Photos courtesy of Desert Hills Community School of Music
On Sunday, June 25, at 4 p.m., the saxophone ensemble from the Desert Hills Community School of Music (DHCSM) will perform a concert at Desert Hills Presbyterian Church, 34605 N. Tom Darlington Rd.
Since the concert will be performed just days prior to Fourth of July, the theme will be patriotic, with songs chosen to celebrate American history and music.
The School of Music is still inviting saxophone players of all ages and ability levels to join the ensemble; there is a one-time $25 participation fee, and all musicians who sign up will receive a free 45-minute saxophone lesson with ensemble leader Jeffrey Anthony, who has a master’s in saxophone performance from Arizona State University and has served as the Traditional Music Director at Desert Hills Presbyterian Church since 2017. The lesson with him may include ensemble material, fundamental skills, or any other music of the player’s choosing.
One unique feature of DHCSM’s saxophone ensemble is that it includes musicians from a diverse range of ages and backgrounds. Currently, the youngest player at the June 25 concert will be 13-year-old Ty Zandbergen, who has been playing the sax for five years. Initially drawn to the instrument due to his love of jazz music, Zandbergen joined the ensemble as a way to improve his techniques and connect with players from different walks of life. He enjoys the sense of community the ensemble provides, as well as the opportunity to learn new music and share it with audiences.
The ensemble also includes retirees such as Jeanne Weiland, who will turn 85 in August. Since receiving a saxophone for her 11th birthday, Weiland has been playing on and off over the years. When asked why she joined DHCSM’s saxophone ensemble, she says, “I like the music Jeffrey picks, I like being around other musicians, and I love to share music with the community. Plus, it gets me out of the house!”
United by their love of playing the saxophone, the ensemble is led by Anthony. In addition to serving as the Traditional Music Director at Desert Hills Presbyterian Church, Anthony leads the woodwind program at DHCSM. With an extensive saxophone career that has included performances across the U.S. and internationally as a member of the Joseph Wytko Saxophone Quartet, Anthony currently maintains a busy performance schedule as soprano saxophonist with the Fountain Hills Saxophone Quartet. This group has been named Artists-in-Residence at Desert Hills Presbyterian Church; in that capacity, they represent the church and the School of Music throughout the Valley.