North Texas Daily

Tuba Valentines show heart of music program

Tuba Valentines show heart of music program

February 16
12:55 2016

Victoria Baghaei | Staff Writer


Some UNT students and Dentonites received big surprises Valentine’s week. Quartets of tubas and euphoniums made their way around campus and the town, serenading unsuspecting valentines with instrumental versions of love songs.

“It’s about as cute and nerdy as it gets,” third-year tuba player and Tuba Valentines director Casey Flancbaum said. “It’s cool and unique. There’s something sweet about getting serenaded by tubas instead of just a normal box of chocolates.”

For a steal of only $35, as well as a student discount, the sender chooses two songs from a list of 20 to be played for his or her valentine. The music is delivered with a chocolate rose and a personal note written by the sender.

The songs range anywhere from “Rickrolling” the recipient to a rendition of John Legend’s ballad “All of Me.” The quartet travels anywhere, adding a $5 charge per mile outside of Denton.


Dr. Brian Bowman and his wife listen to the Tuba Valentines play a rendition of “I Can’t Help Falling in Love” at their home on Valentine’s Day. Erica Wieting | Features Editor

Whether it be surprising a love in class or surprising them at their job, the quartet will make it work.

“We’ve gone as far as Dallas to surprise some of the people’s valentines,” Casey said.

For 12 years, the tuba program has offered both UNT students and the surrounding community the pleasure of purchasing this sweet gift for their significant others.

The tuba and euphonium players start practicing songs at the beginning of February, as the massive group of 60 needs time to learn the entire list of 20 songs. Some are composed by UNT alumnus and euphonium player Samson Flancbaum, husband to Casey. The group breaks into quartets based on individual availabilities, and members dress in formal clothing to give the performance of what Casey called that “love vibe.”

“We work really hard to make it as special as possible for the people,” Casey said.

Money received from the organization goes back into the program to help fund events and special guest for the tuba and euphonium program, even sending them to a international conference this year.

“It’s a great experience for us because we get to learn all of this great music, and we eventually start to help write the music, which I’m really excited about,” third-year tuba player and first-year Tuba Valentines member Andy Rodriguez said. “It goes back into our program and it helps us progress.”

In a very special performance on Valentine’s Day evening, a group of 10 Tuba Valentines played for euphonium director Dr. Brian Bowman and his wife at the couple’s home. Mrs. Bowman stood alongside her husband and sang to the brass rendition of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” as the group played for them.

“People look forward to it all the time. We get emails in January asking us when we start up again because they were so happy with their experience the first time,” Elizabeth Speltz, third-year euphonium player, said. “I’ve done this for three years, and there’s nothing better than seeing their surprised and happy expressions spread across their face.”

Featured Image: Doctoral student Jonathon Watkins, left, and sophomore euphonium player Brandon Hawkins, right, play Feb. 14 at the home of music professor Dr. Brian Bowman. Erica Wieting | Features Editor

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