Octubafest celebrates brass as solo instruments

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Grand Valley State University’s Music and Dance Department will host four unique performances as part of the third annual “Octubafest,” a celebration of the tuba and euphonium as solo instruments.

The concerts take place October 24, 26, 29 and 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the Sherman Van Solkema Recital Hall in the Performing Arts Center on the Allendale Campus, under the direction of Paul Carlson, affiliate professor of music.

“The value of Octubafest is that it is a chance for the studio of tuba and euphonium majors to share their talents with the Grand Valley community,” said Carlson. “Usually these instruments are playing accompaniment roles in large ensembles and rarely have the opportunity to show their musical abilities. It is also great that the audiences get to hear the tuba and euphonium in ways they might never hear again.”

The final Octubafest performance will feature the debut of the GVSU Tuba and Euphonium Ensemble as they perform music by Richard Wagner, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Gabriel Fauré and John Philip Sousa. Many of the series’ soloists are also collaborating with students from Grand Valley’s piano accompanying class for their performances.

Carlson said, of the two brass instruments, it’s particularly enjoyable to hear the tuba in a solo environment because the instrument is an underdog story.

“People don’t expect to hear beautiful music from the tuba,” said Carlson. “Every time we play, we have an opportunity to show just how great it can be.”

Octubafest concerts are free and open to the public. For more information call 616-331-3484, or visit www.gvsu.edu/music.