The 30th annual Rio Grande Valley TubaChristmas Concert will try to make it official this year by establishing a Guinness World Record.
“Last year we had more than 600 performers which is more than the present Guinness World Record,” Coordinator Jim Egger, McAllen ISD’s Fine Arts Director, said. “This year, we have applied with Guinness to establish the Rio Grande Valley TubaChristmas Concert in McAllen as the new record for the largest tuba ensemble.”
This free performance will begin at 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 2, at the McAllen Convention Center (700 Convention Center Blvd.) in McAllen. It is a unique and entertaining concert of Christmas music.
TubaChristmas is an ensemble of several hundred tuba and euphonium players from the Rio Grande Valley and beyond. This ensemble will include members of the Rio Grande Valley Symphony Orchestra, the McAllen Symphonic Band, Valley Band Directors and the finest high school and junior high students from many Valley schools.
Last year’s concert featured students from McAllen, Edinburg, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo, Mission, Valley View, Donna, La Joya, Rio Grande City, Roma, Mercedes, Sharyland, Edcouch-Elsa, Weslaco, Harlingen, Los Fresnos, Hidalgo, Brownsville, Rio Hondo and Port Isabel. The Rio Grande Valley TubaChristmas Concert has grown in recent years to become the largest TubaChristmas event in Texas and one of the largest in the world.
Each year, a guest artist is featured. This year’s guest artist will be the Dr. Kevin Wass. He is the Professor of Tuba/Euphonium at Texas Tech University and is the current President of the International Tuba Euphonium Association. His performance is made possible by a grant from Melhart’s Music of McAllen.
“One of the most popular features of the RGV TubaChristmas Concert is the tuba-decorating contest,” Dr. Scott Roeder, TubaChristmas Co-Coordinator and University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Professor of Tuba, said. “Several of the performers have very extensive decorations on their instruments. This is one of the reasons that this concert is unlike any other Christmas Concert.
TubaChristmas is a series of nationwide concerts that runs each year between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. There are more than 150 concerts in 46 states along with additional performances in Canada and Switzerland. These groups include from four to 500 musicians. The first TubaChristmas was held on in December, 1974, on the Ice Rink Stage of New York City’s Rockefeller Center. More than 300 tuba and euphonium players gathered to honor the memory of William Bell (born Christmas Day, 1902) and to celebrate his considerable achievements as a performer and teacher. Mr. Bell was a member of John Phillip Sousa’s Band, the Goldman Band, the NBC Symphony Orchestra, NewYork Philharmonic and was on the faculty of the Julliard School of Music, Manhattan School of Music and University of Indiana. Arturo Toscanini, conductor of the NBC Symphony Orchestra, considered Bill Bell to be the world’s greatest tubist.