Tubalaté recently performed with and demonstrated Wessex tubas and euphoniums at the International Trade Show in Frankfurt, the Frankfurt Musicmesse. This the biggest music trade show in the world!
John and Paul Walton conceived the name Tubalaté in 1990 whilst looking through various books in the RNCM library after an amazing masterclass on tuba ensembles with one of the greatest American tuba players Winston Morris. Winston is still professor of tuba euphonium at Tennessee Tech near Nashville, Tennessee. From the 29th May this year Tubalaté will be touring the USA and performing in Knoxville at the International Tuba Euphonium Conference in the opening showcase concert. They will be highlighting 25 years of commissioning new music.
We thought of Jubilant, Jubilate, tubas, uplifting joyous sounds and Paul said; What about Tubalaté. The name stuck and we embarked on what would turn out to be a 25-year career with a brass ensemble which became probably the most successful, long lasting and flexible brass groups of this period.
In 25 years we did everything!. We travelled the world including all around Europe with memorable tours of Latvia, Russia, Germany and Hungary. We visited 12 states of the USA during 5 huge tours, including the massive fort at Arlington. This is next to the largest military cemetery in the USA and a stone’s throw from the mall which leads to the capitol building. Tubalaté played in Washington and the Rockefeller Institute in New York, not long after the terrorist attacks. One day we were walking along and Ryan said, hey what’s that building, he recognised it. We stood by the railings for a photo and we then said “OMG it’s the White House”.
We were on such a whirlwind we often didn’t appreciate until very recently what we had achieved. One time, we had such a great party in a Russian diplomat’s mansion in St Petersburg, that, next morning Paul felt very queezy and recovered on some steps. It turned out they were the steps to the marble palace of Tsar Nicholas II. It is perhaps interesting to note here that John’s Grandad was born in St Petersburg and he swept the floor when his father, a barber, cut the Czars hair. They offered this service to Rasputin, but he declined!
We went on later in the day to broadcast a live show to 2000 people in the Marble Palace hall, next to the Bolshoi Theatre. The manager said, just before we went on stage “Hey, no pressure boys, you’re just about to play to 3 million Russians on national radio, and a million on TV”. The music was really tricky, and we had limited rehearsal time on the complex repertoire. Dare I say, it was a great success, and we had our biggest taste of “Stardom”. On the tube on the way home, we were so tired. We were looking at a lady who had a newspaper open, with our smiling mugshots peering out from the national paper. We tried, in vain to get her attention and to show that the picture was ours. She wasn’t interested and she moved into the next carriage with a worried look on her face, worried that we were very strange. We were smiling, pointing at ourselves and to the picture and gesticulating wildly. Strange for her, and at the time, really normal for us, now surreal and crazy as we embark on a more standard lifestyle.
In Riga, Latvia we had just played as part of the International Ballet festival, Paul had ballet danced to Sabre Dance (splitting his trousers along the way) in the same programme as 12 of the best ballet dancers in the world. We played a wonderful performance of “Air from Suite in D, by JS Bach, with a beautiful classy choreography. The audience were enraptured. Ryan was chatting up the star of a South American ballet company, she in tutu, he with a tuba strapped to his back in a gig bag. I’ll never forget this image. They met up numerous times on various continents. A chap came up to us (his name was Dave) and said “Hey guys, You want to play at the Rockefeller Institute in New York next May?” We said yes, then took him for an “all you can eat Chinese meal for $1.99. We toured the USA on the back of that, covering 4 other states at the same time. Our corporate entertaining budget hasn’t improved.
This gives a flavour of the great time we had over such a long career. We did more than 1000 concerts in schools, special needs schools and old people’s homes. We played in just about every major venue in GB including The Barbican, St Davids Hall and the Bridgewater Hall. We did the 2nd concert ever in the Waterfront Hall, Belfast, after the great Irish Flautist James Galway, Royal Albert Hall, London, Albert Halls, Bolton and even the “Egremont Pigeon fanciers club”. We played to one man and a dog in a park in Edinburgh and to 10000 at the Vale of Glamorgan Festival with Michael Ball and Bryn Terfyl .We played at Prince Charles’ 50th birthday party in Buckingham Palace, he said we were great. Tubalate played at Ewood Park, a huge football event in Blackburn. The great comedian Frank Carson reprimanded the uninterested audience saying “come on fellers, this band are playing their hearts out here, please give them your appreciation”, he then cupped his mouth and looked over to us and said “your Sxxx”. (It’s the way he told ’em.)
We played kids music, crazy contemporary music and classical show pieces as well as cheesy fun stuff, but always tried to reach out to the audience and communicate, which we are very proud of. We made a couple of quid along the way and can always hold our heads up high and say we made a good living doing what we wanted to do, had a great deal of fun, made lots of friends and made some great music together. We’re still going strong after 25 years.
Do book the group, its a great show!!