Tuba players attempt world record in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — You’ll be able to hear it today if the Kansas City Symphony sets a new mark in the Guinness Book of World Records for most tubas in concert together.

More than 900 tuba, baritone and euphonium players are registered to take part in the record-breaking attempt. The concert is part of the annual TubaChristmas event.

The previous record for most tubas in concert together is 504.

“This is about having a great time. I do think it will be a record that will stand for a while because we’ve broken the previous record so substantially. I know I’m speaking prematurely, but I am pretty confident we are going to knock it out of the park,” said Frank Byrne, the executive director of the KC Symphony.

He will be playing his tuba at Friday’s concert.

Byrne said the group must play together for five continuous minutes to set the record.

“It is not something you can do casually. You have to have witnesses that are verified by [Guinness]. You have to have stewards that are watching the ensemble perform, you have to have wristbands for a precise count on how many performers are there,” Byrne explained.

The event is free and open to the public. The concert is at Municipal Auditorium beginning at noon Friday.

TubaChristmas is an annual concert of holiday music played by tubas only. The idea started in the United States in 1974 as a way to honor renowned tuba player William Bell who was born on Christmas Day. The event came to Kansas City in 1981 and the Symphony took over organizational operations in 2008. Byrne said in years past they’ve had more than 700 participants, but no representatives from Guinness to recognize the record.

That changes this year.