Sax Concert Performers

"The Lee Saxes" performed selected pieces from the past two centuries at Squires Recital Hall on Jan. 25. From left to right: Gideon Morris, Christian Dyal, Eric Kettunen and Tyler High.

Under the direction of Clint Schmitt, Lee University's own saxophone quartet The Lee Saxes performed pieces from the past two centuries for a crowd in Squires Recital Hall on Jan. 25.

Adjunct professor of saxophone Schmitt said that it took the saxophone choir four to five weeks before they settled upon the right combination of pieces and performers for each quartet.

“I’ve got a big library of saxophone quartet music, and so I brought several things in and different combinations of students tried different pieces,” Schmitt said. “We sort of mix and matched and found combinations that seemed to work.”

Schmitt said that he liked the selected pieces for this performance because they allowed more members to perform solo.

“I think [the pieces] had a wide variety of different kinds of sounds and gave each member of the quartet a chance to be the soloist for a while,” Schmitt said.

According to Schmitt, along with variety in performance, the pieces chosen also ranged in the years in which they were composed.

“I like trying to have a variety of different time periods in saxophone,” Schmitt said. “The saxophone is all a modern instrument, but we play one piece from 1863, and so it gave sort of a history of the saxophone.”

Music business major and member of the quartet Marcus Burgos said that although his fellow performers played smoothly together, some pieces proved to be difficult.

“The most challenging piece was ‘Fast Walk,’ the last piece we played,” Burgos said. “It was faster, so keeping the tempo fast and making sure to keep everyone together—I think those were the most difficult parts.”

Elementary education major and fellow quartet member Simon Morris echoed Burgos' sentiment of the piece.

“It was a super interesting piece in that one section where everyone in the ensemble traded off a solo part, and it was super cool,” Morris said. “The piece overall was very intricate and had many little things each person had to work on.”

Morris said that performing in a saxophone quartet was a unique experience for him, differing from his usual performance alongside a choir.

“It was awesome to be able to have a separate concert,” Morris said. “We showed Lee what we bring to the table, which was cool. It’s such a blessing to be able to have a musical talent, and I try to share it with people as much as I can.”

Junior music education major Nate Crowe said that as an attendee, he found that the combination of performers worked well.

“I really liked how put-together they were,” Crowe said. “Even the low tessitura of instruments was very vibrant, I liked how it all fit together.”

For more information about similar upcoming events, contact Lee’s School of Music at music@leeuniversity.edu or call (423) 614-8240.

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