December 6, 2009. Middletown was honored with being the only New Jersey city to host the world wide TUBACHRISTMAS. One of the high points of TUBACHRISTMAS is a concert at Rockefeller Center in New York City where between 300 and 500 players perform.
At 5 pm, Paddy and I arrived at The Middletown Arts Center, when several school chorus groups began to entertain the large crowd with Christmas Carols. (The Middletown Arts Center is operated by the Middletown Township Cultural and Arts Council).
Middletown Parks and Recreation director Gregg Silva detailed the schedule of the evening which included tree lighting, TUBACHRISTMAS, visit with Santa, hands on arts and crafts and refreshments. He then introduced Middletown's mayor, Pamela Brightbill. The mayor gave a few holiday remarks and led the crowd to the countdown for the lighting of the Christmas tree.
Inside the Middletown Arts Center auditorium, the crowd quickly filled all the seats in anticipation of TUBACHRISTMAS. Parks and Recreation director Gregg Silva introduced the concert director. Conductor Joseph Lawlor, introduced the musicians and explained that the band would play the first chorus and the audience would sing along on the second.
The music was excellent and most unusual with the low brass performance.
At the end of the splendid concert, the musicians stood up and received a standing ovation.
One of the more enthusiastic tuba players decorated his instrument, so I went over to say hello. He name is Jason Diaz and he is an instrumental music teacher at the McAuliffe Middle School in Jackson, NJ. He traveled all the way from his residence in Hightstown to play for the Middletown concert.
Walt and Kathy Rauffer at the lighting console providing technical support for the performance. Walt and Kathy also do much of the sound design for special shows at the Arts Center. Our seats were comfortable and each person had an excellent view of the main stage. The Asbury Park Press photographer also found our upper area seats to be a good location for an overall view of the performers.
After the concert, Paddy and I went downstairs to see Santa. The long lines proved the power and anticipation of the jolly old man.
Also in the basement, were two rooms for kids to develop Arts and Crafts. They were busy making things and having a good time too.
Before leaving, two final photos were taken: first, Paddy met Mrs. Claus in the hallway and second, Paddy and I found the mirrored elevator doors for one of our famous "mirror shots".
It was a terrific event that was well planned and most entertaining.