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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 30, 2007

UI tubas team with Toys for Tots for Dec. 14 outdoor concert

The University of Iowa Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble will add even more Christmas spirit to its annual outdoor "Holiday Tubas" performance this year by making the concert -- at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, on the front steps of the UI Old Capitol -- a Toys for Tots event.

The music, of course, will be the same fun mix of holiday favorites, including "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Frosty the Snowman." But in addition to enjoying the unique sound of the tuba ensemble, audience members will be able to contribute toys to be collected at the concert and distributed to needy children in the community.

Representatives of the Hawkeye Area Toys for Tots campaign will bring a drop box for toys to the concert. They will gratefully accept all toys appropriate for children up to 15 years of age.

"Since I arrived at the UI I have enjoyed continuing the 'Holiday Tuba' tradition," Manning said. "This year I thought that we could make it even better. Since so many people come out to hear us each year, I thought it would be a good opportunity to encourage them to bring toys for children who might not receive any otherwise.

"Part of what I want my students to learn is to give something back to the community, and I felt this was a great opportunity for them to learn the value of outreach.

"Years ago I was in the Air Force Band of the Golden Gate in California, and our brass quintet played for a Toys for Tots event that I will never forget," Manning added. "The U.S. Marine Corps collected hundreds of toys for a great cause, while we provided the music. The event was sponsored by a famous muffler-repair chain, and we performed in the repair bay when it started to rain. The mechanics had to keep working, and while we played from memory I watched sparks flying behind the head of one of our trumpet players."

The philanthropic dimension will not be the only improvement this year, Manning said. "We decided to reduce the size of our music to marching band folder dimensions, eliminating the need for the music stands that were constantly falling over in the wind."

Since it is outside, the concert will naturally be free, and Manning promises that, as always, it will take place regardless of weather. In Iowa, that is of course a significant promise: The concert has often been played amid snow flurries, and in some past years frigid temperatures have forced the group to perform in tag-team fashion, with members periodically retreating indoors to un-freeze their valves.

To heighten the festive spirit of the event, ensemble members customarily decorate their instruments, and some wear costumes of their own.

As always, members of the community who play tuba, sousaphone, baritone horn or euphonium are invited to participate in the concert. Potential players should contact Manning at or 319-338-1219 for information and copies of the music.

A project of the U.S. marine Corps Reserve, the Toys for Tots Program collects new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distributes the toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.

The current year marks the 60th anniversary of the Toys for Tots program. In 2006, Toys for Tots delivered more than 19.2 million toys to more than 7.6 million children.

The UI School of Music is one of several official sponsors of the "Toys for Tots" campaign in Johnson County, along with Acme Tools; the Home Builders Association of Iowa City; Hotel Vetro; Latta, Harris, Hanon & Penningroth, LLP; Lepic Kroeger Realtors/Jonathon Shun; and the UI Delta Beta Chapter of the Order of Omega. For more information, see the Hawkeye Area Toys for Tots Web page,

Manning is a founding member of the award-winning Yamaha performing ensemble, the Atlantic Brass Quintet, with whom he has toured across the United States and around the world, including performances at the White House, Tanglewood, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and June in Buffalo. An active freelance musician, he has performed with the Boston Symphony, the Empire Brass and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra. He joined the UI faculty in 2004. More information is available at

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For information on UI arts events visit Visit the UI School of Music Web site at To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: John Manning, School of Music,; Peter Alexander, University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0072,