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WVU School of Music Hosts Saxophone Festival

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MORGANTOWN -

West Virginia University's School of Music held its inaugural Saxophone Festival February 16 and 17.

The event included master classes, lectures and performances.

John Sampen was a guest who did a unique performance with the help of composer and engineer, Mark Brunce.

"We have some poetry we have a lot of visuals, on the overhead screen," said Sampen, a Saxophonist from Bowling Green State University. "Sometimes they're photographs of sculptures, sometimes they're just silly little pictures to help with the performance."

WVU saxophone professor Mark Ibrahim said he wanted to bring a group of saxophonists to the school and figured a festival was the way to do it.

"Well I've been in touch with a few other saxophonists across the U.S. that are great players, great teachers and I wanted to bring them in for the community and the students," he said. "Rather than bring them all in on different dates, I figured I'd bring them all in on the same weekend."

Sampen came to celebrate the instrument, but he also had a special reason to come to WVU for the festival.

"Some very special guests. I think some wonderful saxophone stars from all over the country," Sampen said. "Michael was also my former student at Bowling Green many years ago so it's fun for me to come and see him in action here at West Virginia."

Ibrahim invited everyone from WVU students to high school students.

Tanner Davis was in town from Capitol High School in Charleston for the Honor Bands performance on Saturday and said he learned a lot from the festival.

"A different world of music," said Davis. "The concert last night was a bunch of new age stuff and multimedia. It had a video going on with music and it was a brand new experience, that I'm not used to."

Ibrahim hopes to continue the festival and see some new musicians and guests in the future.