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Tubas To Take Center Stage At San Antonio's Arneson River Theater

At times, San Antonio's holiday season takes some unusual twists. One of those twists is a nowhere-but-San-Antonio kind of event put on by The Tubameisters, which were a creation long ago by Ray Grim.


Grim, however, is decidedly not Grim, and the tuba-centric tradition he started 39 years ago is one of San Antonio's most distinctive holiday traditions.

The Tubameisters concert is Dec. 16 at the Arneson River Theater, and features Christmas music played exclusively on tubas and other bass wind instruments. Lots of them.

Grim said usually about  250 players show up to play carols on the Arneson River Stage.

IF YOU GO What: Tubameisters’ Christmas Concert  Where: Arneson River Theater on the River Walk  When: Noon, Dec. 16  Cost: Free

"Sometimes as young as sixth graders, that might be 11 years old, to people well past 80," Grim said.

It's a rare opportunity for tubas to step out of the orchestral shadows.

"Usually because of their size in a concert band they are at the back,” he said. “And this concert gives them a chance to come out of hiding."

His favorite tuba carol is pretty much the opposite of grim.

“I guess I kinda tend to favor ‘Joy To The World,’ ” Grim said.

While we aren’t used to hearing tubas take the melody line in music, Grim thinks the concert will put a smile on your face.

"If you aren't already in the holiday spirit, I believe this'll help you get there," he said.

Tuba players are requested to pay $5 to participate, but the noon Dec. 16 concert is free.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org