Remember when you were just a tot and you'd see a rather artsy cartoon come on? It was about the symphony or the arts and it featured classical music and an introduction to the orchestra.
All the big animation houses dabbled in this sort of cultural cartoon a few decades back, and all portrayed the tuba in pretty much the same way, as a gruff, deep-voiced character who simultaneously was a bit comical and a bit commanding.
It's an instrument with mettle and moxie, in short.
And when dozens of tubas, and their players, line up in a row come December to toot out a few brassy carols, the effect is rather spectacular. The event is called Tuba Christmas, though dubbing it a mere "event" seems deeply unfair.
Why? Because it has been around for almost 40 years and continues to grow. Because it raises the profile of a wonderful instrument. And because hundreds of Tuba Christmases show up around the country each December. They're festive -- the tubas are often decorated -- and draw big crowds wearing their holiday best (or at least lots of green and red).
It's just a fact that people like hearing, and seeing, 100+ giant brass beauties all playing "Jingle Bells" at the same time. It's rather epic, in a way.
Now, where to find one? The Tuba Christmas site has a drop-down of places around California set to tuba it up this season. There's a show in Anaheim at Downtown Disney on Saturday, Dec. 22 and one in Los Angeles at Forest Lawn's Hall of Liberty on Sunday, Dec. 16. Need more locations? Okay.
And here's a fun factoid: Scott Wilkinson, coordinator and conductor of TubaChristmas Los Angeles, tells us some 200 tubas are expected at the LA show and about 500 in Anaheim. Five. Hundred. Tubas.
Tuba Christmas is free to attend. Now that's something to get a bit brassy about.