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Long, lost tuba finds its way home

This little adventure has all the ingredients for a good story. It involves a mystery, a chance encounter, coincidence, a journey, a bit of sleuthing (detective work) and a Good Samaritan. And it all revolves around a missing tuba.

Each year hundreds of thousands of students participate in middle school band across the nation. So, it’s not unusual to discover more than a hundred students participate in band annually at Aldine ISD’s Teague Middle School. Year after year, students buy their own equipment while the bigger and more expensive pieces are owned by the school and loaned to students.

It’s also not unusual for students to move during the school year and forget to return loaned items such as books and band instruments, or more specific to this story a concert tuba.

While it is unknown what became of the tuba for six years, its journey home began 1,119.5 miles away in Denver, CO. In a chance encounter, Gloria Mowdy discovered the tuba while helping friends move into a house. Someone had apparently left it behind. Mowdy’s friends didn’t play the tuba and asked if she wanted to keep it. Mowdy took the tuba home. By sheer coincidence, her friend Dale King in Enid, OK was a former tuba player in high school and college. Mowdy decided she would give him the tuba since he would probably make good use of it.

A few months passed before the tuba traveled 639.36 miles to Enid, OK where Mowdy dropped it off with King. He didn’t do anything with it at first. It wasn’t until recently that King looked at the instrument carefully and found that it was in reasonably good condition with only the mouthpiece needing some repair.

He also discovered the instrument’s case had Teague Middle School written on it. A former school band director himself, he decided to see if he could figure out to whom the tuba belonged. King knew that such an expensive instrument meant a lot to any school band program. He began his investigation on the Internet where he turned up two middle schools named Teague: one in Florida and one in Texas. He decided to call both to see if either had the serial number of the missing tuba on file.

AISD’s Teague Middle School returned his call. The school’s band director Mike Johnson provided King with the serial number from old documentation. King, the Good Samaritan, promised to return the instrument to the campus, 546.71 miles from Enid.

“It’s hard to believe that anybody would go to that kind of trouble to return a lost tuba,” said Principal Michael Gallien. “I have to admit that in my 15 years at Teague, this is the first call I have received about returning a lost tuba.

“The instrument is a Boosey and Hawkes concert tuba. Today, the approximate value of this type of instrument is $1,400. To be frank, I’m stunned to be getting the tuba back, but pleased. We’ll send it in for repairs as soon as it gets here.”

And so the long lost tuba has made its way back home to Aldine ISD via a journey through Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas by chance, coincidence and a Good Samaritan. The tuba will be used by current and future Teague Middle School band students, and will bring years of musical enjoyment to all. It will have a restricted travel schedule, however, allowed to journey only where the Teague band plays.