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Tuba, Euphonium Players to Shine in Oktubafest

By Lyndsey Peace, Editor-in-Chief

Oktubafest will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 29 in the Woodward-Dellis Recital Hall. This free concert is an opportunity to hear tuba and euphonium players from the Abilene community play unique music in celebration of Oktoberfest.

Harvey Phillips founded Oktubafest in the 1970’s and since then, it has become a worldwide celebration of the tuba and euphonium. Phillips, known to the world as Mr. Tuba, taught at Indiana University, where the first Oktubafest was held in 1973. His contributions to music and to promoting the tuba and euphonium continue to leave a lasting legacy.

“[Phillips] has been instrumental in making the tuba more well-known to the masses,” said Dr. Jeff Cottrell, associate professor of low brass and theory.

Phillips also founded an event called Tuba Christmas, which Cottrell has conducted in years past. Although HSU no longer hosts Tuba Christmas, this year will be the 12th annual Oktubafest at Hardin-Simmons University. Cottrell will be conducting the concert. The players come from varying backgrounds and stages of life.

“Rather than having [Oktubafest] be just a Hardin-Simmons ensemble, we’ve made it a community ensemble, like the Civic Orchestra of Abilene,” Cottrell said. Members from the Abilene community, including students from Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene Christian University and McMurry University, will all join together to participate in Oktubafest.

What makes Oktubafest special is that tuba and euphonium players do not typically grab the attention of audience members during full-band concerts because they traditionally play supporting parts. “Often when a tuba or euphonium is sitting at the back of the band, they’re playing either a bass line or harmony parts,” Cottrell said.

At Oktubafest, the players have a chance to showcase their talent. “Everybody at some point in every piece gets to play the melody,” Cottrell said.

The players also have the opportunity to play different types of music than what they would normally be exposed to. “Students have a chance to play styles that maybe they don’t often play. There’s a rich history of tuba being played in jazz music, but unfortunately growing up in the school system playing tuba, you don’t really get the opportunity to play jazz,” Cottrell said.

Oktubafest will include jazz, rock and other varying styles of music to create a unique blend. The diversity of music combined with diverse group of players will make this concert worth seeing. “It’s a recital where students can hear fun music and beautiful music played by an ensemble that’s out of the ordinary,” Cottrell said.

Following the concert, there will be a reception on the third floor of Caldwell Hall with German treats and root beer. Come see Oktubafest and support the communities’ tuba and euphonium players!


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