Looking to make some quick cash? All you need is a mask, some mad lock-picking/cutting skills, transportation to Los Angeles, and a very large briefcase. The black market has a place for you if you can bring it a tuba.
Tuba theft is, once again*, on the rise.
*This statement may not be, in its entirety, true.
Since October of last year, at least seven California high schools have reported the theft of dozens of the beautiful, large, metal instruments. (source: LA Times blogs) The monetary value is estimated at tens of thousands of dollars.
Most distraught by the recent incidents is local tuba virtuoso Professor Lawrence Cucombura. “I have a deeply resonating pain for the brass instrument community. We thought that the size of our instrument assured our safety from scandalous predators like this.”
It is suspected that the increased demand for tubas is linked with the popularity of a Mexican polka style of music called banda. Bands playing this music with a tuba are twice the price of groups without a tuba. Of course. (source: NPR story) What is a house party or a wedding without a tuba?
Here is just such a band.
Some men’s lives have been saved by the demand for good tubaer, tubins, tubists, tubers, etc. A story of this can be found here. Can you imagine? – eager dancers stuffing money into the instrument. (Wish they would do this when my husband performs.)
Cucombura: “I understand that this genre and the demand for it brings great prosperity to the musicians, but think about all the kids who are suffering as their band programs are robbed of essential tools for education and quality music experience. It needs to be stopped.”
That is does. What can you do? I’m glad you asked.
- Don’t stuff 20s in the tubas.
- Volunteer to guard the classroom instrument lockers.
- Donate the tuba that has been sitting in your workshop for 30 years.
- Contribute financially so that music education can be restored. I will make it easy for you by personally collecting the funds conveniently through PayPal, cash, personal check, money order, jewelry, fine clothing, or accordions. **
“Above all,” offers Chef Tomatillo, “we want to assure the good people of our community that we are doing everything we can to prevent another incident. The best thing you can to do keep your instruments safe is to take them with you wherever you go.”
**The money may or may not make its way to the California schools affected by the travesty. After the collectee’s personal living expense are deducted, s/he will make a generous contribution toward Prof. Cucombura’s “Save the tubas. Stuff a tenor.” fund.
- Tuba Thefts Plague California Schools (nytimes.com)
- ‘Tuba raids’ plague schools in California (mysanantonio.com)
- Rash of Tuba Thefts in Los Angeles (neatorama.com)