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TUBACHRISTMAS was conceived in 1974 by Harvey Phillips as a tribute to his teacher and mentor William J. Bell, born on Christmas Day, 1902. Through the legendary William J. Bell we reflect on our heritage and honor all great artists/teachers whose legacy has given us high performance standards, well structured pedagogy, professional integrity, personal values and a camaraderie envied by all other instrumentalists. The first TUBACHRISTMAS was conducted by Paul Lavalle in New York City's Rockefeller Plaza Ice Rink on Sunday, December 22, 1974. Traditional Christmas music performed at the first TUBACHRISTMAS was arranged by American composer Alec Wilder who ironically died on Christmas Eve, 1980. Wilder composed many solo and ensemble compositions for tuba and euphonium. He was a loyal supporter of every effort to improve the literature and public image of our chosen instruments. Through Alec Wilder we express our respect and gratitude to all composers who continue to embrace our instruments with their compositions and contribute to the ever growing solo and ensemble repertoire for tuba and euphonium.

Every year, TUBACHRISTMAS events happen all over the world, including Milwaukee, Wisconsin! Anyone can play! Young, old, professional, amateur - you're all invited! After registration, we work through a short rehearsal to acquaint (or re-acquaint) ourselves with the music. We then take a short break, then move over to the performance area to play an approximately 1 hour concert. Audience members are encouraged to sing along with their favorite carols, and all ages are welcome to attend.

About our conductor

David Carlton

Mr. Carlton studied tuba performance with Robert Rusk, the then principal tuba player with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.  Mr. Rusk was a prized student of the late Harvey Phillips, the great tuba professor at Indiana University.


Mr. Carlton earned BFA and MM degrees from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.  He is in his 41st year as an instrumental music teacher having taught throughout northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.  He currently teaches Band and Orchestra at Eastbrook Academy in Milwaukee, WI while also serving as an adjunct instructor at Cardinal Stritch University and Alverno College.  Mr. Carlton continues to be active as an adjudicator for the Wisconsin School Music Association and as a performer on low brass instruments. 

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