On Sunday, Dec. 4, music students and community members amalgamated as one group for Tuba Christmas. Held in the Mabel Brown Room, this free event featured solely tuba and euphonium players from around Keene and surrounding counties, ranging in ages from 12 to 72.
The event bragged a somewhat large turnout, though mainly consisting of community members. Musicians, some with their instruments decorated with bows and ribbon, were adorned in Santa and elf hats as they performed 19 different numbers, each lasting under two minutes.
The afternoon began with an introduction from Keene State College’s associate music professor and Tuba Christmas conductor Dr. Jim Chesebrough. Dr. Chesebrough has been the conductor of this event for nine years, but actively involved for 10.
“The first year I played and then the second year I started conducting…,” said Dr. Chesebrough. “Professor Douglas Nelson…started this 26 years ago, and when he retired, I took his place here on campus.”
After the short speech, the group began their performances, starting with “Oh Come All Ye Faithful.” In the second song, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” the audience sang along. This occurred a few times, especially when more popular Christmas carols were performed, such as “Joy to the World,” which they called “Joy Tuba World.”
During two songs, senior Hailley Dufresne was asked to conduct in place of Dr. Chesebrough. The switch in leadership occurred about halfway through the program.
During one portion of the performance, the band dedicated “Low How A Rose” and “Silent Night” to those who are unable to join their loved ones for the holiday season, whether for military or other reasons.
At the conclusion of the event, the audience was allowed to meet members of the band and take photographs with them.
Although some musicians packed up and headed out, a few lingered around, talking with family members and assisting in clean up.
KSC alumna Cathleen Pearsall attended the concert for her daughter Bethany Pearsall. “It was great–our first time,” she commented. “[Bethany] only started playing three months ago.”
Her husband John Pearsall also noted, “…she’s only been doing it for three months, but she loves it…”
While musicians like Bethany are new to Tuba Christmas, others like euphonium player Mary Cornog from Nelson, New Hampshire, have been involved for years.
“Oh, it’s fun…playing with all the other euphonium players and tuba players in harmony. It’s just wonderful,” said Cornog, a five-year member of Tuba Christmas.
Speaking on the event, Dr. Chesebrough said, “I think it’s one of the most amazing things…we do over 80 performances a year through the music department at Keene State and this one gets so much attention.
There’s another one today, brass and saxaphone ensemble. There won’t be near as many people in the audience and… it’s really easy to… have a good time when there’s a whole bunch of people here to listen and it’s a great time of year.”
The next event hosted by the Keene State College Department of Music includes the Concert Choir on Friday, Dec. 9 and Chamber Singers and String Ensemble on Sunday, Dec. 11.
Alexandria Saurman can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org