Headline: Highlighting the low-pitched

Subhead: GV’s Octubafest showcases the tuba and euphonium

By David Specht

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While the tuba is widely recognized as the foundation of any marching band, it isn’t often that the sizeable brass piece receives recognition for its use as a solo instrument. 

Octubafest aims to change that.

A concert series crafted to highlight tuba and euphonium players, Octubafest will take place on Oct. 24, 26, 29 and 30. All four gatherings will be held in the Sherman Van Solkema Recital Hall in the Performing Arts Center.

The first three concerts will feature members of the studio performing solo works. The set lists will represent music from the Baroque, Romantic and 20th Century periods. The final concert on Oct. 30 will feature various chamber groups ranging from tuba quartets, a duet, a brass quintet and the debut of the Grand Valley State University Tuba and Euphonium Ensemble, which is comprised of the entire studio.

This is Octubefest’s third year at the university. As in past years, GVSU affiliate professor Paul Carlson will direct the festival. According to Carlson, the tuba has a dark, deep, rich, beautiful sound that is also full of different colors or timbres – something that deserves to be recognized.

“It is usually used as a bass instrument in an accompaniment role, but has developed into a fantastic solo role as well,” Carlson said. “I think I’m drawn to it because it is a bit of an underdog. People don’t expect to hear beautiful music from the tuba and every time we play, we have an opportunity to show them just how great it can be.”

Every Octubafest performance is free of charge and open to the public. For more about Octubafest, visit gvsu.edu/music or call (616) 331-3484.

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