Tuba Christmas to Sonorously Celebrate the Season

The amazing instruments are in the spotlight at a series of free and festive shows around Southern California.

Brian Kennedy

What to Know

  • The quirky, much-loved concert series began in 1974
  • Tuba and euphonium players will gather at spots around the area, from Downey to Ventura, to play festive carols
  • Free for spectators (parking may be additional); participants may pay a fee

Carols are most always kicky, at least the bouncy, ride-in-a-sleigh, feel-the-snow-on-your-cheeks cheertunes, the songs that warm us on the inside when it is cold outside.

There is a noble instrument that adds both gravitas and glee to these seasonal standards, providing the sort of deep-toned thrum that keeps an especially sugary carol from becoming a tad too sweet.

The tuba has entered the chat.

We all love a tuba, and the fabulous euphonium, too, and just seeing one, with all of its brassy sass, can enhance any holiday-fun music event.

But at a Tuba Christmas show? The only instruments you'll hear are tubas and euphoniums, which create, as you might guess, a remarkably sonorous journey of the heart, soul, and mind.

It's a joy-filled journey people have been taking for nearly 50 years, each and every December, as Tuba Christmas concerts pop up across the country.

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And here in Southern California?

There are a few matters tuba considered — we mean "to be" considered, of course — with tuba-terrific, euphonium-rocking musicians gathering in Downey, Anaheim, Ventura, and Huntington Beach.

The Los Angeles show is not tuba missed, er, not to be missed. You'll want to head for the Hall of Liberty at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills on the afternoon of Sunday, Dec. 4.

Players are often gorgeously and even garishly dressed for the occasion, and the instruments frequently rock tinsel, ornaments, and the sort of gewgaws that only a shiny and splendid tuba could wear.

We don't know if your favorite carol will be on the playlist of the show you choose to attend, but consider this: You may come to view even the most tried-and-true chestnuts in a fresh light, after hearing a single style of instrument summon the sounds, and spirit, of the song's oft-told story.

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