The road ends, but the journey continues...

A Boy And His Tuba

Dear Kaden,

Your Ma texted me some pictures and a video she took of you playing at your most recent concert. You sat tall and straight and played your part well – without tapping your foot – yes, I noticed! Good job.

A few weeks ago, I won this book for you. I read an interview a writer friend of mine had with the author, Mary Winn Heider, about her newly released book, “The Losers at the Center of the Galaxy”. Learning that one of the main characters was a boy whose best friend was his tuba – I knew I had to enter the contest and try to win this book for you! And I did!

I waited to send it on to you because I wanted to read it, too. Your Ma might like that it has references to Chicago (our shared hometown – we’re cousins, you know). I suspect the football team and stadium described in the book is based upon Northwestern University in Evanston, but it’s still fun to have that Chicago connection along with the tuba connection.

One of Winston’s (the tuba player in the book) favorite pieces to play is Darth Vader’s Theme from Star Wars – The Imperial March. So, I printed out a copy for you. Who knows, you might play it in a concert next year?

I found a very short 1-minute YouTube of a student about your age practicing playing it on the sousaphone. Which as you probably already know is the marching band version of a tuba. You might like to see it here.

I also am sending you a link to the author’s book trailer. This is a very short 1-minute Vimeo video where she talks about her book and shows you how she works out her action sequences – very fun!  

I am proud of you Kaden. Keep playing your tuba – it is way cool.

Lots of love & hugs (I get to say that because we’re cousins, too!),


Thanks to all you music teachers in the schools – you serve as first introducers to the glorious variety of instruments there are in this world to try out and play. And a huge thank-you to L. Marie – you help connect kids with books and readers with authors.

Resources for inspiring aspiring Tuba Players

Losers at the Center of the Universe book cover
  • Let’s start off with this book. It can be found here, here and here.
  • Free sheet music of arrangements of popular tunes for tuba at various proficiency levels by TubaPeter can be found here.
  • Your local Tuba Player Musician/Teacher (ask your music shop or school band teacher for recommendations).


  1. Lavinia Ross

    I am just catching up, Laura, and loved this post! What a beautiful letter to Kaden!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you Lavinia. How nice of you to ‘catch up and comment!’

  2. Yay for music teachers and for students brave enough to take on instruments!!!

    • laura bruno lilly

      HA! Interesting your thoughts of bravery as being a characteristic quality for those who decide to try playing instruments! Yay!

  3. Christie Hawkes

    What a beautiful and heart-warming letter, Laura. I came across your blog through a comment you left on Ally’s Spectacled Bean. I’m so glad I did.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Welcome, Christie! Thank you so much for stopping by – I, too, drop in on commenters on other blogs – it’s a fun way to explore the blogosphere.

  4. Khaya Ronkainen

    What a heart-warming and encouraging letter to Kaden! I love everything about your post. Congrats on winning the book. 🙂

    • laura bruno lilly

      It’s fun to be a winner every once in awhile!
      (ps-I sent you an email, look for it)

      • Khaya Ronkainen

        Oh, definitely! It’s always nice to win. 🙂 And many thanks for your email!

  5. zippyquilts

    Well, that was fun! As for kids thinking they’re losers, I used to work with a very accomplished guy who commented, “We were nerds in high school, but look where the popular kids are now and look where we are now.” So true.

  6. Jane's Heartsong

    What a beautiful note of encouragement to young Kaden. Here’s to all tuba, and sousaphone players, to people with imagination who light a spark in our hearts whether they are teachers, musicians, authors or blog writers.

    • laura bruno lilly

      …or photographers!

  7. Cheryl, Gulf Coast Poet

    Heartwarming post, Laura! I wish Kaden every success! You are a wonderful mentor! <3 Have a great weekend!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks, Cheryl. Happy to share the good vibes.

      • Cheryl, Gulf Coast Poet

        Today, I went through your site for the first time in about a year and read your biographical information. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your impressive musical career. The site as a whole is well-designed and well-written. I look forward to hearing more of your music.
        All the best! <3

        • laura bruno lilly

          Thank you for your kind comments, Cheryl. What a treat to know you re-poked around my site. I’m honored you took the time to do so.
          I still haven’t finished with my intent to expand the PTM page(s)…and it’s been close to a year since I did the re-do!
          Oh well!
          I hope you have a special summer-y fun weekend!

  8. Jennie

    Just wonderful! Yes, bless all the music teachers in school!

  9. marissthequilter

    You have warmed my heart with your generosity, Laura.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you for that, Mariss.

  10. Janis @

    How great is that! Go, Kaden! I love the title of the novel too. It’s been a long, long time since I played a musical instrument (clarinet in Jr. High) but I’m pretty sure I tapped my foot. Is that a musical faux-pas?

    • laura bruno lilly

      Hmmm…if you have to ask – well then you know you’re not in the know! HA!
      Clarinet is fun – any chance of picking it back up?

  11. Pam Sellers

    I’m so proud of this amazing young man! He is such a special individual inside and out. I’m looking forward to seeing what God has planned in his life. He is destined to be successful. Congratulations to all!!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Pam, what a treat to hear from you! Yes, Kaden is some kinda kiddo – course I am a tad bit biased! His Ma is doing an excellent job doing the single parent thing, I’d say.

  12. thewheelchairteen

    It warms my heart how you won that book for that young tuba player. I applaud you for caring so much about his music-playing ambitions. When I was younger, the Imperial March used to be my favourite orchestral piece. I agree, music teachers do such a good job at inspiring the next generation of musicians. It was my older sister’s music teacher that inspired her to start playing the harp.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Ms wheelchairteen – Thank you for such a generous response to this post, you are most kind.
      Your sister is a case in point, for sure. I hope she’s still plucking those harps!

  13. Marty

    Ooh, I like this. It’s so gratifying to still see kids playing the same instruments we all had back in school You gotta love the tuba players, especially. A wonderful letter to him, Laura.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks, Marty…I always figured you for a band-nerd (said in the most endearing manner!).

  14. Mary Winn Heider

    Laura, this is so wonderful!!! I’m so glad you won the book, and so honored to have had a part in this beautiful tribute to Kaden (who absolutely looks like he’s ROCKING playing the tuba). And of course, I’m always grateful for L. Marie for her absolutely fantastic blog- I’m a huge fan myself!!!

    • laura bruno lilly

      I’m thrilled you got to see this tribute – as much to you/your novel as to my cousin! Thank you for stopping by – it adds greatly to the festive feel of this post.

  15. Ally Bean

    Just the existence of kid with a tuba makes me smile. There’s just something so absurd and perfect with that combo. A fun post.

    • laura bruno lilly

      I think you hit that ‘odd intangible’ thing spot on! Makes me smile, too!

  16. L. Marie

    Thank you for this wonderful post, Laura! I forwarded to Mary Winn!!! So lovely to see all of the effort you made to promote this book. Thank you so much!

    • laura bruno lilly

      I was hoping you’d pass it on to her…thank you!

  17. piecefulwendy

    Our little city is home to Carleton College. With the exception of 2020, each Christmas season there is the much-anticipated Tuba Christmas concert at the college. I have never made it to a concert, but it has a strong following. Google “Carleton College Tuba Christmas” for more info. Thanks for sharing this, Laura – a nicely written letter to Kaden. I hope he enjoys music for many years to come!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Oh I googled it and came up with some delightful vids, too! Yours from Carleton College…but also discovered Tuba Christmas in my long-ago childhood hometown of Chicago at the Palmer House, too! What fun. Thank you Wendy for this!

  18. Laura

    Wonderful! 🙂

    • laura bruno lilly

      Always good to have a tuba player in the family. HA!

  19. Frank @ Beach Walk Reflections

    There is SO MUCH good in this post. A tip of the cap to you, to Kaden, the author, and music teachers!

    • laura bruno lilly

      From someone as deep thinking as yourself, I take that as a high compliment and validation! Thank you, Frank.

  20. Andy

    Well done everyone involved, Mary, Linda, Laura and especially Kaden! Such a positive post all round.

    • laura bruno lilly

      The variety of persons involved (as writers, authors, musicians, teachers, eager learners, family etc.) gives greater insight into what being a ‘supporter of the arts’ is all about. Thank you, Andy!

  21. LA

    Love. Love love.

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