A near-record number of players combined Saturday to offer this year's Tuba Christmas event to hundreds of people at the Anchorage Performing Arts Center.

The Tuba Christmas concert first started in Anchorage in 1996. The first music get-together was first played outside. After valves and keys started to freeze up, the event was moved inside the year after. Twenty-one years later, the free concert is still indoors and brings people from all ages to hear the music and see some of the decorations players dress up their instruments with.

"Last year we had 450 people in the audience," conductor Neal Haglund said. "We had people of the stairs and all the way up in the balcony looking down at us."

It takes Haglund about three days to prepare for the event.

"I've been fixing horns and oiling valves," Haglund said, "getting horns ready for people that don't have instruments."