The Operetta by Travelling by Tuba

Travelling by Tuba





  Travelling by Tuba— Operetta

Travelling by Tuba Operetta

The Tuba Has Landed

A Children’s Operetta

In 2004 Travelling by Tuba commissioned a work for children’s voices, tuba and piano from the Midlands composer Robin Grant. Having written much music for young voices, Robin used all his experience to create ‘The Tuba Has Landed’. It was first performed in the Autumn term of 2004 as a year-long project in schools in Blackpool. At each school between 60 and 80 children were involved, varying from year 3 up to year 6.

The operetta relates the story of an alien tuba who crash lands on Earth, is befriended by a group of schoolchildren and subsequently taken on a sight-seeing tour of our planet. The work has five songs, which are linked together by a series of dialogues and soundscapes. The children are encouraged to write the dialogue sections themselves and the soundscapes are composed by the children performing them. Artwork and costumes are also created by the children. To produce the operetta, Travelling by Tuba go in with a team consisting of a singer, a dancer, an artist and the composer.

A professional singer goes into each school in advance (once a week for six weeks) to rehearse the songs with the children. The whole team then go in for one morning or afternoon every week for six weeks to put the work together. On the day of the performance the production team spend the whole day in the school, giving the opportunity for a performance during the afternoon to the rest of the school before the evening performance.

The dancer, as well as helping in the overall production, works with groups of children on dance and movement, choreographing the children for their moves during the songs. The artist creates, with the children, a whole range of costumes, including animals, various birds and fish. The pupils are encouraged in their creativity and also make props and other essential items for the performance.

The five songs, which link the whole work together, are as follows:

  1. 1. The Tuba Has landed
  2. 2. The Intercontinental Magic Rusty Bus
  3. 3. Big, Blue, Beautiful Whale
  4. 4. Alba The Albatross
  5. 5. Lift Off

The first two songs of the operetta are often performed by schools with Chris and Stewart as part of aPerformance Day.

A production of The Tuba Has Landed does require substantial funding. Travelling by Tuba is extremely grateful for the support of Blackpool Education Authority, Arts Council England and Youth Music in helping to fund the project in Blackpool.


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