Tuba Valentine: Students hold Valentine’s fundraiser with tuba grams

(Photo Courtesy of Michelle Rooney)

The K-State Tuba and Euphonium Studio is selling Tuba Valentines, in which a member of the studio will play a love song to the person of his or her choosing for $10. The money raised will support the studio’s trip to the Great Plains Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference at Iowa State University next month.

Michelle Rooney, sophomore in music education and president of the Tuba and Euphonium Studio, said the fundraiser — in its second year — has grown since it first started last year.

“The Tuba Valentine’s fundraiser is a recent thing,” Rooney said. “We did it for the first time last year, but we only had one tuba player, and he played maybe 10 Valentine’s grams for people around campus. As of right now, we have about 30 requests. We have Valentine’s Day pretty much booked as far as that goes, but we’re still doing requests for Monday.”

Rooney said the process for ordering a Valentine is relatively easy.

“Someone emails in, they let us know the details,” Rooney said. “We get the instructor’s email, too, in case they want us to play for someone in class. We send a tuba player, and they’ll play one of several love songs, like ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ by Elvis. We also do a few Disney songs like ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’ and ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight.'”

Eddie Shaw, senior in euphonium performance and studio member, said the tubas and euphoniums are generally not thought of as romantic instruments.

“The size of the horns will actually benefit the whole symbolism,” Shaw said. “It’s kind of silly to hear a tuba play a song that’s supposed to be romantic and sentimental. Hearing that on such a low instrument, I think the silly factor will play into effect.”

The fundraiser also gives the tuba and euphonium players a chance to stand out, Nicole Buehler, sophomore in euphonium performance and studio member, said.

“Most people think of tubas and euphoniums as just background instruments, but they’re actually really versatile, and it’s cool to show off the tubas and euphoniums,” Buehler said.

At the same time, the absurdity of playing love songs on tubas and euphoniums is typically enough to get people to laugh.

“I hope we can get people to smile,” Shaw said. “I hope they appreciate the gesture, I hope they get a little embarrassed even. It’s fun and embarrassing for us too a little, but I hope everyone has fun. We had a band director last year that almost broke down in tears when she got a tuba gram.”

People are generally surprised to receive a Tuba Valentine, Rooney said.

“People are really surprised,” Rooney said. “The last thing they expect is to find a tuba player in their classroom. Last year, the tuba player who did the Tuba Valentine’s was wearing lederhosen. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough lederhosen for the whole studio, but we’ll do our best to dress nice and surprise people.”

I'm Rafael Garcia, and I'm a 2019 K-State graduate in journalism and former editor-in-chief of the K-State Collegian. I believe that much of the world's problems come from a lack of understanding of other people, but by telling other people's stories and finding the good in the world, I think we can increase our understanding and appreciation of each other. Questions, comments, concerns, news tips? Email the Collegian team at news@kstatecollegian.com.