A good friend of mine, while we were having an intercontinental online chat, asked me, “Why are there so many tubists playing online?”
Reviewing the online activities of the amazing number of unemployed musicians, who have discovered the Internet post COVID19, is almost the only outlet where there is a possibility to perform. Both My friend and I had noticed that there seemed to be a disproportional amount of tubists, frequently amazing tubists, compared to other instruments. There could be two reasons for this.
1. (The easy answer): Both my friend and I have a huge number of tubists friends. And
2. Tubists, long before the COVID 19 plague arrived, had developed and promoted our instrument through the last century to the present, in a way that has no precedent in music history.
(When I speak of tuba and tubists I’m including the euphonium. The euphonium is, after all, a tenor tuba and euphonium is just too difficult to type every time I want to refer to our very special community. We are of the same family.)
Harvey Phillips, who was the spearhead of much of our historical evolution through the last century, would be proud.
What is it in our tubist DNA that has driven us to develop our instrument to this historical and high profile visibility? Is there something in our character that led us to choose this instrument or was it our association with this instrument the led us to the collective need to evolve. It’s an ancient question: Are we the result of heredity or environment?
Recently, I assisted Scott Sutherland in a virtual video project with 100 tubists from around the globe, playing Scott’s arrangement of Nimrod from the Enigma Variations by Edward Elgar, (which can be seen and heard in my previous blog.)Today we were surprised and delighted to see that the Nimrod video had surpassed 60,000 views. Scott and Phillip Broome deserve an enormous ovation for their work in coordinating 100 separate videos from the 100 superb tubists from around the world into one unforgettable virtual performance.
I would also like to thank those 100 tubists for their generous time and talent, which made the mega event possible.
I’ve been listening to the tuba for 70 years; I’ve never heard anything like this before.
Roger Bobo, June 7, 2020, Oaxaca Mexico