Interested in hearing your favorite music arranged for saxophones?
If so, then you’ll want to attend the Y-Not Woodwinds in concert at the Medford Arts Center on Sunday, March 4, at 2 p.m.
The quartet, directed by Len DeFrank, will perform a varied program of music by Debussy, MacDowell, Glazunov, Gershwin and others, especially written or arranged for saxophones.
For years, DeFrank has been collecting music for saxophone quartets and looking for like-minded people to play with.
He said coordinating schedules of all players is the hardest part.
Y-Not Woodwinds got together last year, and now they jam once or twice a month. They have played at recitals, concerts and parties.
DeFrank said people tend to think of string quartets when they think of classical music, not saxophones.
All Y-Not Woodwinds members play every woodwind, flute, clarinet, oboe and bassoon.
DeFrank has a bachelor’s degree from Rowan University in music education and a master’s degree in classical saxophone from the College of New Jersey Masters. He also has a professional diploma from Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Two of the most memorable gigs for DeFrank were a Christmas party they played for a company in northern New Jersey and a surprise 80th-birthday party for a former teacher of DeFrank’s whom he hadn’t seen in 30 years.
He looks forward to the concert at the Medford Arts Center, in part, because he heard good things from a friend who played in a tuba quartet there.
“It’ll be great,” DeFrank said. “It sounds like some people are interested in keeping the arts alive, and we’re actually excited about coming to play.”
He is retired from teaching music and now offers private lessons from home and has started a band program at a Catholic school.
With three of the quartet’s members living down the shore, it makes for a long commute for DeFrank, who lives in Glassboro.
“The most challenging part of this group is finding the time to rehearse,” he said.
DeFrank said he also enjoys bringing music that is not popular to audiences to enjoy.
“What I’ve found is that people — if you mention a saxophone quartet to somebody — people don’t really know what you’re talking about. But once they hear it, everyone seems to enjoy it,” he said.
This is the first time Y-Not Woodwinds, which is well-known throughout South Jersey and Delaware, will perform in Medford.
The other three musicians, all professionals with many years of experience, are Howard Isaacson, who has performed at Lincoln Center, the Cape May Jazz Festival, and is presently a regular performer at the Atlantic City Casinos; Rob Portnoy, who has worked with Ella Fitzgerald, Wayne Newton and many others; and Mary Lou Newman, who, in addition to performing with a long list of notables, has a master’s degree in saxophone performance from the Manhattan School of Music.
For further information contact Tony Femiano at 609–654–1855 or email Jazzdoc733@aol.com, or visit www.MedfordArtsCenter.org.
The Medford Arts Center is located at 18 N. Main St. Admission is $10 at the door.