Christmas to the sounds of the tuba

    What do you get when you combine more than 100 tubas, hundreds of people and the Kimmel Center’s Commonwealth Plaza? The answer: some of the best holiday classics in celebration of a Philadelphia concert venue’s 10th anniversary.

    The annual TubaChristmas Celebration returned to the Kimmel Center Saturday with two free concerts that featured the holiday classics.

    In the first concert Saturday afternoon, hundreds of music fans took over the Kimmel Center’s Commonwealth Plaza in what turned into a standing room-only space.

    Music fans stood near ticket booths and leaned over balconies to listen to this year’s TubaChristmas, taking up any available spot for the day’s first performance. At the base of Commonwealth Plaza, dozens of tuba players draped their instruments in tinsel as they played songs such as “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Deck the Halls.”

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    TubaChristmas has a long history, making its first performance in 1974 as a tribute to the late artist and teacher William J. Bell. The very first TubaChristmas players took the stage that year on December 22 at Rockefeller Plaza Ice Rink in New York City.

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