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Larry Huck: a well-loved musician

LIF JRW TUBA CHRISTMAS BAND.JPG

Sad news for the Fresno music community this past week: Larry Huck, a former band director at Edison and McLane high schools and one of the founding members of the Fresno Community Concert Band, died last Friday. He was 80.

Huck, pictured above center, was one of the driving forces of the annual Tuba Christmas celebration held each year at Manchester Center mall.

The Bee’s Paula Lloyd had more about Huck’s career in a Wednesday story. From her story:

Former students and fellow musicians described Mr. Huck as a talented musician and teacher who both inspired and sought the best from his players.

“He had a huge shadow, and he cast it a long way, ” said Cathi Graves Tudman, a music teacher and piccolo player with the Fresno Philharmonic who was one of Mr. Huck’s students at McLane High School.

Visitation is 4-7 p.m. Thursday (today) at Lisle Funeral Home. Graveside service is 11 a.m. Friday at Clovis Cemetery. There will be a gathering 11 a.m. Monday at Fort Washington Golf and Country Club.

On the jump, I’m reprinting a 2008 interview I conducted with Huck about his 19th consecutive year of conducting Tuba Christmas.

I know that as a music teacher, he had a big impact on countless students. If you’re one of them, leave a comment sharing a Larry Huck memory.

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Here’s my 2008 interview:

For the 19th year in a row, Larry Huck will be the general of a different army today. His logistical goal is Christmas cheer, and his soldiers are tubas.
As part of a national celebration, the local installment of TubaChristmas 2008 will be performed with free concerts at noon and 1 p.m. at Manchester Center.

We caught up with Huck to ask him about all things tuba:

Question: What’s the highest number of musicians you’ve had perform?

Answer: We had 67 perform two years ago.

The fewest?

The very first year we had 19 players.

Why Manchester?

It’s perfect because of the acoustics. We play above the carousel in a big U. We play down to the audience on the main floor.

You actually play the euphonium, which you could say is part of the tuba family because they’re both conical-bore instruments. Does it bother you when people call it a tuba?

No. It does bother euphonium players when people call them baritones. Those are different.

So you don’t allow baritone horns, which is, ahem, a cylindrical-bore instrument, to play with you? Does TubaChristmas get snooty about such things?

Nah, we’ll let them play, too. That’s just fine. (Laughs.)

How do you get to play in TubaChristmas?

You show up with your tuba. Registration is at 9 a.m. Rehearsal is at 10 a.m.

What’s special about the sound of a bunch of tubas playing together?

To me, it’s very much like being in the pipe chambers of a very large cathedral. The sound is just magnificent.

Any tips for the crowd?

Bring a chair.

How heavy is your euphonium?

Twenty five pounds.

I assume that by the end of the day, your arms are really tired.

Oh yeah.

Responses to "Larry Huck: a well-loved musician"

David Berggren says:

Mr Huck was one of the most important influences on my life. Not only when I attended McLane, but throughout my life he was someone who was a beacon towards which I attempted to live my life. During my sophomore year, I was filled with typically troubled teenage angst. Even though, at that time, I wasn’t involved with the music program at McLane, he encouraged me to participate with musical activities. My remaining two (2) years at McLane became filled with many wonderful memories and people who have become lifelong friends.