On Saturday, January 26, band leader Bill Hall and tubist Nate Griffith traveled to Des Moines to try out a restored bass/tuba for the 1st Nebraska Band. The owner, Steve Sprague, leader of the Liberty Band of Iowa, was selling the instrument because they had switched from upright bell horns to Over-the Shoulder horns. Steve had the instrument restored by Southeastern Musical Services in Huntsville, Alabama.
As Nate opened the sturdy case the beauty of the polished brass finish shined forth. Nate carefully picked up the tuba and began to play a series of high notes on the horn. They projected clear and beautiful. Next, valve compression was checked, and each slide popped when pulled out, meaning that a good vacuum was maintained because the valves were sealing the tubing. Nate finally settled into playing some notes in the normal playing range of the tuba, adjusted the length of the valve slides, and found good intonation throughout the chromatic series. Thoroughly satisfied, Nate presented Steve with a nice check for purchase of the instrument.
The tuba is an upright bell side action rotary valve E-flat Bass in polished brass manufctured under the Lyon & Healy name. Lyon & Healy produced brass instruments from 1864 until 1928, and sold them in their retail store in Chicago.
We can’t wait to see how the instrument sounds combined with the rest of the band. So looking forward to our February rehearsal. Thanks, Nate, for investsing in this beautiful horn.