By Theresa Parker
From October 2015 issue of Texas Polka News
The TubaMeisters is a quartet, based in San Antonio, specializing in German and Czech music. They are also comedians. Watching them perform their Sound of Music routine at Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg last year was too much fun!
The founding members, who began playing gigs at Fiesta Texas in 1992, are Ray Grim, Al Tapia, and Richard Wallace. Ezra Johnson joined in 2005. Ray is a former school band director who teaches a number of tuba, euphonium, and trombone students and performs with the San Antonio Wind Symphony. Al is a retired U.S. Army bandmaster, who serves as the director of several area community bands. Richard is a retired school band director who now conducts the Alzafar Shrine Band, as well as performing with the Beethoven Concert Band. Ezra is a former middle school band director, and former member of the University of Texas Longhorn band.
Have Tuba, Will Travel
The guys perform at about 20 Oktoberfests during the season. In September, they traveled to Fort Hood, Granbury, and Fort Worth for fests. They started off October in Fredericksburg, played some gigs in Austin and San Antonio, and ended the month at the Galveston Island fest. They also have some great Christmas time gigs coming in Boerne (Nov. 27), Tomball (Dec. 12-13), and San Antonio (Dec. 19).
Thinking about their most unusual Oktoberfest, Ray said, “An Oktoberfest in McAllen. When we began playing the temperature was 102. About 30 minutes into our first set, the skies opened up. We had to scramble to get our sound equipment out of the rain. We spent the remainder of our performance time playing under a tent, unplugged.”
Ray said the most requested song would probably be Beer Barrel Polka. And then there’s the guy who shouts out Freebird. “We have it and sometimes play it when requested,” he said. Their favorite tunes to play are Es Bluht ein Edelweiss, a polka, and Blue Skirt Waltz.
The quartet has four CDs, including a Christmas CD, and Ray said there is a possible recording session next spring.