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Battle of the big horns

Otis Hutchins and a couple-hundred of his tuba-playing friends broke out the brass Sunday night for Glendale’s 34th annual Merry Tuba Christmas.

The concert at Glendale Civic Center brings out those in the holiday spirit as well as those in love with the deep sound of the tuba and its relatives, such as the euphonium.

Hutchins, who lives in La Cañada Flintridge, has played at all 34 Glendale concerts. He plays at senior centers and special events in smaller ensembles, including his own Wright Stuff Jazz Band, but said there is something sweet about the big sound.

“The ability to participate with a large ensemble of instruments that are all in the tuba family is special,” said Hutchins, 78. “It is a tremendously rich, melodious sound.”


His son, Jeff, comes over from Pasadena to blow his horn at the concert, as well.

Otis Hutchins said he played tuba when he was in high school and college, then gave it up for many years. He got back into it in 1974 when he first heard about the tuba Christmas events at the skating rink at New York’s Rockefeller Center.

The events were led by Harvey Phillips, a patron of the tuba who died in October. Phillips wrote Hutchins a note once asking him to participate, and Hutchins has been on board ever since.

The free concert is sponsored every year by Glendale Arts and the city’s Community Services and Parks Department.