Low brass players invited to annual TubaChristmas

Contributed Photo: Come join or just experience TubaChristmas in Tombstone on Saturday, Dec. 14.

Contributed Article

TOMBSTONE – TubaChristmas in Tombstone returns for its eighth year Saturday, Dec. 14.  The free concert begins at 1 p.m. at the Tombstone City Park, located at the corner of 3rd Street and Allen Street.

The performance features low brass players of all ages from across Cochise County and the state of Arizona.  Anyone who plays the tuba, sousaphone, euphonium, or baritone is invited to participate. 

“This concert is a unique experience for both the audience and most of our performers,” said Lorie Sheridan, Joyce Clark MS Band Director and euphonium player, who is co-coordinating the annual event with Tombstone resident and euphonium player Larry Bowers. “You don’t often hear this many low brass voices at once.  It’s neat to see beginners sitting next to people who have been playing their entire lives.”

Contributed Photo: Come join the fun at TubaChristmas in Tombstone on Saturday, Dec. 14.

Each year, a new conductor is selected to lead the ensemble. This year our conductor is Hilbert Bernal.  Bernal graduated from the University of Arizona in 1969 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education.  He played sousaphone with the University of Arizona’s Wildcat marching band and the Air Force ROTC band.  Bernal got to go to the first Super Bowl in 1967 at the Coliseum in Los Angeles where the University and Gambling University put on the first half time show. 

While in college, he played in the concert band as well for four years.  Bernal got his first job in Tombstone at graduation.  He was the band and choir teacher in Tombstone from 1969 until 2002 when he ‘retired’.  After he ‘retired’, Bernal went back and taught beginning band, middle school band, high school band, and jazz band in Benson from 2002 through 2011 when he retired ‘for good’. 

Bernal received his Masters in Music Education in 1983 also from the University of Arizona.  He has been the choir director at The Community Presbyterian Church of Benson since 1983 and is also the Director of the Benson Barbershoppers.  Bernal started an alumni/community band in Benson with Chic Maldonado in 1989.  The alumni/community band plays in the Fourth of July parade and at night before the fireworks.  The alumni/community band is still going to this day.

Low brass players interested in performing at TubaChristmas should plan to attend the rehearsal at Tombstone High School, located at 1211 North Yellowjacket Way, the morning of the concert.  Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and rehearsal starts at 9.

All performers should bring their $10 registration fee, official TubaChristmas music book (available for purchase in both bass and treble clef, and used at the event every year), horn, and stand to rehearsal.  Performers are also encouraged to wear festive attire and decorate their horns.

TubaChristmas was conceived in 1974 by the late tubist Harvey Phillips as a tribute to his teacher and mentor William J. Bell, who was born on Christmas day in 1902.  Since then, TubaChristmas concerts have been performed annually at countless venues throughout the world.

For more information about Tuba Christmas, visit www.tubachristmas.com.  For more information about the event in Tombstone call Sheridan at (520) 234-7094 or Bowers at (520) 678-9796.

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