Making a tuba-sized splash

The University’s music department started American Music Month off with a splash — but instead of a traditional celebration, the only sounds that could be heard were the crashing of tubas into the Freer Hall pool.

The School of Music’s Tuba and Euphonium Studio kicked off the festivities with its first “Tuba Toss” on Saturday, soon to be an annual event. Thirty-three music students and local children participated by tossing the tubas into a pool. The throws were judged on distance and biggest splash. The tuba hurling competition had two divisions, one for large tubas and one for small tubas.

Graduate students Todd Cranson and Rose Schweikhart-Cranson participated in the toss.

“Todd won the longest throw in the small tuba division, while I had the shortest toss in the big tuba division — only nine feet,” Rose said. “The event was a nice way to build camaraderie.”

Adriana Cuervo, assistant archivist for Music and Fine Arts at the University’s Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, or SACAM, said the contest’s inspiration came from Carol Jantsch, a tubist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the only woman in the world to win a tuba toss contest.

“November is American Music Month, and this year’s theme is women in music,” Cuervo said. “Carol was great for the event because she is one of the best tuba players in the world.” Cuervo said Jantsch was an inspiration to the younger girls attending.

Scott Schwartz, archivist for Music and Fine Arts and SACAM, said he wanted to show younger girls that anything is possible in music.

“Rarely do you see a girl in the band playing the tuba or trombone,” Schwartz said. “Those instruments are usually given to the boys, but Carol is a great example of how if you put your mind to it, anything is possible in music.”

The community’s music students and children were encouraged to attend the event. Vince Kenney, junior in FAA, was one of the tuba hurlers. Kenney won the longest distance with a throw of 23 feet.

“I nicknamed the big tuba Big Nasty. It hasn’t been used in years and has become kind of nasty,” Kenney said. “It is fun to be in an event like this and see the studio guys and little kids participating in the event.”

Cuervo said both of the tubas used in the competition had not been used for some time.

“You definitely don’t want to try this at home with your own tuba,” she said.