Here’s to Harvey Phillips, the patron saint of tuba players. It was his idea, in 1974, to assemble an all-tuba orchestra for a Christmas concert at the Rockefeller Center ice rink.
Phillips wanted to honor his tuba teacher, William J. Bell, who was born on Christmas in 1902. Bell had performed with John Philip Sousa and was a member of the NBC Symphony Orchestra. His favorite Bach chorale, “Come, Sweet Death,” was a highlight of the ice-rink concert.