From Christmas bells to yuletide tubas

Published 10:03 am Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Members of the St. Olaf Lutheran Church Handbell Choir play “Jingle Bells,” at the AmericInn during Christmas in the Northwest Tuesday night. -- Eric Johnson/

Holiday events in full swing

Since Thanksgiving is over, the holiday season is in full swing with lots of events leading to Christmas.

Cameron Banks, 8, makes a holiday card at USEMs Tuesday night during Christmas in the Northwest.

Each resident will have to answer one question this weekend, however: Are you ready for some tuba?

Merry Tuba Christmas was so successful last year, organizers brought it back to Oak Park Mall a second year.

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“We did pretty well,” said Valerie Pitzen, parks and recreation supervisor. Pitzen spearheaded efforts to bring Tuba Christmas — a national event where tuba players gather in public places to play some yuletide tunes — to Austin after she attended a Tuba Christmas in Mason City.

“It made me realize how much I miss playing,” Pitzen said.

Merry Tuba Christmas, in its 38th year nationally, will take place at Oak Park Mall at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. Tuba players of all talents are encouraged to come out starting at 9:30 a.m. for registration, with an impromptu practice at 10 a.m. Cost is $5 to participate and every tuba, sousaphone, baritone and euphonium player will receive a button. There were 15 musicians last year, and Pitzen said more are encouraged to participate.

“No matter what ability you are, you can come in and play when you are able,” she said.


Christmas in the SW takes off from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1. Stop by the Sterling Main Street area off Oakland Avenue for free and fun activities at local businesses. Highlights should include cake, hot chocolate and a holiday treat at Dairy Queen, along with sleigh rides at Sterling State Bank and a free picture and gift from Santa at Sterling Drug Main Street. There are plenty of businesses involved in the fun, so stop by Oakland Avenue W. Thursday night.
The Riverland Music Department will present A Holiday Celebration at Christ Episcopal Church at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2.
The Austin Big Band will light up the Holiday Dodge Chrysler Jeep Open House & Indoor Used Car Sale from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday, Dec. 3. There will be hot dogs, chili and good music available for everyone.
The fourth annual Holiday Tour of Homes takes place from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6. Sponsored by the Mower County Red Cross, this year the tour includes the homes of Lisa Darling, Peter and Lynn Cunningham, John and Janice Bramwell, John and Karen Cosgrove and Candice Corrigan and Johanna Leuchter.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for $10 at Mower County Red Cross, Hy-Vee, Sterling Main Street and The Hardy Geranium.
Tickets will also be available at all of the homes for $12 on the day of the event. For more information, call the Mower County Red Cross at 507-437-4589.
Christmas in the County starts next Friday, Dec. 9. Look to the Herald next week for more details on the biggest county holiday bash around.