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Tuba Day

The History of International Tuba Day

As listed in Chases Annual Events, International Tuba Day was created to recognize tubists in musical organizations around the world who have to go through the hassle of handling a tuba. What hassles do tubists have? Tuba players obviously have hassles due to the size and weight of their instruments, but what is actually more of a hassle for tuba players is the prevalence of stereotyped attitudes among people towards tubists and their role in a musical organization.

Think for a minute: What does the tuba mean to you? Unfortunately, many non-tuba players think of the tuba as just being one of those big, loud instruments that go "oompah" in the back of parades - having no real importance and being easy to play - they're just there to look nice. As for tuba players, many people view them in the old stereotyped way: they have no real musical talent, no personality, just big, fat bodies with puffy cheeks and powerful lungs.

Therefore, International Tuba Day was created for both tuba players and non-tuba players alike. If you don't play the tuba and feel as described above, International Tuba Day is your day to learn more about the significance of the tuba in our musical society. It's your day to see how the tuba is the backbone of the band with the capability of playing much more than just "oompah!" More importantly, International Tuba Day is your day to recognize the tuba player as being a talented master of musical performance who physically comes in all different shapes and sizes. Of course, if you do play the tuba, International Tuba Day is your day to sit back, relax, and enjoy your much deserved recognition!

Joel Day founded International Tuba Day in 1979 while attending Lower Merion High School in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Being one of only two tuba players in the band and finding a lack of respect from his fellow classmates, he decided to set a day aside for our recognition as reputable musicians. Joel went on to study at Millersville University, where he established very popular International Tuba Day celebrations that continued for close to twenty years.

Since its inception, International Tuba Day has been celebrated around the world in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and in the American states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. In 1986, the Millersville University celebration in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania was photographed to appear in the number one best selling book A Day in the Life of America.

Dr. Sy Brandon, formerly of Millersville University, has completed two books of music for International Tuba Day, including many American Folk and international music arrangements for tuba and euphonium choir to compliment ITD's international flavour. These arrangements include Alouette, Blow the Man Down, Camptown Races, Cielito Lindo, Du, Du, liegst mir im Herzen, Evening Prayer, Israeli Medley, Oh! Susanna, Sailors Horn Pipe, Sakura, Waltzing Matilda, and Yankee Doodle, among others. Copies of these books can now be purchased online through Tuba-Euphonium Press.

The next International Tuba Day, celebrated annually on the first Friday in May, is scheduled for May 2nd, 2025.

©2024 Joel Day