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The Madison Record

Bob Jones Saxophone Quartet entertains at bicentennial event

MADISON – The Bob Jones High School Saxophone Quartet shared their musical talent at a milestone event for the State of Alabama’s bicentennial celebration.

The four Madison saxophonists performed for the Madison/Huntsville Bicentennial Committee at Early Works Museum in Huntsville on Feb. 23. At this event, officials introduced the commemorative stamp for Alabama’s statehood with the U.S. Postal Service.

The stamp depicts the crest of Mt. Cheaha, the highest elevation point in Alabama. Local leaders, state legislators and other guests gathered for the unveiling. Lee High Orchestra Ensemble joined the Bob Jones saxophones for an Alabama bicentennial finale.

Bob Jones Saxophone Quartet includes senior Ashton Jah, soprano and alto saxophone; senior Eric Hurley, alto saxophone; senior Adrian Martinez, tenor saxophone; and freshman Jacob Johnston, baritone saxophone.

“The saxophone quartet is entirely student run. We practice about once a week, but sometimes more depending on if we have a performance,” Ashton Jah said.

For four years, saxophone ensemble performances have been a component of Bob Jones Band. Grey Vandeberg formerly led the quartet and other saxophone ensembles. Vandeberg is now a freshman at the University of Alabama studying saxophone performance and bioinformatics.

“After Grey graduated, we wanted to continue his same passion for the saxophone by continuing a quartet this school year. We performed at Bob Jones Winter Concert, Santa’s Village, the stamp unveiling and legislative kickoff … and plan to perform at Bob Jones Spring Concert in April,” Jah said.

In 2018, organizers selected the sax quartet as entertainment for the Alabama Bicentennial concert series in Montgomery. Jah and Eric Hurley also played in the 2018 quartet.

“As someone who holds a deep passion for the saxophone, I enjoy leading and participating in this quartet,” Jah said. “Ms. Leigh Thomas has blessed our saxophone quartet with numerous performance opportunities over the years, which has allowed us to build a name for ourselves and develop also as musicians.”

“Speaking on behalf of the other members, performing in a chamber ensemble increases individual contribution and the need for more personal work. In a large band setting, one person’s mistake can easily go unnoticed; however, in a chamber setting, one’s mistake is easily identifiable,” Jah said.

“We all have grown individually and have improved as players,” Jah said.

Ensembles from other instrument sections also perform at Bob Jones Band’s spring and winter concerts.

For more information about Alabama’s bicentennial events, visit alabama200.org.

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