While the academic year may be winding down, the music department at Southern Oregon University is gearing up for two concerts featuring performances by saxophone and guitar students and faculty.

While the academic year may be winding down, the music department at Southern Oregon University is gearing up for two concerts featuring performances by saxophone and guitar students and faculty.

The Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra, with special guest SOU associate professor and percussionist Terry Longshore, will perform "Wind and Weaponry" at 8 p.m. Friday, May 22, in the Music Recital Hall on the SOU campus, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland. There will be preconcert music by Trigon Clarinet Trio and Equal Opportunity Saxophones beginning at 7:30 p.m. Audience members are invited to a cake reception following the concert.

Longshore will present "Wind and Weaponry," a fusion of saxophone and progressive rock drumming. Composer Dan Maske of Milwaukee created "Winds and Weaponry" as part of a commission by the Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra and the SOU department of music. The composition was made possible by an SOU President's Grant.

Also on the program will be two works by Oregon Shakespeare Festival Director of Music Todd Barton. "Hackysax" and "Meditation for the Sichuan Earthquake, Gesangla" explore sound in space, blending theatrical body movements and an electronic soundscape. The program includes movements from Holst's "The Planets" and SOU Associate Dean Vicki Purslow's new arrangement of the swing classic "American Patrol."

The 18 saxophonists of the Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra and Artistic Director Rhett Bender, showcase the artistry of the entire saxophone family. The group has toured both in China and Mexico. This season the orchestra was selected to perform at the 15th World Saxophone Congress in Thailand. In June the group will perform a selection from "The Planets" as part of the OSF Green Show.

Bender is a professor of music at SOU and is a founding member and soprano saxophonist with the Globe Saxophone Quartet and the Trillium new music ensemble. He teaches each May at the Sichuan Conservatory in Chengdu, China.

The second concert will feature SOU Department of Music Guitar Studio and Ensembles, directed by David Rogers, performing quartets and solos at 8 p.m. Monday, May 25, in the Music Recital Hall at SOU.

SOU guitar majors will play three quartets by former LA Guitar Quartet composer and guitarist Andrew York: "Quiccan," "Spin" and "Lotus Eaters." All three pieces were originally composed and for the LA Guitar Quartet. Afro-Brazilian music by Celso Machado, baroque-era music by J.S. Bach, Henry Purcell and Antonio Vivaldi also will be performed.

Four different ensembles will be playing as well as many individual soloists. SOU guitar majors are frequently heard around town performing in Ashland and Medford coffeehouses, wine bars and special events.

Tickets for each performance are $5 for general admission and free for students. Tickets and season passes may be purchased by calling 552-6101 or at the music box office prior to the performance. See sou.edu/music.