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Tuba Christmas fills Franklin Park Mall with music

The annual Tuba Christmas event celebrates the instrument that isn't usually in the spotlight.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Tubas don't usually get to play the melody, but on Sunday an unusual ensemble gave tubas the starring role in a performance of holiday classics.

Dan Corfman, the band director at Gibsonburg schools, said the annual Tuba Christmas event is an opportunity to make joyous music in an unusual way.

"It's just a great feeling we're spreading Christmas cheer with our low brass," he said. "No other group of instruments has an event just for themselves. Tubas are unique in that. 

Tuba Christmas began in New York City in the 1970s and has become an annual holiday affair around the country. In some cases, the events include just a quartet of instruments, but in others it can include hundreds of musicians playing tubas, euphoniums and other low-brass instruments.


The tuba players gathered at Franklin Park Mall Sunday were happy to carry on the tuba-only tradition.

"It's a great charity benefit music event," said performer Michael Borjas. "A bunch of tubas, baritones, euphoniums, all shapes and sizes decorated on decorated coming to play Christmas carols for all of the wonderful people."

Sunday's event raised money for the Harvey Phillips Foundation, which supports Tuba Christmas, along with Octubafest and other musical events featuring tubas.

"It's a great feeling," Borjas said. "Knowing there are thousands of tubas players from all over the country doing the same thing, and the book, the book [of music] is common between all of them."

Tuba fans enjoyed the mall performance too.

"Giving time to just listen to them and maybe give a little donation if possible, it will support them in a huge way," said Olivia Cutler. "Even if it's just a little time here and there, it's going to mean a lot to them."

Musicians and audience alike enjoyed the unique holiday sounds of tuba Christmas music in the mall.

"Always thank your tuba players. They're unsung heroes in the band, always in the back row," Corfman said. "Today, they get to be in the front."

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