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Tubas provide the soundtrack to October with annual Octubafest

Tubas take center stage with concerts throughout the month

If you never thought of a tuba as an instrument that can stand on its own, the Octubafest concerts will make you think again.

School of Music concerts throughout the month of October provide an opportunity for students, faculty and community members to enjoy performances by musical ensembles that are not typically showcased.

Here's a glance at the lineup:

  • The series opens with a recital by visiting artists, Richard Perry on tuba, Heidi Lucus on horn, and Lois Leventhal on piano—a faculty trio from the University of Southern Mississippi–-at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 13 at the Recital Hall in Glidden Hall.
  • At 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17, the school's Euphonium/Tuba Ensemble will perform in the Recital Hall under the direction of Jason Smith.
  • The concert series will close with a Faculty Recital featuring Jason Smith at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20, at the Recital Hall in Glidden Hall.

Smith hopes people are surprised at what the tuba has to offer.
"One of the best things about being a tuba player is playing for people who don't know anything about a tuba," he said. "A great compliment to hear is, 'Wow I didn't know a tuba could do that.'"

For student musicians, participating in specialized ensembles provides an opportunity to perform musical styles that break with low brass instruments' traditional roles.

"Rock bands and other groups like that can be heard almost every night uptown or at the Front Room, but Octubafest only comes around once a year, and the music that we play can be enjoyed by people of all ages," he added.

Tuba great Harvey Phillips coined the name Octubafest in the 1970s. Phillips, a professor at Indiana University, wanted to give his tuba students an opportunity to display their skills and demonstrate that the tuba is a viable instrument for which to compose.
All performances are free and open to the public.