I warned that I would be coming back to the Alabama quartet. Let me begin by saying all the players in that group were FANTASTIC and their playing was very inspiring! The competition guidelines for the final round said something like the following: choose your own literature, totaling about fifteen minutes, and be entertaining. Quartets were encouraged to memorize music, perform skits, and even add choreography. My quartet chose a traditional program of standard transcriptions and original compositions for tuba-euphonium quartet. The Alabama Quartet did the Forbes Consequences, the theme from The Green Hornet, and a skit they called "It's a Small World." The members were of different ethnic backgrounds, labeled Mexican, Asian, German, and just American.
The Mexican aspect of their skit involved the use of sombreros and playing the Mexican Hat Dance. The Asian music involved a charming rendition of John Barnes Chance's Variations on a Korean Folk Song and "Kung Fu Fighting." They were headbands with red dots in the middle and performed karate chops. The German music required the first tuba to wear a blond wig with pig tails and a beer stein. I believe they played a polka. Finally, the American music was Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean," including a sequined glove and a wig.
While the group played extremely well, the whole idea of being cutesy was a little unsettling for some. It seemed to make tuba-euphonium quartet a lighthearted, background music type of genre. After all the leaps and bounds the tuba-euphonium ensemble has made since its inception, I can understand the concern. Just observations, people!