YORK Racecourse may be used to the sound of galloping hooves than brass instruments – but that is set to change with a world record tuba-playing attempt.
Over 550 tuba players from all over the British Isles will converge on the racecourse in June an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest tuba ensemble.
The current record stands at 502 participants playing Christmas carols at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, in 2007.
Peter Scott, tuba player for the Shepherd Group Brass Band, who has organised the attempt, said he thought the best description for a collective of tubas was “a thundering” and said the huge gathering would sound as if a storm had broken out over Knavesmire.
Peter said: “We are hoping it will be a great day out for everyone. If we can break a world record, it will be brilliant.”
Named Tubarama, the event will be a family-friendly day out, with picnicking and a Tuba Village with trade stands, refreshments and a demonstration tent.
Other brass players are also encouraged to attend the event on June 30 with their instruments because the event will culminate in a massed brass finale, with music available to download. Gates will open at 11am and the official world record attempt will take place at 2.30pm.
Tubas, sousaphones, marching tubas and euphoniums are all permitted instruments for the record-beating effort.
The only qualifications are that the musicians are competent players, that they play the same instrument throughout and do not share it with anyone else, and that they play the music provided and resist the temtation to improvise.
Kate Lock, director of Brassed On York, said: “I am very excited. Getting this amount of tubas all to play together is a lot to ask, but it is a fabulous idea.
“I hope that we break the record that was previously set in Disneyland. People’s imaginations will be captured by this. I think that it will sound thunderous, low and rumbly – the tuba makes a magnificent splendid growl.”
Tubarama has been registered as an official Guinness World Record attempt, and is being done for charity.
There will be a £10 charge per person to participate, which includes parking. To pre-register go to doublebtyke.wix.com/tubarama.
For details, email Peter Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fascinating facts about giant of the music world
• Tubas are the largest and lowest pitched brass instrument. Euphoniums, also known as tenor tubas, are smaller and higher pitched than tubas and are a feature of brass bands, but not orchestras. Sousaphones are tubas that are designed for marching bands and fit around the body.
Tubas are classed as an “endangered instrument” with fewer and fewer people playing them.
• The tuba is made of around 16 feet of tubing and commonly has three or four valves.
• To play the tuba, a player holds his or her lips against the cupped mouthpiece and blows air into the instrument.
The pitch of the instrument is altered by opening and closing the lips as they vibrate.
• The first Friday in May is International Tuba Day.
• Tubas come in different keys. Those in the keys of F and C are most commonly used in orchestras, while those in E flat and B flat are usually used in marching bands.