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‘More than typical tuba music’: Tubafest is back to showcase ASU music students’ tuba skills

The annual performance is being held at the Tempe Center for the Arts following months of preparation


The ASU Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble take a bow after their opening arrangement at Tubafest on Sept. 27, 2022 at the Tempe Center for the Arts. 

After months of practice and preparation, ASU music students get to demonstrate their skills to a live audience through The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts' annual presentation of Tubafest.

Tubafest is a series of live performances of tuba and euphonium instruments, usually occurring at the end of September and the beginning of October. This week, the first Tubafest event was held on Sept. 27 at the Tempe Center for the Arts, focusing on ensembles. 

This Sunday, Oct. 2, Tubafest I and Tubafest II will continue the musical celebration, with the performance beginning at noon.

The event opens with a large ensemble of all students involved, before breaking out into smaller ensembles each with their own pieces. Tubafest will then end again with one large ensemble to bring things full circle.

Tubafest acts as an opportunity to show off the hard work and the talent of performers of the students and faculty involved. One such individual includes Deanna Swoboda, an associate professor and assistant director at the School of Music, Dance and Theater

Swoboda is one of the people who oversee the event and acts as a guide for students participating.

"I coach the students along the way as they prepare," Swoboda said. "This includes reviewing music sheets and seeing mock performances."

Swoboda said the primary hope she has for the students involved, is the professional influence it will have on their careers following graduation.

"As artists, we look and create opportunities," Swoboda said. "This event will give them the chance to grow both as musicians and as individuals, through the positive impact they will have on the community."

Phoenix Hanes, a senior majoring in music learning and teaching, is participating in the event performing pieces like "Jupiter" by Gustav Holst. 

Hanes said with all that goes into Tubafest, for them, the most fulfilling aspect of the event is the acknowledgment of the tuba's potential.

"I hope people will see a group of tubas playing music other than just typical tuba music," Hanes said. "I want it to be a learning experience for the audience while also being enjoyable."

A similar sentiment was echoed by Ryan Matejek, a graduate teaching assistant receiving a doctorate in tuba performance.

"The tuba is often negatively stereotyped as an instrument that is only good for playing baselines," Matejek said. "I hope that audiences will see just how melodic the tuba is."

Alongside the rest of his quartet, Matejek will be playing "Come Together" by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Where he hopes to showcase the melody that the tuba provides.

Matejek said that with Tubafest, the real value comes from the learning experience that the students who participate receive.

"It gives them a chance to practice playing melodies in front of an audience," Matejek said. "That’s something important, yet they might not always get the opportunity to do so."

Isac Sanchez Torres, a senior majoring in music learning and teaching, said Tubafest is a critical step in his professional development as a musician. Torres, who aspires to become a music teacher, views Tubafest as a great chance to hear more about the tuba and the euphonium, an instrument closely related to the tuba.

"I want to show to people the tuba in a different light than they may already be used to," Torres said. "That’s something I hope to carry over as I become a music teacher myself in the future."

And to present that, Torres and his quartet perform songs from music composers such as Jose Flores in the event.

Swoboda said getting to witness all of the students' preparation has been the most rewarding part of overseeing and curating this event. Given that Tubafest has been the result of months of work.

"The fulfillment comes from the process," Swoboda said. "And it’s the performances that are most fulfilling since they’ll be indicative of the students' grit and consistency."

Edited by Claire van Doren, Logan Stanley and Luke Chatham

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Amir ImamEcho Reporter

Amir Imam is a reporter for the Echo, providing a unique lens for The State Press and ASU to view pop culture and media through. His articles have covered major projects being done by professors, news in pop culture, and events relevant to students.

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