The Terminology for these instruments has always been vague. In Ethnomusicology, "tuba" can mean any straight trumpet. While the common definition of the Tuba is simply a large bass horn, a scholar could correctly call it a lip-vibrated cup mouthpiece multi-valved conical bored aerophone of the lower register!
The first instrument called a Tuba was the ancient Roman Tuba (meaning tube), around 500 BC, which was a military signal trumpet. It was usually of bronze, about four feet long, and played with a detachable bone mouthpiece. To a certain extent, all cup mouthpiece horns in use today are related to this common ancestor. Through the ages, this simple tube was reshaped, remade, and renamed a thousand different ways before arriving at the shape and function of the Tuba as we know it today. The Tuba Museum began when William (a.k.a. Tuba Charlie) started leaving his horns to play with visiting musicians. After enough of them started gathering dust, he figured "hey, I ought to start a museum". A tuba player since 1959, he first took up the sousaphone in the Ferndale (Michigan) School District at age nine. Will's father, Raymond White, also a Ferndale graduate, played in the Navy Sea Bee Band and can be seen in the 1937 photo of the Coolidge Elementary School band.
Most of the horns on display are in playing condition, including the only known example of a triple E flat Helicon Tuba inscribed "The Majestic Monster". Made in Austria circa 1915, it was imported by the Malecki Co. of Chicago and played for many years in the Iron Mountain (Michigan) Community Band.
The Tuba Museum
A little history of the building: built as a hardware store in 1947, it was converted to a Miller's Ice Cream Parlor around 1959. In April of 1982 the property was sold to a group led by the current proprietor, William White. Founding partner Jennifer Brooke Byrom moved to California in 2003 to care for her parents, who have since passed away. Two sons and their families also live in the Golden State, so Jennifer now resides there as well.
The idea for the "traveling" menu was born of the tastes of these two people, who loved to cook feasts of ethnic food - but didn't like to cook the same thing too often! Jennifer's affinity for exotic cuisine began as a youngster living for three years in Iran and two years in Africa with her parents. Their extensive travels through Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia gave her ample opportunity to explore local markets and regional food specialties. William developed his taste for Mexican, European, and Indian foods from his travels abroad and the ethnic mix of the Detroit area. The collusion of these epicurean omnivores made for a never ending discourse in feasting technology. Consequently, the food served here represents authentic cuisine of the region - cooked and presented in a healthy, well balanced, and aesthetic fashion.
Some of the details you may not notice - many of the herbs, greens, and flowers we use are grown in our organic gardens throughout the property, which includes the historic Dr. James Smiley House (one of the first Township Supervisors, built c.1870). We are one of the very few restaurants that recycles all our cans, bottles, and plastic. Also, unlike most places, we don't generally use pre-made products. Even our soup is made from scratch, and we use as many local and Michigan-made products as possible. We hope this attention to detail leaves you with a delicious and enjoyable experience!
Travelers Club features food from a different region of the world every month. Our ENTREES & vegetarian SAMPLERS come with a representative condiment tray. Regions featured in Specials:
January - Africa
February/March - Middle East/Mediterranean
April - India
May/June - Asia/Pacific
July - Caribbean
August/September/October - The Americas
November/December - Europe
SPECIALTY OF THE HOUSE
William & Jennifer
The Majestic Monster & friends
Many thanks to Jennifer & Williamís parents for their support and enthusiasm as stockholders, critics, and recipe tasters. Without the help and parentage of Jack & Bess Bryom and Ray & Mary White, this restaurant would not exist.
Most of the Ethnic and Fabric Art on the tableclothes was collected by Jennifer or her parents, in their many and ongoing travels. The dyeing techniques she learned are also evident in some of the tablecloths, which are hand done.