Octubafest Casts Spotlight On Tuba, Euphonium Players


Tuba and euphonium players typically reside in the back of an orchestra, but they took the spotlight at Octubafest on Oct. 24 in the Snow Fine Arts Recital Hall.

“[Octubafest] was a way to get tubas and euphoniums in a concert, where they would normally be in the back [where]no one would ever hear them, so they can be soloists,” Assistant Professor of Tuba and Euphonium Gail Robertson said.

Robertson said Octubafest was inspired by the legacy of the late Harvey Phillips, a tuba virtuoso and a former professor at Indiana University in Bloomington.

“He’s sort of like one of our forefathers,” Robertson said. “He’s like Mr. Tuba to us.” Freshman tuba player Jacob
Straud said playing a solo in front of an audience made him nervous.

“This was the first time I’ve ever played in front of a crowd or anything with just me and the pianist, so it was definitely different,” Straud said. “A little bit nerve-wracking, but I liked it.”

In an attempt to combat the nervousness he felt onstage, Straud said he did some deep breathing beforehand. However, Straud said that when he was playing, he didn’t feel as nervous.

“Whenever I sat down, I didn’t even look at the audience. I just stared at the [sheet music]and just started playing,” Straud said. “I think once it was over I got nervous again, but while I was playing I didn’t even think about it.”

Freshman tuba player Seth DeWalt said practice and muscle memory helped him get past the nervousness of playing as a soloist.

“After you practice something so much, it’s very easy to just let what you know, like muscle memory, kick
in and you can play it,” DeWalt said. “After half of the song [was finished], I was like, ‘Well that’s done with,
I don’t have to worry about that anymore,’ so that was kind of a relief.”

Straud said it’s best to overlook performance mistakes and focus on playing the upcoming music correctly.

“Just let missed notes be missed notes and don’t even think about them while you’re trying to hit other        notes,” Straud said.

Straud said players have been practicing the songs for Octubafest since the beginning of the fall

He said he enjoyed how the concert came together.

“We’ve played together every Monday, Wednesday [and]Friday, so it’s really fun to see everybody and what they’ve worked on all this time from the start of the school year,” DeWalt said.

Robertson said there was no theme for Octubafest and that students got to pick the songs they played for the concert.


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