The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024

Release: Immediate

Santa conducts a 'very tuba' Christmas Dec. 12

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The holidays are in swing again and "tis the season to hear tubas."

Has Santa gone be-bop? Well, yes and . . . yes. In recent years, tubas have become part of Santa's winter scene as his reindeers and elves get set for the annual Collegium Tubum performance for the community.

Rain, snow or shine, each December, on the last day of classes at the University of Iowa, the Collegium Tubum, a School of Music ensemble of tubas, euphoniums and related instruments oom-pahs the sound of the season at the Old Capitol in the middle of the UI Pentacrest. This year the UI tubists will give their outdoor performance under the direction of Robert Yeats at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12.

"We call it the Fall Freezing Festival," Yeats jokes.

"It depends on how hard the wind is blowing as to which side of the Old Capitol we'll set up," says Yeats. "But people will hear us wherever we are. Bring your long underwear and your mittens. Santa is going to conduct. It'll be a lot of fun--rain, shine or freezing rain."

The ensemble performs classic Christmas carols as well as popular favorites including the "Chipmunk Song," "Rudolph, the Rednosed Reindeer" and -- always a Collegium Tubum favorite -- "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch."

The tubists have persevered in all sorts of weather, including years when members of the group have had to perform in tag-team fashion, taking turns retreating inside to thaw their freezing valves. And Yeats notes that the cold is amplified when you hold a large metal object close to your body and press it against your face.

A graduate of UI and Ithaca College in New York, Yeats has taught tubists at the UI for more than 20 years. He was principal tubist with the Cedar Rapids Symphony for 19 years and has appeared as soloist with many professional orchestras, bands and brass ensembles on the East Coast and across the Midwest. At the UI he plays with the Iowa Brass Quintet and edits the UI Guide to selected Wind and Percussion Materials.