Ruth Gowitzke Staff Writer
On Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, musician Derek Brown rocked the Fine Arts Instructional
Center stage with just one instrument: his saxophone. The Music Society co-sponsored the event and it was all part of Brown’s FiftyFifty Tour. He has been going from state to state jamming out and meeting students from all over. After visiting Eastern, Brown planned to go to Connecticut College and Trinity College. This concert has been his seventeenth stop so far and he has no intention of slowing down.
Brown combined his saxophone playing with vocals and beatboxing, presenting Eastern students a spectacular cross-genre performance. It makes you wonder when he has time to breathe!
In this concert, he played a variety of different songs, some of which he wrote himself. One of the songs called “I Do” celebrates his tenth anniversary with his wife Rachel, who also happens to be his manager. “I Do” is a very catchy and upbeat song. Brown proclaims the love he still has and will continue to have for her, even when he is away on tour.
Another song that Brown performed was “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” but this one included a cool twist — his father is featured in it, but not in the way you would think. This was a song that he used to sing with his father when he was young, and since it means a lot to him, he decided to bring his father with him on the tour in a very peculiar way. Brown recorded his father singing on his phone and then played the audio whilst also playing the saxophone. The most interesting part, however, was that he put his phone inside the bell of his saxophone, which enhanced the sound of his father’s voice. He did not want his father to have to travel all over the place with him, so this original method was something that could fix it.
Brown used many interesting techniques to capture the audience’s attention. To make the performance more engaging, he played a harmony for one section of the audience to hum or sing to and created another harmony for another part of the audience to do the same. Then, Brown also played along to the audience’s humming to create a unique sound that would span around the entire room. He even put an egg shaker in his saxophone to act as another instrument for one song, which made it even more vibrant.
Brown’s saxophone and beatboxing abilities are truly iconic. Not many musicians are as versatile as he is with his music. He is able to combine many genres and makes everything sound so good, and that certainly deserves praise. Brown is an example of how hard work and dedication can make you successful. After all, he has only been incorporating these awesome techniques professionally for about three or four years. If you were unable to attend this concert, Brown also has a YouTube channel where you can check out his music whenever you want.