Tuba Bach to offer first Christmas concert Sunday

CHRISTMAS CONCERT: Tuba Bach will offer a Christmas concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 20, at Big Rapids First United Methodist Church featuring (from left) pianist Ron Newman, Ed Mallett, jazz singer Sunny Wilkinson and drummer Larry Ochiltree. (Courtesy photo)

CHRISTMAS CONCERT: Tuba Bach will offer a Christmas concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 20, at Big Rapids First United Methodist Church featuring (from left) pianist Ron Newman, Ed Mallett, jazz singer Sunny Wilkinson and drummer Larry Ochiltree. (Courtesy photo)

BIG RAPIDS — While the Tuba Bach festival has been in Big Rapids for a decade, it took the 10th anniversary celebration to bring a Christmas concert into the mix.

For the first time, Tuba Bach will offer a Christmas concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 20, at Big Rapids First United Methodist Church, located at 304 Elm St.

The six-week long festival in the fall doesn’t lend itself to a Christmas concert, but with the monthly offerings this year for the festival’s anniversary, founder Ed Mallett was able to add some holiday cheer to the lineup.

“This year, doing something every month, I said, ‘We’ve got to do a Christmas concert,'” he said.

Joining Mallett on stage will be jazz singer Sunny Wilkinson, pianist Ron Newman and drummer Larry Ochiltree. All three musicians have performed in Big Rapids before and are looking forward to returning, Mallett said.

As the monthly concerts wrap up with the Christmas concert on Sunday, Mallett took a moment to think back on the 10th anniversary season.

“I think it went spectacularly, I really do,” he said. “I had a blast with all the musicians we got to come to town. All of them said they look forward to coming back again.”

Mallett acknowledged having a monthly event on top of the festival was “a lot,” and while he thinks the festival may expand somewhat in the future, he doesn’t plan to schedule so much for next year.

“I think we’ll keep a Christmas concert as an annual thing, and maybe a spring concert,” he said. “We’ll still have a big production as a fundraiser, plus the festival itself, so there might be something four times a year.”

He added the festival has become a “pretty big deal” among musicians in the 10 years since its inception.

“I could stage a concert 52 weekends a year and still not get everybody who wants to be on stage for Tuba Bach,” Mallett said. “One of the goals when we started this was to make it a Big Rapids festival, which I think we have. Now, I’d like to see it become a destination event, making Big Rapids a place to come for a regional music festival.”

avatar

Posted by Candy Allan

Candy is the Pioneer's associate editor. She also coordinates the Family & Friends, Religion and Parenting pages. She can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8386 or by e-mail at callan@pioneergroup.com.

Leave a Reply