Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Saxophone

My father bought a saxophone when he was 16 years old in 1926.  He ordered it and when it came in his father had to pay $60 dollars for it.  He said he overheard his mother telling his father, "Ain't that a sight, TJ paying $60 for a horn."  Well that horn became an important part of his life and he played it until he died. 

Daddy loved music and came from a family of musicians.  I remember at family gatherings each of his brothers, sisters and cousins would bring out an instrument, one would sit at the piano and they would play for hours enjoying each other.  Those were fond memories for me.  Daddy and his cousins had a dance band and played during World War II.  He said they did pretty well because people needed to have fun. 

He wanted my sisters and me to play but I was the only one who played it much.  He had the sax plated gold and bought a new case for it in 1956 when I was in 7th grade.  I remember playing it in high school and marching in parades.  I never was very good playing the saxophone but I was really good at marching so my band director had me on the outside of the line but told me not to blow the horn.  I guess I looked better than I sounded.

My son played the sax through high school and then gave it back to Daddy.  I remember going by his house and listening to him play over the years.  He loved to play "Dark Town Strutters Ball" and many old hymns.  My niece recorded him playing and we played that recording of his favorite songs at his funeral.  Not too many people get to play at their own funeral.

The saxophone became mine when my father died and I have treasured it.  Now my grandson who is in 7th grade wants to play it.  He tried it when school started but it needed a lot of work on it so we had to rent a horn for him.  I decided to have it refurbished and took it back to it's original silver satin finish.  It looks beautiful and has a wonderful mellow sound.  So now it is renewed and ready for a new generation of saxophones players in the family.

I hope my grandson enjoys it and is inspired by the family tradition behind it.  He definitely has the talent and plays the piano, guitar, violin and now the saxophone.  He was selected to play in the all city regional band this year so I hope this new saxophone motivates him to create the beautiful music it was meant for.

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