Steven Banks

Saxophonist. Educator. Inclusion Advocate.

"To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable"

- Ludwig van Beethoven

Space Camp 2018 (NASA)

The North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) Biennial Conferences are always special events that bring saxophonists together from all over the country. New pieces are premiered, top performers and teachers play and lecture on important topics, students compete in competitions, saxophone ensembles from around the country perform to represent their respective schools, exciting new equipment technology is introduced, and saxophonists meet to discuss the future of the instrument and the field. 

However, the most recent conference at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music was an especially wonderful experience for me. After some reflection, I think that it comes down to their being a much stronger sense of a holistic saxophone community. There was an overwhelming sense of genuine love and appreciation among players and teachers from all schools of playing that I, personally, had never sensed before. Perhaps there was a shift from this being a conference of connecting with colleagues to one of supporting friends. Who knows, maybe it was just my experience. 

I, as well as many others, am also SO happy and excited to have seen the official installation of the Committee on the Status of Women as an integral part of NASA. It was inspiring to see the research they presented, as well as the action steps involved in creating a more equitable future. Like in many other fields, female saxophonist's contributions and struggles have been largely overlooked in the past. I hope that our community will continue to build support for this committee as they help change that narrative as it unfolds into the future. 

After this recent conference, I can honestly say that I am more proud to be a member of the saxophone community than ever. Friends, let's keep up the good work! Much love to you all!