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WRTI is proud to highlight the accomplishments of young artists in our local communities. You can donate now to champion and support WRTI's education initiatives! Learn more about what inspires and motivates these musicians through the interviews in this series.

WRTI Young Artist Spotlight: Tubist Keith Holmes

Tubist Keith Holmes
Joseph V. Labolito
Tubist Keith Holmes

Keith Holmes started his musical studies in 2018 through Play On Philly’s (POP) after-school programming, and is now the Principal tubist of the POP Children’s Orchestra and a member of the Brass Chamber Ensemble.

Keith, 15, studies with Temple University’s Tuba and Euphonium Professor Jay Krush through POP’s Marian Anderson Young Artist Program. In 2022, Keith played in thePhiladelphia All-City Festival under the direction of Joseph Conyers, and was accepted into the District 12 PMEA Band and Orchestral and Region VI Band Festival.

Since 2021, Keith has participated in the YOLA National Festival in Los Angeles and has been invited to attend YOLA again in July of 2023 as a member of the Symphony orchestra, the festival’s top ensemble. Keith attends the Girard Academic Music Program and currently plays in their Symphony Band, Jazz Band, Full Orchestra, and Wind Ensemble.

10 Questions with Keith Holmes

1. Outside of your performance genre, what do you like to listen to?

I listen to pop music because it's always very diverse and you can experience many different themes and styles by listening to that type of music.

2. What was one thing about your instrument that surprised you when you started learning to play?

One thing that surprised me about playing the tuba was the great amount of air it takes to play it.

Keith Holmes visits WRTI's performance studio with the Play on Philly summer camp.
Joseph V. Labolito
Keith Holmes visits WRTI's performance studio with the Play on Philly summer camp.

3. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In 5 years I see myself in college majoring in Tuba performance.

4. If you weren’t involved with music, what would you be doing?

If I wasn't involved with music, I would consider doing something with cars as a career, possibly engineering.

5. What did you enjoy most about taking part in the YOLA National Orchestra?

I enjoyed being able to network with other musicians from around the country.

6. What is your favorite thing about Philadelphia?

My favorite part about Philadelphia is Center City. I like Center City because every time I go there are always endless things to do.

7. What’s it like to be a leader in Play on Philly?

It feels good to be able to help motivate younger students to strive for success and to never give up.

Tubist Keith Holmes
Joseph V. Labolito
Tubist Keith Holmes

8. What advice would you give your nine-year-old self?

I would probably ask my mom to start learning an instrument a little sooner.

9. What was an experience with a teacher or peer that was impactful to you in your music education?

An experience that was impactful to my musical career was when Ms. Jess (Jessica Zweig, Executive Director of Play on Philly) brought the tuba to my middle school for the first time, and I could finally start to learn how to play it.

10. Who have been the greatest champions of your career so far?

The greatest champions of my career would be my parents because they try and make it to all of my concerts to come support me.

Keith's Recommended Playlist:

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Lydia Veilleux has worked in music education and arts administration for the past 20 years, and has taught students of all ages in various community settings. As WRTI's Education & Outreach Manager, she oversees educational partnerships, sponsorships, events, and coverage.