The Kennedy Center

Merry TubaChristmas



Biography

Merry TUBACHRISTMAS! is an annual concert series first conducted by the late Paul Lavalle in New York City's Rockefeller Plaza Ice Rink on Sunday, December 22, 1974. This event, conceived by Harvey Phillips, is a tribute to the late tuba player and teacher William J. Bell, born on Christmas Day in 1902. Through Mr. Bell, TUBACHRISTMAS participants honor all great artists and teachers whose legacy includes high performance standards, well-structured pedagogy, professional integrity, personal values, and camaraderie envied by all other instrumentalists.

The traditional Christmas music performed at the first TUBACHRISTMAS was arranged by American composer Alec Wilder. Mr. Wilder composed many solo and ensemble compositions for tuba and euphonium, and was a loyal supporter of every effort to improve the literature and public image of these instruments.

Since its first performance, TUBACHRISTMAS has attracted hundreds of performers and audiences of all ages. The warm, rich, organ-like sound of this low brass choir has won the ears and hearts of every audience. TUBACHRISTMAS has become an established Christmas tradition in cities throughout the world.

The Harvey Phillips Foundation, Inc. is a not-for-profit foundation incorporated in the state of New York, dedicated to “developing, expanding, and preserving the music arts,” with special attention given to musical instruments not ordinarily recognized. 

The Foundation facilitates its goals by providing scholarship assistance to selected established institutions which offer academic and music performance training, by assisting the commission of new compositions and other performing repertoire, by creating opportunities for public performances, by building public audiences which appreciate and support performances of all musical instruments, by presenting public lectures and clinics which impart knowledge and understanding of the urgent and special needs of the music arts and performing musicians, by offering consultant services and public relations expertise to music arts organizations.

Watch Past Performances

Video 12/11/2017: Target Family Night: MERRY TUBACHRISTMAS!

A FREE Millennium Stage Event
Target Family Night


This year marks the 44th anniversary of MERRY TUBACHRISTMAS!, founded by Harvey Phillips, in which hundreds of tuba, sousaphone, and euphonium players from around Washington, D.C., play traditional Christmas music.

Want to participate? Musician registration begins at 3pm; open rehearsal begins at 4pm. Please bring a low brass instrument, music stand, music (also available for purchase on site for $25), and festive clothing. If possible, please leave your instrument case in your car to save room in the Concert Hall.

Prefer to sit back and watch the show? Free general admission tickets will be distributed in the Hall of Nations starting at approximately 4:30 p.m., up to two tickets per person.

This performance will be streamed live on the Kennedy Center website, Facebook Live, and YouTube.

Video 12/14/2016: MERRY TUBACHRISTMAS!

2016 marks the 43rd anniversary of MERRY TUBACHRISTMAS!, founded by Harvey Phillips, in which hundreds of tuba, sousaphone, and euphonium players from around Washington, D.C., play traditional Christmas music. Grab your instrument and arrive for rehearsal at 4 p.m. to join in with the harmonious sound. Free reserved seat tickets will be distributed in the Hall of Nations starting at approximately 4 p.m., up to two tickets per person.

Video 12/16/2015: Merry TubaChristmas!

2015 marks the 42nd anniversary of MERRY TUBACHRISTMAS!, founded by Harvey Phillips, in which hundreds of tuba, sousaphone, and euphonium players from around Washington, D.C. play traditional Christmas music. Grab your instrument and arrive for rehearsal at 3 p.m. or just come at 6 p.m. to experience the glorious sound!

Video 12/10/2014: Merry TubaChristmas

This year marks the 41st anniversary of this holiday tradition, founded by Harvey Phillips, in which hundreds of tuba, sousaphone, and euphonium players from the area come together to perform traditional Christmas music. Rehearsal starts at 3 p.m.; performance begins at 6 p.m.

Video 12/18/2013: MERRY TUBACHRISTMAS!

This year marks the 40th anniversary of this holiday tradition founded by Harvey Phillips in which 300 local tuba, sousaphone, and euphonium players perform traditional Christmas music. Grab your instrument and arrive for rehearsal at 3 p.m.

Video 12/7/2011: MERRY TUBACHRISTMAS!

This year marks the 38th anniversary of this holiday tradition founded by the late Harvey Phillips in which tuba, sousaphone, and euphonium players from around D.C. play traditional Christmas music. Grab your instrument and arrive for rehearsal at 3 p.m.

Merry TubaChristmas