Tuba Day brings musicians together

By Ryan Bonds

May 7, 2018

Every orchestra’s tune relies on bassists to maintain order for the rest of the performers.

Two of the most recognizable bass instruments, the tuba and the euphonium, with their thundering sound and massive size, help keep the entire orchestra on beat.

The International Tuba Day, which was established in 1979, celebrates the aforementioned instruments and the musicians who often get forgotten behind them.

The music department at Cleveland State University has adopted The International Tuba Day as its own, with the third annual celebration of tubas and their musical cousins, the euphonium.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 5, the Music and Communications Building was filled with the sound of the world’s largest brass instruments.

According to Curtis Flack, a junior mechanical engineering major and avid euphonium player, each year’s celebration has a different twist.

“Every year the focus switches between the tuba and euphonium,” Flack said.

“The first year the emphasis was on the tuba with Yasuhito Sugiyama, the Cleveland Orchestra's tuba player, leading a master class. Last year the focus was more on the euphonium.”

Sugiyama is returning this year to lead a warm-up recital after the initial registration for the event.

The plethora of events includes multiple morning recitals and ensembles from the University of Akron and Kent State University.

J.C. Sherman, applied faculty of the tuba and euphonium at Cleveland State and principal tubist with the Firelands Symphony Orchestra, mentioned that the afternoon events will be different from those of years past.

“In the afternoon, there has typically been a master class with a nationally known performer,” Sherman said.

“However, this year we are featuring a colloquium on my teacher and former tubist of the Cleveland Orchestra, Ronald T. Bisho, several colleagues/students will be on stage to talk about his legacy — he passed away five years ago — as a musician, friend, educator, and champion of new music. The clinicians will also take questions from the attendees.”

The event closes with a final recital, featuring artists in attendance and the Cleveland State Viking Tuba-Euphonium Consort.

For Flack, the event not only exhibits the beauty of each instrument, but brings those who play them together.

While the international holiday does celebrate the instruments themselves, it and Cleveland State focuses on the people who play them.

“To me, it has the most beautiful sound of all the instruments, thus the name, which means ‘pleasing sound,’ and the sound which most closely mimics a human's voice,” Flack said.

“That, coupled with the ease of playing it, really allows you to just enjoy the experience, and worry less about the technique."

"As a whole though, because tuba and euphonium players are seen as odd, it almost creates this family feel where there seems to be a bond between euphonium and tuba lovers everywhere.”



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