Wilkinson and the other musicians played Hanukkah songs and traditional Christmas songs, such as “Silent Night,” “Adeste Fideles” and “Jingle Bells.”
The musicians of all ages came from various cities throughout Southern California to perform at Sunday’s Christmas event. But the concert also is a national event in which tuba players throughout the country perform, Wilkinson said.
About 12 top professional musicians, including some who play with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, also performed at the concert, he said.
The musicians have played at the holiday concert in the Alex Theatre for the last six years, but the Merry Tuba Christmas Los Angeles group has been performing for 33 years, conductor Jim Self said.
The Downtown Glendale Merchant’s Assn. and Glendale Arts put on the concert, which was free to the public.
Those in attendance who brought a new, unwrapped toy got four free seats to the event. The toys will be donated to the Southland Firefighters Spark of Love Annual Toy Drive in which the Glendale Fire Department collects and gives the toys to children.
The event raised more than 200 toys that will be donated to Glendale children, said Helen McDonagh, owner of Massage Envy Spa, one of the event sponsors.
Audience members poured into the theater, leaving no seating room. They were given a list of songs and sang along with the band.
Burbank resident Cheryl McMillan has played with the band for 28 years and tuba for more than 40 years.
She covered her tuba in Christmas gift-wrapping paper and wore a Santa hat.
During two of the 28 years’ worth of concerts, she was pregnant with her two daughters, who now come and watch her perform.
“I do it for me,” she said. “It’s just the feeling of being a part of a group.”