Buxton 2019

Time has been flying again, and we’re off to the Buxton Festival Fringe again very soon.  This year’s concert is on Friday 5th July, at our usual venue: the lovely Buxton Methodist Church.  It has a perfect acoustic for saxophones, and plenty of room for tea and biscuits.  Really, what more could we ask?

Just one thing, really – hope to see you there on Friday 5th!

Tickets will be available on the door, or you can buy them in advance from the Buxton Opera House website, at https://buxtonoperahouse.org.uk/event/summer-saxes.


Update: The programme for the evening was:-

  • Mrs. Malcolm, Her Reel ~ Richard Ingham
  • Funeral March of the Marionette ~ Gounod (arr. Stephen Hutchinson)
  • Tahiti Trot ~ Shostakovich (arr. Gordon Robson)
  • I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin’ ~ Gershwin (arr. Don Ashton)
  • The Pearls ~ Jelly Roll Morton (arr. David Webber)
  • L’il Darlin’ ~ Neal Hefti (arr. Gordon Robson)
  • Witch Hunt ~ Ulrich Schultheiss (arr. Nigel Wood)
  • Crucifixus ~ Antonio Lotti (arr. Chris Jolly)
  • Wachet Auf ~ J.S. Bach (arr. Adrian Budgen)
  • The Lone Arranger Goes Sax Mad! ~ Philip R Buttall (arr. Nigel Wood)
  • The Chug ~ Pauline Gordon
  • Por Una Cabeza ~ Carlos Gardel (arr. David Webber)
  • Caravan ~ Juan Tizol (arr. Jon Halton)
  • Engine No. 9 ~ Les Hooper (arr. Don Ashton)
  • African Waltz ~ Galt MacDermot (arr. Gordon Robson)

A World Premiere (with strings attached), and a return trip to Buxton

2017 has been a relatively busy year for the SSO.  We often only play one concert a year, but this year there have been two performances already.  We’ve also had a change of personnel, with Dorothea moving on to pastures new, and being replaced on baritone saxophone by Pauline, as well as a change of rehearsal venue.


Last Wednesday was the date for our now-traditional annual trip to the Buxton Festival Fringe.  The traffic on the A6 out from Stockport was slower than ever, but the venue, the volunteer organisers and most importantly the audience more than made up for any frustrations in getting there.  (We got another nice review, too.)  Here’s our programme for the evening:-

  • The Lone Arranger Goes Sax Mad ~ arr. Phillip Nuttall / Nigel Wood
  • Clouds ~ Mike Dale
  • Singin’ in the Rain ~ Brown / Freed, arr. Don Ashton
  • Sheep May Safely Graze ~ J.S. Bach, arr. Alun Cook
  • Flower Duet ~ Delibes, arr. Nigel Wood
  • Black Coffee ~ Webster / Burke, arr. Mike Dale
  • Chatterbox ~ Pauline Gordon
  • Tomcat ~ Chattaway, arr. Don Ashton
  • Swingmatism ~ McShann, arr. Mike Dale
  • Cushion Foot Stomp ~ Williams, arr. David Webber
  • Marigold ~ Mayerl, arr. Gordon Robson
  • The Zonk Zone ~ John Halton
  • Forgotten Dreams ~ Anderson, arr. Helen Southall
  • Crucifixus ~ Lotti, arr. Chris Jolly
  • The Pearls ~ Morton, arr. David Webber
  • Sidewalk Blues ~ Morton, arr. David Webber
  • Masquerade ~ Khachaturian arr. Gordon Robson

There were a couple of premieres in our Buxton programme: this was a first public performance for both Clouds and our arrangement of Forgotten Dreams.  We gave a more unusual first performance in May though, at Helen’s 50th birthday party.  Two SSO members (Helen and David) are both also members of the Infernal Twangers ukulele group, and Helen decided that a joint performance by both groups was an essential part of her birthday celebrations.  David duly obliged with an arrangement of ‘It’s Tight Like That’ which is probably unique in its instrumentation (at least since the the song was written in the 1920s), and was definitely a lot of fun.  Now for a few weeks off, before we start planning our next campaign!



An Evening with the SSO – Buxton 2015

Sovereign Saxophone Octet

The Sovereign Saxophone Octet at the Buxton Festival Fringe, July 2015 (l-r: Helen Southall, Gordon Robson, David Webber, Karoline Brennan, John Bowyer, Mike Dale, Stephen Hutchinson, Dorothea Livesey)

Well this is becoming a very enjoyable habit – it’s July, so it must be Buxton!

This was the octet’s fourth visit to the Buxton Festival Fringe, so we made sure to add some new tunes to our repertoire for the event.  This did lead to some anxiety at pre-concert rehearsals: would we ever manage to fit all of those notes in (and more to the point, put them in the right places)?  Would we manage to play this piece fast enough – or that one slow enough? But, as ever, it all came together on the night, and a splendid time was had by all.  (There’s a review by the Festival’s roving reviewer Keith Savage here.)

The programme for the evening was:-

  • Tiger Rag (ODJB, arr. Webber)
  • The Chant (Stitzel, arr. Dale)
  • Black Coffee (Webster & Burke, arr. Dale)
  • Tomcat (Chattaway, arr. Ashton)
  • Chatterbox (Gordon)
  • The Zonk Zone (Halton)
  • Dream and Reality (Ashton)
  • Canzona – La Padovana (de Viadana)
  • Concerto for Two Saxophones* – 1st Movement (Vivaldi, arr. Walton)
  • Flower Duet from Lakmé (Delibes, arr. Wood)
  • Chug (Gordon)
  • Mrs. Malcolm, Her Reel (Funky Freuchie) (Ingham)
  • The Sheik of Araby (Snyder, arr. Webber)
  • Caravan (Tizol, arr. Halton)

We finished with a repeat performance of Tiger Rag, this time with community singing of ‘Hold that tiger!’, with the audience ably rehearsed by Dave Webber.

Thanks are due once again to the volunteers who organise the Buxton Fringe events so efficiently, to the members of Buxton Methodist Church for the use of this excellent venue (and help with everything from the microphone to the tea facilities), and to the octet members’ friends and partners who helped out with tickets and refreshments.

*Vivaldi was a very forward-thinking composer, but saxophones were hard to come by in the early 1700s, so this was originally known as the Concerto for Two Trumpets.  (It didn’t do to let on about owning a time machine in those days.)

Welcome to our Blog!

Welcome to the Sovereign Saxophone Octet’s new blog!

All the usual kind of stuff will find it’s way on here, especially as July (and Buxton) approach – but more of that later.  We hope you enjoy our blog.  If it inspires anyone to come to our concerts, or investigate the wonderful world of saxophonic meanderings further, even better!

🙂 hs