A band of tubas and other instruments will be taking over the Grayson County Courthouse steps for the third year on Sunday.
“Christmas Thunder” is an annual event where local musicians come together to play Christmas music and is slated to begin 7 p.m. this year. Practice for the performance will be held at 4:30 p.m. at 118 W. Pecan Street in Sherman.
“This started as just an idea to get a band out on the courthouse steps by the beautiful tree and play Christmas tunes,” organizer and Southeastern Oklahoma State University Music Professor Tristan Eggener said. “It then evolved to include as many musicians as possible to spread the cheer. We’ve gone from 30 our first year and the next year had doubled to 60! We’re hoping for even more this year.”
It started as a tuba Christmas, but the free event now includes all instruments and players can be of all skill levels. There will also be an instrument petting zoo so interested parties can try out different instruments.
“Every year, we include a musical petting zoo which will be a table of various wind instruments that children can come and try out,” Eggener said. “This has proven to be very successful, as I have heard that it has inspired many children to take up band the following year and it helped them decide what they wanted to play. I love this educational element — we have college students from Southeastern that will show them how to make sounds and hold them properly.”
All instruments will be sanitized after each use.
“I want Christmas Thunder every year to be all-inclusive,” Eggener continued. “You hear of many events that cater to only one type of instrument, tuba Christmas or clarinet Christmas, but I wanted to expand that idea so that anyone who plays an instrument to have the opportunity to play. I provide all the music — it is generally playable by most levels, and I have parts for any type of instrument and transposition.”
Music will be provided along with gift bags for participants. The public is advised to bring chairs and blankets for the free concert that generally lasts about 45 minutes.
”Christmas is always associated with the music of the season,” Eggener said. “It just puts people in the right mood and spirit. I know the community members appreciate an active and visible arts scene and this makes them proud to live where they do. As far as the musicians are concerned, our biggest joy is seeing all of our colleagues, friends, students and music enthusiasts come together to read some tunes and have a blast playing. I have dozens of friends that I don’t see throughout the year that I am thrilled to reunite with at Christmas Thunder. It also is a superb networking event for everyone, as we’re all interested in advancing the arts all over the Texoma area.”
Last year, the event saw about 60 participants. Eggener said he hopes this year’s event is bigger than last year’s.
“We will have a festive Christmas gong that will be played by Robert Little, owner of the Old Iron Post and huge Christmas Thunder enthusiast,” he said. “We also have a new guest conductor every year, and this time we have Chris Dickson, a band director from Durant ISD in Oklahoma. With all the increasing interest in this event, I can see many possibilities to expand Christmas Thunder in new and exciting ways.”