Trey Fox, music instructor at Montgomery Elementary School, has played tubas and sousaphones since age 10. A partial phrase from a famed song inspired by the instruments is “the music goes round and round and comes out here,” written in 1935 by Ed Farley and Mike Riley.
MONTGOMERY-As May 7 is designated as “International Tuba Day,” we searched and found a local who has a lifetime connection with the instrument.
Trey Fox was 10years old when he began playing the tuba. His musical role has since been reversed as the one-time student is now an instructor, teaching elementary music in the Montgomery Area School District.
“I remember being in third grade when the class was asked to draw a picture of an instrument they liked. I saw the tuba and immediately thought it was the coolest instrument,” Fox said.
He was however disappointed when told in the fourth grade he was to small to play the tuba, so instead he began on the baritone, a smaller but similar brass instrument with valves and note sounds accomplished with lip vibration.
“I worked hard enough that after a few months my band director allowed me to switch to the tuba,” Fox said. Among his mentors were his elementary band director, Donna Elkin. For a number of years, Elkin has been his pianist and constantly offers musical help and knowledge.
As a member of the Blue Band at Penn State University, Trey Fox served as sectional leader of the sousaphone section during his two final years. Currently, Fox teaches elementary music within the Montgomery Area School District.
“Marching band has always been a big part of my life, and for four years, I was lucky enough to march in the Jersey Shore High School Band,” he said.
Fox spent another four years at Penn State in the Marching Blue Band where during his final two years, he served as Sousaphone section leader. During that time, Fox was greatly influenced by Professor Velvet Brown of PSU. Adding Doctor William Ciabattari at Lycoming College to the list of mentors he said, “Both helped me progress further than I ever could have on my own.”
Fox continued by saying, “Teaching elementary school now gives me the opportunity to introduce students to the tuba at a young age, and allows me to show them that the tuba can do so much more than what people think.”
Continuing as both a player and teacher, he is constantly finding and performing new kinds of music. “My absolute favorite music to perform is New Orleans Brass Band music. “Currently, I play the sousaphone in the ‘The Keepout Brass Band’ performing shows all over Central Pennsylvania. “Throughout the summer months, we also perform four days a week at Knoebels Amusement Resort,” Fox said.
Just now, the musician owns two of these brass instruments: A concert tuba, a silver B&S 3098 (PT-6); and sousaphone, a Conn 20K-SB.
Invented in 1835, the tuba is related to the sousaphone, euphonium and baritone horn, the tuba strikes the beat and is commonly recognized by its repeated rhythmic sounds of ‘Oom-pah-pah’.
The first Friday in May is designated as ‘International Tuba Day,’ in 2021 it will be May 7.