TTTE releases acclaimed, first ever Christmas recording

The latest recording by the internationally acclaimed Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble has been decades in the making but has quickly garnered recognition.

Christmas Tubas, the 25th commercial recording project produced by the TTU student tuba ensemble, is the first ever in the group’s 42-year history dedicated specifically to holiday music, and it’s one of two recordings by the group to be included on the 2008-2009 Grammy Entry List.

“After numerous appeals over the years, the group finally got around to producing a recording dedicated exclusively to Christmas music,” said R. Winston Morris, TTTE founder and director.

Christmas Tubas is included on this year’s Grammy Entry List in two categories — best small ensemble performance and best engineered album.

The recording features 23 tracks of traditional Christmas music, ranging from classical pieces such as Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” to contemporary arrangements of more popular seasonal favorites like “Frosty the Snowman” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

“Deck the Halls (With Bells of Tubas)” aptly demonstrates the ensemble’s ability to individualize each piece it performs, while “Merry Christmas Darling” features Cookeville native Curtis Prichard on the solo euphonium.

The recording concludes with the song “What’s This?” from the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas. The piece was arranged by Ben McMillan, a recent TTU euphonium graduate and also a Cookeville native.

“My hat is off to all of the arrangers for… making the traditional even more exciting and arranging the original compositions to sound like they were composed for tuba/euphonium ensemble,” said Mark Nelson in a review of the recording for the fall issue of the International Tuba Euphonium Association Journal.

“The 40-plus year tradition of the TTTE is more than a tradition; it’s a force of nature consistently putting out quality musicians and recordings,” Nelson continued. “This album is yet another testimony to R. Winston Morris and his incredible legacy as a pioneer in his field whose work has been emulated worldwide.”

The other recording of the TTTE included on this year’s Grammy Entry List is titled Legacy, and it’s included in three categories — best classical album, best small ensemble performance and best engineered album.

Released in early 2008, it features a group of select alumni performing nine new major compositions that were commissioned to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the tuba ensemble and its seventh performance in New York City’s famous Carnegie Hall.

The nine compositions on the recording represent some of the most famous composers living today.

Over the years, numerous compositions and arrangements have been made for performance by the TTTE, significantly increasing the repertoire for tuba and euphonium.

The TTTE is also the only group of its kind to ever perform in Carnegie Hall and is widely recognized as the most recorded ensemble of its kind in history.

Christmas Tubas, Legacy and other recordings of the TTTE are produced and are available from Mark Records of Buffalo, N.Y.

Copies can be ordered by going online to www.markcustom.com or through the tuba studio at TTU at http://orgs.tntech.edu/tuba/default.asp?page=home.

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