Help Send SRHS Tuba Player to Europe

Nov 28, 2018
GREEN GOAL: Christina Tussel was accepted to the American Music Abroad program; now she needs to come up with the cash to attend.

Southern Regional High School sophomore tuba player Christina Tussel has been dreaming of going on tour with the American Music Abroad program since she was in seventh grade. Now she has her chance – the trick is to fund the opportunity.

She has devised a multi-faceted plan to raise the $5,300 she needs to pay in increments between now and next summer. Part of her plan is to sell Krispy Kreme doughnuts, candy bars and “Chrissy’s Jolly Jars” filled with pre-measured ingredients for soups, baked goods and even dog treats. She also babysits, cleans houses and works part-time at McDonald’s. Every dollar she earns gets her closer to her goal.

“She’s so optimistic. It’s great to be a kid,” Tussel’s mom Marya Eytel said. While Mom admits she’s nervous, her daughter’s confidence has never wavered. “She’s going.”

Tussel was invited to apply to the program and did so in October. Upon her acceptance, she said she “had to think about it a lot” in consideration of the cost, not wanting it to burden her family. “I was like, ‘Mom, I will do this.’”

Tussel and her identical twin brother Steven (also a multi-instrumentalist) have two older siblings. Finances can get tricky for their single mom, especially given the three kids who still live at home are all very busy with music, sports and other extracurricular activities. Side note: Christina and Steven learned this week that they were both selected to play bass drum in Southern’s indoor drum line. But juggling the schedules and needs of all the kids is a challenge Eytel wouldn’t trade.

“Having three performing on the football field during halftime is a beautiful experience,” Eytel said. “You don’t know where to put your eyes.”

Despite a softball-related back injury she suffered last year, Tussel carries her 30-pound tuba in marching band as she carries all of her responsibilities, with élan.

The trip to Europe “would mean so much because she has always wanted to go to France,” her mom said.

Tussel said the trip would not only fulfill a lifelong dream but also renew her faith in the cultural significance of music. She fears mainstream America is losing its appreciation for the art form. The AMA program allows talented musicians to share American music with international audiences in Hungary, Germany, France, Austria, Czech Republic and Switzerland. Venues include European concert halls, museums and cathedrals.

Anyone interested in obtaining an order form for Jolly Jars can email Tussel at Eytel is taking orders for Krispy Kreme doughnuts at Another way to help is to search for “Send Christina and her Tuba to Europe.”  —V.F.

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