What A Sour Note: Thieves Target Tubas In Southern California | KCUR

What A Sour Note: Thieves Target Tubas In Southern California

Dec 12, 2011
Originally published on December 12, 2011 9:43 am

The high prices they command on the black market and "Southern California's banda music craze" have combined to make tubas a hot property, the Los Angeles Times writes today.

Hot, that is, in the sense that there's been a recent "rash of unsolved tuba thefts at high schools in southeast Los Angeles County."

One school lost "an upright concert tuba and a silver sousaphone — or marching-band tuba — worth a combined $13,000." At another, eight sousaphones disappeared. Last week, someone stole Huntington Park High School's last tuba.

And how much are they worth? According to the Times, "a high-quality tuba can cost well more than $5,000, but even an old, dented tuba can sell for as much as $2,000, music teachers say."

As for banda, the Times says:

"Targeted schools are in an area with a very large Mexican immigrant population and where banda — dance music played by brass and woodwind instruments and anchored by the tuba — is king. Sierreno groups — with an accordion, guitar and tuba — have also become popular in recent years. Banda musicians say tuba players can earn more than $100 an hour."

Our friends Jasmine Garsd and Felix Contreras at the Alt.Latino blog did a post-Thanksgiving music-to-make-you-move podcast that included "Panama's Kafu Banton, Latin Fresh, Bossy Lion and marching band Banda Centenario" in a remix celebrating Panama's Independence Day.

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