The 26th annual TUBACHRISTMAS concert will be at noon on Saturday, Dec. 14 at the Brown County Courthouse.

Carol Speidel is carrying on the tradition of the TUBACHRISTMAS in memory of her husband, Jerry Speidel, who passed away in 2018.

Jerry Speidel and Hiawatha band instructor 26 years ago, Kevin Pennel, co-founded the Hiawatha TUBACHRISTMAS — based on a national event. That year, he contacted the national organization to register Hiawatha and the rest is history. David Reiter, band instructor from Mound City, Mo., signed on as conductor of the event and has been there from the very beginning.

The TUBACHRISTMAS concerts were started in 1973 by tuba player and teacher Harvey Philips, who died in October 2010. All of the TUBACHRISTMAS concerts were inspired to honor his teacher, William Bell, who was born in 1902 on Christmas.

The first TUBACHRISTMAS concert was in 1974 in Rockefeller Plaza, New York. Annually, there are around 275 concerts in the United States and additional ones in Canada and Switzerland. Hiawatha’s concert is one of seven held this year. Others will be in Manhattan, Hays, Salina, Wichita, Kansas City and Iola.

Carol Speidel said that some performers travel to participate in more than one concert a year.

“Jerry played at Kansas City one year and he and Brett (their son) played in Manhattan before,” she said. “They are all a little different.”

She also noted that David Reiter is back this year again as director of the event — which is held every year in the courthouse lobby and is free to attend. She noted that there is also not a cost to participate — the Hiawatha Chamber and Visitors Bureau covers the cost of the registration fee.

Anyone wanting to participate in the TUBACHRISTMAS concert can come at 9:30 a.m. the morning of Saturday, Dec. 14 for practice on the first floor of the Brown County Courthouse.

Anyone who plays a euphonium, or any low brass instrument, is welcome to perform in the concert. For more information on TUBACHRISTMAS, go to the website www.tubachristmas.com.

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