Oktubafest to Celebrate Brass Instruments and Embrace German Traditions

October 31, 2018 Lucila Decia, Staff Writer

At Hardin-Simmons, students and faculty are passionate about what they do; that is why HSU celebrated the 11th celebration of Oktubafest last Tuesday in Woodward-Dellis Recital Hall. For this occasion, the tuba and the euphonium are celebrated since both instruments were developed and patented in Germany. Oktubafest is held at many universities around the country.

Students performing during Oktubafest
Students performing during Oktubafest

At HSU, students performed with their instruments in a recital to honor these instruments and celebrate music.

Under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Cottrell, Associate Professor of Low Brass, Music Theory and Composition, students and former students performed a variety of musical styles, going from serious music to little more fun rhythms like Jazz and even German Polka.

The concert was an excellent chance for those who have never heard about the low brass or wanted to experience new styles of music like classical or rock music.

“I really enjoyed the concert. There were some rhythms that I was not familiar with, but I learned about them, and the quality was amazing. I hope to see it again next year,” said Lyana Cremnitz, a freshman.

Dr. Jeffrey Cottrell performing during Oktubafest
Dr. Jeffrey Cottrell performing during Oktubafest

This year’s Oktubafest also included Dr. Cottrell performing the theme from “Mvt. 2, Symphony No. 7” by Beethoven on a solo tuba; and another theme, “Brass Tacks,” along with Cody Hutcheson on the piano. There was also the debut of the Civic Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble, which is made up of tuba and euphonium players from three universities and local professionals. They performed a classic from J.S. Bach, “My Spirit be Joyful.” They later performed two original compositions by Dr. Cottrell titled “My Brain Hates Me Blues,” and “West Texas Ride.”

Students performing during Oktubafest
Students performing during Oktubafest

Oktubafest this year also had two performances by the Key City Brass Quintet, a brass band that features Dr. Cottrell, Robert Tucker, Dean of Department of Fine Arts; David Amlung; Bernard Scherr; and Diehlman Estes. The HSU student Jazz Ensemble composed by David Richardson, Adam Edwards, Brett Hudman, Cody Hutcheson, Connor Gorby, and Talon Keeney performed a traditional German composition arranged by Dr. Cottrell titled “Blau, Blau, Blau, Blüt der Enzian.”

Dean Robert Tucker performing with the Key City Brass Quintet
Dean Robert Tucker performing with the Key City Brass Quintet

Following the concert, there was a reception on the 3rd floor of Caldwell Hall where the German celebration was embraced with traditional treats and root beer from the country.

To understand how and why Oktubafest was born it is necessary to go back to the 70s, when Harvey Phillips, who was known and loved by the tuba world as Mr. Tuba, came up with the celebration for the first time at Indiana University in 1973. He wanted to show his passion for the tuba, and since then, it became a tradition among tubists at universities across the country.

 

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