Special guest saxophonist to join Community Band for fall performance

by Joe Wyatt
Published October 23, 2019

Each year at this time, the Community Concert Band steps up its rehearsals at Amarillo College in preparation for a musical celebration of Veteran’s Day. But anyone predicting ‘same song, second verse’ is more than a bit off key.

BandPhotoINThis season’s concert honoring veterans – it is free and open to the public – is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9 at AC’s Concert Hall Theater, and it will feature a very special added attraction.


The band will be joined by guest artist Todd Yukumoto, saxophonist in the Royal Hawaiian Band and lecturer of saxophone at the University of Hawaii.


Not only will the visiting virtuoso perform a solo saxophone concerto in what has been dubbed the ‘Guest Artist Concert’, he will extend his visit by making personal appearances, orchestrating a Masterclass, guest lecturing and more.


Yukumoto’s days-long visit comes courtesy of a Development Grant provided to the Community Concert Band by the Amarillo College Foundation.


“We thought this would be a great opportunity for our students here in the Panhandle to visit with a professional, touring saxophonist,” said Kellie Bartley, director of the Community Concert Band.


“Bringing in a critically acclaimed saxophonist like Todd Yukumoto will greatly broaden our AC Community’s scope of knowledge about the many rewarding careers in music and music teaching available today.”


Bartley and Yukumoto have been friends since they met as music students at the University of Texas, where the latter achieved his master’s degree under world-renowned classical saxophonist Harvey Pittel, with whom he has toured as a member of the famed Pittel Saxophone Quartet.


Yukumoto has also performed with the Austin Symphony Orchestra and, being well versed in jazz styles, with such heavyweights of the genre as Marvin Stamm, Diann Schurr, Chris Potter, to name a few.


In addition to his busy performance schedule, which takes him throughout the Pacific and Japan, Yukumoto has been involved with music education at every level.


He also remains active in the commercial music scene by recording, arranging and touring with many of Hawaii’s top groups. His solo classical release Blue: New Music from Hawaii has been called “some of the best classical saxophone playing heard anywhere” by Fanfare Magazine. He has been dubbed “a first-rate saxophone artist who possesses a rich, clear, and vibrant sound,” by the Saxophone Journal.


Yukumoto also will deliver an informal lecture during his visit. It is at 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7 in the AC Choir Room. And that evening, at 7 p.m., he will present a Masterclass at the West Texas A&M University Fine Arts Complex, Room 227. Both these events are free and open to the public.


Bartley says the Community Concert Band’s annual fall concert on Nov. 9 will feature her former classmate, plenty of patriotic music, and a slide show of band members’ kinfolk who served in the military.

Kind House Ukraine Bakery will host a reception and provide refreshments, for which donations will be accepted.


Players of all abilities and walks are welcome to join the band, which is comprised of both AC students and members of the community. Members enroll in either academic or continuing education credits at the College.

The band practices from 7-9 p.m. on Mondays in the Music Building at AC. The band performs two public concerts each semester.

The present ensemble boasts musicians of every age and walk of life, from public school students and AC students to retirees.

“Our players really are all different levels,” Bartley said. “We strive to make a little something for everyone.”

If you would like to join the band, register here.


For more information about the Community Concert Band at Amarillo College, please call Tiffany McDaniel in the AC Music Department, (806) 371-5340.