"Busy today?" my editor asked,

"Not really," I said, knowing he'd pass on some silly assignment he needed to fill -I reached for my purse and a headache pill.

"Tuba concert? You're kidding?" came my reply.

"Not at all," he retorted, twinkle in eye.

With notebook and pen, I trudged to the mall,

convinced that the "story" would be nothing at all.

They were there, all right - narrow, wide, short and tall,

Rows of them - tuba players - music stands and all.

Those words fit the players, no doubt it's true

But fit just the same their brass horns, too.

Several men and some women, young and old

Belting out Christmas carols, both mellow and bold.

They came in suits, they came in jeans,

They came in blues and reds and greens

In T-shirts, boots and even heels

Since when does the tuba have such appeal?

From junior highs and high schools, they came

From colleges and symphonies - all the same.

And in the mall they played, at noon

Sousaphone, baritone, euphonium - in tune!

The eighth annual Tuba Concert on Saturday displayed,

With holiday tradition, those tubas they played.

Some shiny, some dull - silver and brass.

One horn was "for sale," but you needn't have asked.

The owner, sign posted on the horn's bell

was belting out carols - not looking to sell.

Another, all dressed in red and white stripe,

was a "Jazz Band" player, just blowing his "pipe"

As loud as he could, and make no mistake -

he stood out in costume, but he wasn't a fake.

None of them were - they were 65 strong!

With a sound that carried both loud and long

from ZCMI, clear down past Mr. Mac -

it called to the shoppers, and did many attract.

Some smiled, some laughed, some even stood still,

the sound they were hearing wasn't bitter or shrill.

It was harmony, melody - all from this brass

that brings up the rear in most marching band casts.

But this was their day to carry the tune,

and carry it they did, till 50 minutes past noon.

And when it was over, I joined in the cheer,

"Merry Christmas, you tubas - we'll see you next year!"