Making Music in Southern Oregon

May 21st Concert Press Release


For Immediate Release:

Sunday, April 27, 2008

For further information contact:

Colleen Graves, Music Department


Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra SOAR

ASHLAND, OR. The Southern Oregon University Department of Music presents a session of SOAR–Southern Oregon Arts and Research—with a concert featuring the Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra on Wednesday, May 21st at 8:00 PM in the SOU Music Recital Hall. This is the inaugural year of a two-day, university-wide celebration of faculty and student research and artistic activity.

The fourteen members of the Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra (SSO), directed by Dr. Rhett Bender, will showcase the artistic achievements of students and faculty. Featured will be three composition world premieres by Southern Oregon University students: Jenifer Jaseau, DooDeeDu; Travis Moddison, Collisions; and Keith Smelcer, Gimmicky. The orchestra will also perform arrangements of Bach, Copland and Marcello, arranged by SSO members Vicki Purslow, Rhett Bender and Jenifer Jaseau. Dr. Bender will also present a solo performance of Tag! by Eric Stokes.

The Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra (SSO), under the direction of Dr. Rhett Bender, highlights the unique voices of the entire saxophone family: bass, baritone, tenor, alto, soprano and sopranino. SSO performances showcase styles from classical music favorites, American big band hits, and world music, as well as original pieces written for the SSO. In October the SSO traveled to China, where they performed to crowds of admiring music fans. 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 quotes audience members from a recent concert: “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.” “It was another great event offered by the music department.” For more information about the Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra, please visit

Rhett Bender is an Associate Professor of Music at Southern Oregon University and is sought out internationally as a saxophone artist. He 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 teaches each May at the Sichuan Conservatory of Classical Music in Chengdu, China as artist-in-residence. He is one of the featured saxophonists on AUR’s landmark seven-volume CD set, America’s Millennium Tribute to Adolphe Sax, which was nominated for a Grammy in 2000. Rhett Bender is a Yamaha Performing Artist and clinician.

Tickets for this performance are $8 for general admission and FREE for students. Tickets and season passes may be purchased by calling 541-552-6101 or at the Music Box Office prior to the performance. For more information, please visit Southern Oregon University’s Music Department website at

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