Tuba solos as October ends, it must be ‘Octubafest’


Colorado State University-Pueblo’s music department presented a concert called Octubafest at Hoag Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 28. at 7 p.m.

The music department’s Artist in Residence, Todd Sizer, said it was the third annual Octubafest. Sizer said Octubafest showcased the tuba as a solo instrument. He also said it is played in the background of an orchestra.

“Octubafest is really about helping people see tuba and euphonium, low brass sort of in different light as a solo instrument,” Sizer said.

Sizer is also the applied tuba instructor and he said that he helped prepare a solo for his students for the concert.

The students that performed were Erika Devins, George Hammersmith, CSU-Pueblo alumnus Jess Haney, Greg McWilliams and Ian Watson.

Diane Eickelman, the department’s staff accompanist, played a grand piano with most of the students, but did not accompany Haney. Each student played one song with a tuba.

Erika Devins plays the tuba at "Octubafest." photo by DaMarkus James
Erika Devins plays the tuba at "Octubafest." photo by DaMarkus James

Sizer said his students had practiced their songs since September. He also said he met them for individual lessons once a week for one hour. However, they practiced by themselves.

Sizer said he collaborated with his students and wanted them to choose songs that challenged them. He said he selected a few songs that his new students were comfortable playing. Sizer said students he has instructed in previous years where people such as McWilliams. He gave him songs that he performed as solos.

Eickelman said the concert could get more people to attend events the music department plans to present and watch with students playing different instruments.
She said the tuba is usually not played as a solo instrument.

About 30 people attended the concert and it ended after 45 minutes.

Sizer said he thought the concert was great even though the weather was cold. He also said his students performed well.

The concert showcased how a tuba sounds differently when played in solo performances as opposed to being part of an orchestra or symphony.