Imagine 25 tubas on the stage at the Palace Theatre. Actually, some of them may be euphoniums. A euphonium is sort of like a tuba that hasn’t grown up yet, but it’s still pretty big. You couldn’t put one in a purse, or even a backpack, but it might fit in your car. You get the gist. These are pretty big instruments. Each one, of course, comes with its owner, so there will also be 25 musicians on the stage with the tubas (and euphoniums). And a director, R. Winston Morris to be exact.
Winston Morris founded the Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble over 40 years ago and it is now the most recorded ensemble of its kind in the world and the only music group in the state of Tennessee to receive the Tennessee Board of Regents "Academic Excellence and Quality Award." This group was the subject of the NPR special “Tuba U,” produced by Cookeville’s Todd Jarrell and aired on public radio stations throughout the U.S. “Tuba U” won the 2005 Public Radio News Directors Incorporated first place award for the "Best Soft Feature."
Since its inception, the TTU Tuba Ensemble has been responsible for the creation of hundreds of new compositions, has been listed on the Grammy entry list for its recordings and is the only tuba ensemble to have performed multiple concerts (seven) in Carnegie Hall in New York City.
You have two opportunities to hear tubas at the Palace Theatre, 72 S. Main Street in downtown Crossville on Friday, Dec. 7. If you just want to dip your toe into the tuba repertoire, at 12:30 p.m. there will be a matinee performance for students of all ages by Winston Morris and a quartet of the finest performers in the Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble. They will demonstrate and teach about their instruments, involving the students in the performance. But beware, this 45 minute performance may whet your appetite for more tuba virtuosity and you may find yourself unable to resist getting tickets for the evening performance, as well. If you are a true lover of bass notes, you have to come to the evening performance when the entire ensemble will demonstrate that tubas can do more than um pa pa, um pa pa. In fact, these instruments will select from such holiday favorites as "Carol of the Bells," "Jesu," "Joy of Man's Desiring," "Hallelujah Chorus," "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," "Greensleeves," "Deck the Halls," "Frosty the Snowman," Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," and many others.
Christmas Tubas may be the most unusual and exciting musical entrance to the holiday season that you have ever experienced. After the concert, take a slow drive up and down Main Street where all the businesses have decorated their windows with lights.
Tickets for the educational matinee are $3 for students/$6 for adults. Teachers accompanying student groups are admitted free. Tickets for the evening performance are $6 for students/$12 for adults. All tickets can be purchased by calling the Palace Theatre at 931-484-6133 or online at www.palacetheatre-crossville.com.