BIG RAPIDS \u2013 With the second concert in the Tuba Bach Chamber Music Festival approaching, the Tuba Bach Quartet is preparing to return to Big Rapids. Before its performance on Sunday, the quartet will spend time performing in outreach concerts at two area retirement homes and also will lead a workshop open to interested tuba and euphonium players on Saturday. \u201cIt\u2019s nice to have a chance to be closer and intimate with the audience,\u201d said festival founder Ed Mallett. \u201cLike our two performances on Friday, which are in fairly small rooms, the quartet will be right next to the audience. They\u2019ll be able to ask questions. It\u2019ll be a lot of fun.\u201d The Tuba Bach Quartet is comprised of Mallett, on euphonium, Gail Robertson, on euphonium, Charles Guy, on tuba and Phil Sinder, on tuba. It has become a tradition for the quartet to give extra concerts and workshops as a part of the festival. This week, in anticipation of its performance on Sunday, the group will give two concerts on Friday, Sept. 19, and oversee a low brass clinic on Saturday, Sept. 20. The performances Friday take place at 10:30 a.m. at Evergreen Terrace Assisted Living in Big Rapids and at 2 p.m. at Royal View Retirement Community in Mecosta. The workshop is slated to take place from10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday at Big Rapids High School. All three events are open to the public. \u201cAnytime anyone hears live music, it can cause that person to bring up a memory of a past performance they\u2019ve attended,\u201d said Sinder, professor of tuba and euphonium at Michigan State Universityr. \u201cAnd if it\u2019s a really good memory, that's a great enthusiasm-builder for our audience. We enjoy bringing that to the retirement homes.\u201d In the past, the quartet has played at several schools in the area, including Reed City High School, Reed City Middle School, Crossroads Charter schools and at Pocket Park. While people are encouraged to call ahead to attend the workshop on Saturday, the clinic also will accept walk-ins. The workshop will attract players from all over the area and across West Michigan, such as Spring Lake. \u201cWe\u2019ll have anywhere from four to 40 students there,\u201d Mallett said. \u201cWe\u2019ll have a good mix of tuba and euphonium students, from high school-age to college students. Hopefully we\u2019ll have some adults attend as well.\u201d During the workshop, all four members of the quartet will work with players in a Master Class-type setting, working on tone, technique and efficient warm-ups and practice behaviors. \u201cWe\u2019re really trying to work hands-on with students in these districts,\u201d Sinder said. \u201cNot many students in this area have experienced what a professional tuba and euphonium sounds like up close. We get to sit side-by-side with the students and go over things like technique, their range. Every detail becomes magnified with such close proximity.\u201d Sinder said he still values the early instruction he had on his instrument \u2013 something he hopes resonates with Saturday\u2019s attendees. \u201cI\u2019ve been playing the tuba for 40 years and I still remember the experience of first being in an educational setting while learning the tuba,\u201d Sinder said. \u201cIt was really stimulating.\u201d Mallett hopes the workshop will draw female players as well. \u201cWith Gail coming this week and Deanna (Swoboda) coming at the end of the concert series \u2013 they\u2019re both very active in the tuba and euphonium world internationally,\u201d Mallett said.\u00a0 \u201cIt's a nice chance for the community to see some women onstage with the tuba. Hopefully we\u2019re getting to a point where we\u2019re getting past the stereotype of big guys who play the tuba. We hope to encourage girls at the workshopon Saturday to pursue the tuba if that is the instrument they want to play. I\u2019m looking forward to that.\u201d Mallett is excited to once again bring the quartet to the community. \u201cAll three of the other folks in the quartet have amazing international and professional careers as solo artists and in major symphonies across the country,\u201d Mallett said. \u201cTo be able to share that with the students and do some master class-type work will be great. The students get to play alongside the quartet and the quartet gets to play alongside the students. It\u2019s fun for all of us.\u201d For more information, visit tubabach.org.