Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and the Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association present the documentary R. A. W. Tuba: From Sandtown to Symphony Jan. 23-31, 2021. Courtesy photo
SANTA FE — The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and the Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association present a free screening of the documentary R. A. W. Tuba: From Sandtown to Symphony, which will be available to screen via RawTubaSantaFe.com Jan. 23-31, 2021.
The 29-minute film was produced by Early Light Media as part of its Invisible Thread series—which focuses on “people-driven stories” and “explores human connectivity”—and premiered at the Mountainfilm festival in Telluride, Colo., in May 2019.
R. A. W. Tuba spotlights the extraordinary and inspiring journey of Dr. Richard Antoine White (R. A. W.), who serves as principal tuba for the Santa Fe Symphony and New Mexico Philharmonic and as an associate professor of tuba and euphonium at the University of New Mexico.
Growing up, Dr. White experienced poverty and homelessness on the streets of West Baltimore’s Sandtown neighborhood while living with his mother, who struggled with alcoholism. Dr. White was eventually raised by his mother’s adoptive parents, Richard and Vivian McClain, who gave him his first instrument, a trumpet, in fourth grade.
In middle school, Dr. White switched from the trumpet to the baritone before deciding on the tuba, and in eighth grade, despite turning up a day late for the school’s annual auditions, he won admittance to the Baltimore School for the Arts, one of the top public arts high schools in the country.
For all four years of high school, Dr. White studied with Ed Goldstein, whom he’d worked with previously in TWIGS, the Baltimore School for the Arts’ free after-school and Saturday program for students in grades 2-8. After graduating from high school, Dr. White earned a bachelor’s degree from the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s then-principal tuba, David Fedderly.
At Mr. Fedderly’s suggestion, Dr. White pursued his graduate studies with the influential artist and pedagogue Daniel Perantoni at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. During that time, he was also mentored by one of the school’s professors emeriti, the legendary tubist Harvey Phillips. Today Dr. White holds the distinction of being the first African American to earn a doctor of music degree in tuba performance.
“This project, which includes presenting the film R. A. W. Tuba and helping to share Dr. White’s story, is an outgrowth of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival’s reason for providing exceptional opportunities in music for youth,” said Leanne DeVane, the Festival’s Director of Education and Outreach. “Training in music is more than a meaningful, rewarding avocation; it provides an academically rigorous pathway to a bright, successful, hopeful future—one in which possibilities are limitless and one in which kids, in their adult years, may, as empowered individuals, contribute to their community and their world.”
“The heartfelt and inspiring story in R. A. W. Tuba reminds us of the transformative power of music,” said Andrea Cassutt, the Executive Director of the Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association. “Our two organizations, dedicated to providing music and performance education for students in northern New Mexico, share this story with you to uplift your own sense of hope and possibility and to invite you to join us in making music a lifeline for kids in New Mexico.”
In addition to the film, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and the Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association will present a free, live conversation with Dr. White, hosted by Ms. DeVane and Ms. Cassutt, Jan. 30, 2021, via Zoom, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. (MST).
Viewers can register to watch both the film and the conversation at RawTubaSantaFe.com. After they’ve registered, they’ll receive emails containing links that will allow for viewing.
The cost to watch the film or the conversation is free. Donations, however, are appreciated and encouraged. All donations will benefit the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association’s music education and performance programs. The suggested donation is $25.
As part of a further collaboration with the Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association, Dr. White will give a free master class via Zoom at 6 p.m. (MST) March 10, 2021. The class is part of the Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association’s Inspired by Excellence series, which features acclaimed musicians and educators instructing Santa Fe Youth Symphony students on refining and improving their technique. Registration is available at sfysa.org/richardwhite.html