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'Attack of the 50 Foot Saxophone!'

They're back. And this time, the Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra will take a contemporary look at "music for celluloid" and present "Attack of the 50 Foot Saxophone!" at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20, at the Music Recital Hall on the Southern Oregon University campus, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland.

Student saxophone quartets will provide pre-concert music beginning at 7:30 p.m. Audience members are invited to a cake reception following the concert.

Artistic Director Rhett Bender leads the Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra performing original music by Randall Snyder. "Attack of the 50 Foot Saxophone!" will feature bass saxophonist Tovi Olivolo.

Heather Tomiyama, an SOU conducting student, will lead the orchestra in a historical presentation of "Chant Sacre" by Berlioz, considered to be the first piece ever written for the newly invented saxophone in 1850.

Antiphonal music by Gabrieli will evoke the sounds of Venice's St. Mark's cathedral, while "Variations on America" by Charles Ives will create a decidedly different atmosphere.

Associate Dean Vicki Purslow will stage her new arrangement of the swing classic "Sing, Sing, Sing" and the concert will finish with the comical "Devil's Rag."

Bender and the 18 members of the SSO will showcase the artistry of the entire saxophone family. Last season the SSO traveled to China. As the guests of Mercury Saxophones, the SSO performed at the China Music Trade Show in Shanghai and at the northern seaside resort city of Yantai.

The Siskiyou newspaper quoted audience members as saying, "It was wonderful. I really enjoyed myself. They were great. It's amazing that saxophones can have such power. I didn't want it to end."

Bender also is a professor of music at SOU and has presented master-classes throughout the United States, Europe, China and Mexico.

Bender 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.

Tickets for the performance are $5 general admission and free for students. Tickets and season passes may be purchased at the Music Hall box office before the performance or by calling 552-6101.

See see sou.edu/music/siskiyousaxophone.

Southern Oregon University's Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra will showcase the saxophone in a concert at the Music Recital Hall at Southern Oregon University. - Southern Oregon University