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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 26, 2008

UI tubas team with Toys for Tots for Dec. 12 outdoor concert

The University of Iowa Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble will team up with "Toys for Tots" for the second year running when they present their annual "Holiday Tubas" performance at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12, on the front steps of the UI Old Capitol.

The music will be the usual fun mix of holiday favorites, including "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Frosty the Snowman." And 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.

Director John Manning noted that this will be the first "Holiday Tubas" event since the summer flooding that did so much damage to the arts campus. "Despite the devastating flooding, it's nice we can continue this annual tradition," he said. "I want to recognize the efforts of the administration, faculty and staff of the School of Music have made to maintain the strength of the department.

"The students have made heroic efforts as well, as they have undergone significant challenges this semester, and I think that our tuba and euphonium students especially deserve recognition for having had to tote their large instruments around town all semester."

Manning also expressed his gratitude to Zion Lutheran Church in Iowa City, host of the brass department, for making space available for applied lessons and seminars.

"We were amused to find out that our new rooms, which have names for Sunday school classes, were 'Noah's Art,' 'Fish Features' and 'St. Barnabas Basilica by the River'," he said.

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 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.

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. For more information visit

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

For UI arts information and calendar updates visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to and click the link "Join or Leave ACR News," then follow the instructions.


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

MEDIA CONTACTS: John Manning, Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble, 319-335-1656,; Peter Alexander, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0072 (office), 319-541-2846 (cell),