What the NCSE was:
The NCSE was conceived of as a performance ensemble of 15-20 advanced amateur and professional saxophonists performing mostly “classical” music. The ensemble was successful for several years playing concerts in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Raleigh, Durham, Wilmington, and at the U.S. Navy International Saxophone Symposium. Eventually, scheduling issues made it impossible to have consistent rehearsals with “all hands on deck” and the ensemble was mothballed.
What survives in the mothballed state:
- The NCSE continues to be a incorporated in the State of North Carolina and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit (I still file the tax returns)
- The NCSE website is in the process of being redesigned
- The NCSE Facebook webpage
- The Ensemble still has a bank account with a positive balance with PSNC in Carrboro
- The Ensemble’s Google drive has a collection of large ensemble works along with trios and quartets
- There is a work for SSAAATTTBB that the Ensemble commissioned from Suzanne Polak ( https://www.pittsburghconcertsociety.org/artists/suzanne-polak ) that needs to be performed and recorded
- There is an outstanding commission from José Riojas ( https://theatreandmusic.uic.edu/directory/josé-oliver-riojas ) that needs to be completed, paid for, and performed
- There remains a core of interested saxophonists that would like to revive the Ensemble.
What I’m proposing:
Instead of reviving the Ensemble as a monolithic performance group I’d like to reorganize it along the lines of a consortium. This is the organizational model of the wildly successful Jazz/Fusion group “Snarky Puppy” ( https://snarkypuppy.com/about ). All the members have their own side gigs and groups but SP tours as a 10-11 member performance group, the exact composition of which is determined by who is available at the time.
The format for NCSE concerts would be programmed to feature the flexibility of the saxophone and its various performance groups. Rather than having a concert of all large ensemble works the lineup may be a mix of large ensemble, quartets, and solo works.
So, what’s in it for you?
As a member of the Ensemble you would have access to:
- A framework that allows you to play at a high level with other motivated musicians
- The opportunity to play in a large ensemble when your schedule allows
- Access to the NCSE music collection on its Google drive
- If you currently have a formal performance group (such as a quartet) that group could exist under the NCSE umbrella taking advantage of it’s website and other resources while maintaining its autonomy.
- The chance to perform 4-6 times a year (including the Navy Symposium which is almost a given).