It should be noted that although the early rhetoric discussing the organization typically refers to “tubists,” the intent of the organization was not limited as such. The membership roster of November 1969, only a year into the life of the organization, identified three members as playing tenor tuba (two emeritus), as well as band and music directors and other interested individuals including publisher (and emeritus tenor tubist) Robert King, and Stan Kenton.
As a result of the need for a more formal organization with expanded management personnel, Robert formed in 1972 a constitutional committee consisting of himself, Winston Morris of Tennessee Tech University, and Les Varner of Ball Sate University, tasked with arriving at a guiding constitution for the organization as it took the next step forward. Robert also began a search for another person to take over for him as President of the organization.
In this remaining portion of Robert Ryker’s 1972 Report, presented verbatim, he discusses the search for a replacement president and the identification of a successor appropriate for guiding the further development of the organization. He also identifies other “innovations” that boded positively for the organization, including the recent formation of a trombone association and the announcement of the First International Tuba Symposium-Workshop to be hosted by Indiana University in May of 1973. In the next volume, we will look at the work of the constitutional committee in crafting the constitution that would be adopted by TUBA at the 1973 Symposium-Workshop.
We must pay good attention to the lesson of experience which we have learned: we can’t do everything at once.
For instance it would be wonderful to organize TUBA on an international basis immediately, wouldn’t it; but it would be more pragmatic and more productive, I am certain, to plan the international structure and to concentrate first on organizing well one region to start with. With profound concern and appreciation for our colleagues in other parts of the world, there is but little doubt that the most active region of TUBA at this time is the central North American region. Here there is a concentration of very active tubists, the artists and professors of a number of major orchestras and major universities, an already flourishing variety of activities, and a large proportion of our present membership.
Let us organize our house one room at a time, and let us begin here.
In our choice of members to perform the coordinating functions which TUBA requires, proximity is helpful but not essential. It is vital however that they have both the interest and the ability to do what will be required, and this ability is dependent in part upon time and resources.
It would be tremendously helpful to put these responsibilities in the hands of individuals associated with institutions which will share and support our interest in the activities of T.U.B.A, as for example in the case of a university which would allow use of staff time and campus facilities for this purpose. This is apparent already in the central North American region, where Indiana University, Tennessee Technological University, and Ball State University have given just this kind of official support to the first international tuba symposium, the resource centre for published tuba materials, and the resource centre for recorded tuba materials.
My role during the four years of TUBA’s existence has been one of two kinds: originally to draw upon the inspiration and example of the tuba fraternity in New York, the information on hundreds of tubists contained in the correspondence files of the Montreal Brass Quintet Series, the generous financial support of Mirafone, Conn, and
Getzen, and the dedication and voluntary labour of my colleagues and students; presently to preserve what has since grown from those precious seeds in somewhat the manner of a caretaker government until that time soon when the vital administrative functions can he carried on by several individuals with the capabilities, the time and the resources which we know now are so necessary.
The President’s committee considered this matter with great care, and recommended to me that I remain as President of TUBA until the election processes contained in their proposals could be properly implemented, that the organization could continue under my guidance through the transitional period. It must be apparent to all however, as it is painfully apparent to me, that this is not working out. My own life style is changing so that I no longer have the resources and the time to look after even housekeeping chores adequately. I have for one thing resigned my teaching commitments, and have so little time to devote for TUBA that this very report has been written during stolen time in rehearsals, on the bus, on the train, and even in the sauna.
I have therefore decided to ask another colleague as soon as possible to accept the heavy responsibility to serve TUBA as acting President, and to implement election procedures in due course.
Such a person must be enormously capable and be able to command international respect, for we must tenaciously guard the worldwide character of TUBA. At the same time he must be well associated and able, in particular, to guide the organization of the region which has already been cited, the central North American region.
Among the thousands of tubists throughout the world there are several such highly respected and capable persons. In the mid United States, for example, I may mention Arnold Jacobs for his extraordinary influence on our profession both as an artist and as a pedagogue. Our distinguished colleagues are in widely separated parts of the world however. Most of us are aware of the similar influence of Alexander Lebedev in the Soviet countries; and Kurahei Sato is likewise revered in the Orient, and Ionel Dumitru is correspondingly admired throughout the Near East. There may not be a great many men of this calibre, but there are some.
I have spoken recently with a good friend and colleague to ask him personally to serve as acting President for TUBA. He is widely recognized for his tremendous abilities as an artist, teacher, and administrator. He is a man of enormous energy; he has a marvelous personality and superb presence. He brings dignity to our field for his universal respect.
How he accomplishes all that he does I cannot imagine. It is said of Harvey Phillips that he doesn’t even sleep– instead he practices.
There are several other recent innovations besides the appointment of Professor Phillips at Indiana University which bode well for the future of TUBA .
An international trombone association has made its appearance in the past year with a board of directors and a [sphere] of activities which seems to be centered in the United States. They have already witnessed a highly successful national trombone workshop, well-documented in the Brass World, they have instituted annual dues of ten dollars, and they have elicited an enthusiastic response from their field.
The Brass World itself has emerged as a well-respected periodical of professional standards and considerable practical value. Among other things it is the official journal of the trumpet symposia, the horn workshops, and the trombone association. TUBA has long ago received an invitation from the editor to contribute to Brass World. There is little doubt that this is widely expected of us and that it will be to everyone’s advantage — ours and theirs — that we adopt Brass World as the official journal of our proceedings, too.
Indiana University will [host] the first international tuba symposium-workshop on their campus in May. An excellent job of planning has been done by their project committee and a programme of activities has been projected in keeping with the high standards of other brass workshops which are a tradition of only the past half-decade.
In preparation for this symposium the February issue of the Instrumentalist is to be entirely devoted to the tuba symposium, TUBA, and related articles. The entire membership files of TUBA have been computerized by Indiana University in order to [disseminate] all related information concerning the symposium to every tubist for whom we have personal information.
Credit for the imagination and implementation of the notable tuba projects belongs largely to Harvey Phillips. And Harvey has discussed with me his suggestions for further such projects which we will surely see realized in the not-distant future.
An integral part of this report are the proposals of the President’s committee for the Constitution of TUBA, endorsed as I have described by the international advisory council. To this I must append my endorsement of a pragmatic recommendation that the global organization of TUBA wait temporarily upon the immediate organization of one region, and then the next, and the next, until our world is complete.
To Harvey Phillips and to those who will have the privilege and responsibility of working most closely with him I extend the very best wishes and support of all of us in TUBA, for we have the deepest interest in the results of their efforts and good works.
Montréal, October, 1972
 Conversation between Robert Ryker and the author, August 30, 2012. Mr. Ryker’s courtesy and time in sharing his thoughts and recollections are greatly appreciated. See also, Don Little, “Tubists Universal Brotherhood Association, An Overview.”
 Invitation letter to prospective (“nominee”) members of TUBA from Robert Ryker, 1971.
 The author currently has no additional information on Ed Livingston’s referenced “Tuba Players Club.” If any readers have any information on actual formation of such a club, or on the specifics of Ed’s intentions, such information would be greatly appreciated, so that Ed’s thoughts and activities can be documented.