KPBX Kids' Concert: A SPARC Oktoberfest Oct. 7

Oct 7, 2017

SPR Chief Engineer Jerry Olson (at left) and other members of SPARC (Spokane Piston and Rotary Club) Tuba Quartet performed at a 2004 KPBX Kids' Concert. This Oct. 7, the group will present Oktoberfest music in River Park Square.

What better way to start the fall than with an Oktoberfest! This free KPBX Kids Concert celebrated the dance and music of Bavaria at River Park Square on Oct. 7 2017 at 1 p.m. The hour-long free concert features the low brass quartet, SPARC.

Sometimes spelled “Octoberfest” this traditional German festival celebrates much more than the autumn harvest. It’s an explosion of traditional music, folk dancing, cultural expression, and (for adults) beer.

Members of SPARC - the Spokane Piston and Rotary Club

The very first Oktoberfest was held October 12, 1810 to celebrate the wedding between Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Saxony Hildburghausen. Horse races in the presence of the Royal Family marked the close of the event that was celebrated as a festival for the whole of Bavaria. The decision to repeat the horse races the following year gave rise to the tradition of the Oktoberfest.

SPARC featured German marches and Bavarian dance music, in a deeper octave. SPARC stands for the Spokane Piston and Rotary Club, referring to the way the tuba and euphonium work. Most euphoniums use “piston” valves, like on a trumpet. Many of the better tubas us “rotary” valves, like on a French horn. So as the euphoniums go up and down, the tubas go ‘round and ‘round. The group also calls itself a “low brass quartet,” because the instruments play lower, deeper notes.

The performers have played together in various other groups, and got together as a quartet to have some fun. 

The quartet played tunes such as "The Bayriche Polka", which was written expressly for tuba, “The Chicken Dance," and “The Root Beer Polka” (adults know it by a similar name).

For selected songs, two couples from the Silver Spurs International Folk Dancers demonstrated traditional German dances.

Mobius Children’s Museum helped kids make chicken hats to wear during the chicken dance..

This KPBX Kids’ Concert took place in the atrium at River Park Square, 808 W. Main Ave. in Downtown Spokane

The concert is free for all ages thanks to Event Donors: Harvard Park Children's Learning Center North, Numerica Credit Union, Rocket Bakery, and Spokane Pediatric Dentistry.

Now in their 25th year, KPBX Kids' Concerts have brought different genres of music and performances to generations of children. These family concerts are at the heart of the station's mission to provide music awareness and entertainment to our listening region, which complements our on-air programming.