AKRON, OH (WOIO) -When Tucker Jolly waves his wand at the 39th annual Tuba Christmas in Akron on Saturday, Dec. 8 somewhere in between four and five hundred tubas will start playing Christmas carols.
The retired University of Akron music professor started the tradition in 1980 as a way of meeting his students and introducing himself to the community.
“If you asked me in 1980, am I going to still be doing this in 2018, I would have said, you got to be kidding,” Jolly said. “It’s sort of become a holiday tradition.”
He is right. It is a tradition that has grown from 55 tubas to hundreds with thousands showing up every year to hear and sing along with Christmas carols. The event has outgrown a number of facilities until it found a permanent home at E.J. Thomas Hall on the campus of The University of Akron.
Anyone who plays an instrument in the tuba family is invited to join Jolly on stage.
“Play the notes you know and leave out the ones you don’t,” Jolly jokes. ""Because, there’s somebody here who will play them."
Today many tuba players will deck out there tubas with lights and when the theater goes black Jolly asks the crowd to sing Silent Night.
“When I first did it I expected a hush,” Jolly said. “It was not like that, they went crazy, it was pretty fun.”
Akron’s Tuba Christmas will held Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 at E.J. Thomas Hall in Akron. There are two shows, at noon and 2:30 p.m. The event is free for spectators.