Faculty and student saxophonists from across the continent gathered at the North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) Biennial conference at the University of Southern Mississippi during Spring Semester.
Fourteen current students from the University of South Carolina saxophone studio performed at the conference while more than a dozen alumni presented performances and talks on various aspects of the saxophone and its repertoire. Saxophone Professor Clifford Leaman presented a program of saxophone and marimba music, a saxophone quartet performance with three DMA graduates of the USC School of Music, and a lecture on job marketability in addition to the Saxophone Ensemble performance. Jazz Saxophone Professor Lauren Meccia played and sang an exciting program of music by female Brazilian composers alongside fellow faculty members Bruno Alcalde and Clifford Leaman.
For many of the twenty-seven current and former USC saxophonists who could attend, a saxophone “hang” night of dinner, stories and networking was a highlight of the conference.
Undergraduate student Patrick Reindl is pursuing a Bachelor's in Music Education was an attendee of the program. He performed with the ensemble, attended lectures, performances and experienced a “world of professional saxophone.”
“It was an honor to be selected to perform with the USC Saxophone Ensemble,” said Patrick. “There are not many college saxophone ensembles that get this opportunity! We were all very excited when we first heard we would be performing. The atmosphere of the convention was one of camaraderie and togetherness, as the theme of this year's event was ‘Better Together.’”
Students attended a variety of concerts and performances, from works for solo saxophone,
to quartets and octets, and many premieres of new works! The experience provided students
with an opportunity to see what the future holds for them.
The convention also allowed School of Music alumni to catch up and reconnect. School of Music Alumnus Matthew Castner (DMA ’21) said it was wonderful to be able to attend the event again after a few years of cancellations due to COVID.
It is very gratifying to see so many students interested in connecting with the larger saxophone community.
— Professor of Saxophone Dr. Clifford Leaman
“I was able to catch up with many old friends and colleagues, as well as hear performances by many of the leaders in our field,” said Matthew.
Matthew performed with fellow alumni Dr. Andrew Allen and Dr. Sheldon Johnson as a member of the Palmetto Saxophone Quartet. “The group is comprised of Dr. Clifford Leaman and three of his former doctoral students. It is a special way to be involved in showcasing the legacy of the saxophone program at USC.”
Dr. Leaman has been to every Biennial Convention since the 1990’s, including hosting the conference at USC in 2008 and wishes for his students to take away from the experience, "a love for music and a respect and admiration for using the saxophone to communicate through music.”
“It is very gratifying to see so many students interested in connecting with the larger saxophone community,” said Dr. Leaman. “They bonded as a group through the experience and came to know many other saxophonists and a lot of music to which they had not yet been exposed.”
About the USC School of Music
The University of South Carolina School of Music believes music is an essential component of the human experience. Our mission is to prepare our students to be skilled music leaders to ensure that they advance the quality of life in their communities by helping to make others happier, healthier, more hopeful and more fulfilled through the power of music. We do this not only by advancing musical instruction at the highest level for students' professional preparation, but also by leveraging the actual daily work done by students and faculty in the teaching and learning of music to unlock music’s unlimited potential to improve lives throughout the Midlands and beyond.