Oktubafest showcases tuba and euphonium students


Oktubafest will feature undergraduate and graduate artists.

Oktubafest is an obvious play on Octoberfest, but instead of celebrating beer, it celebrates tuba and euphonium.

Under the direction of Chris Dickey, the tuba and euphonium director at WSU, the tuba and euphonium studio will perform on Friday for their third installment of Oktubafest at WSU.

Oktubafest is a nation-wide collegiate tuba and euphonium showcase, Dickey said. The tuba and euphonium studios are grouped into one for ease, called the tuba studio.

“The tuba-euphonium studio is light-years beyond where it was when I arrived (six years ago),” Dickey said. “It’s so nice to sit back and be like ‘wow’ and observe the higher, significantly higher, quality music making … knowing that I helped them get there.”

There will be solos by tuba and euphonium students, a tuba and euphonium quartet and choir, which includes most members of the tuba studio at WSU, Dickey said. With such a clever name, it gives the school an excuse to have the tuba recital in October, he said.

Each of the multi-person ensembles features undergraduates in all levels and graduate students. One undergraduate member of the tuba studio is a junior majoring in music, tuba player Alexander McCartney, who will perform in the Trans-Continental quartet and tuba choir.

Tubas and euphoniums are known for playing the bass-line and supporting harmonies in large ensembles, McCartney said. Since Oktubafest is a recital, the students have an opportunity to play something more melodic and technical than what everyone imagines their role to be.

“(Tubas) have the ability to play fast and sing like a vocalist through our instruments,” McCartney said. “I just want to break away from that stereotype.”

Although Oktubafest groups the tuba and the euphonium together, they are different instruments, Anthony Achille said. He is a first-year graduate euphonium performance student and member of the Trans-Continental quartet and tuba choir. He will also perform a solo with a pianist.

“The tuba and euphonium are not considered to be valid instruments,” Achille said, “with these performances you can see that these instruments are very much capable of whatever it is that any other instrument can play.”

Although this may not be the music that plays on popular radio stations, this music is important, McCarthy said. Not everyone has time for classical music, but this is a great way to experience music that’s unfamiliar.

“There’s still great music that needs to be heard,” McCartney said. “There’s usually not enough time to hear it all.”

Oktubafest featuring tuba and euphonium students at WSU will be at 4 p.m. today in Kimbrough 101. Admission is free.

“Everyone loves the tuba,” Dickey said. “They just don’t know it yet.”