Windsor High School Saxophonist Accepted Into Prestigious Music Festival

Benjamin Levesque pictured with saxophone.

Benjamin Levesque pictured with saxophone.

Araya Miller

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Benjamin Levesque, a Windsor High School senior, was selected to participate in the Northern Region High School Music Festival after auditions, held on Nov. 3 at Avon High School.

The Northern Region High School Music Festival lasts two days where students in the ensemble get to perform selected pieces of music and get hands-on training and rehearsal time.

Levesque was accepted out of hundreds of auditioners to play in the renowned ensemble and perform in the festival on Jan. 18-19 at New Britain High School.

Levesque played Etude #12 from the music book, Advanced Jazz Conception for Sax by Lennie Niehaus, on the alto saxophone for his audition. He also had to perform an improvision and a sight-reading portion. 

He lost his nervousness about his audition once he started warming up in a room with the other auditioners. Levesque said, “When I heard other people practicing the same song as me I started to feel more and more confident because I was playing it faster and more accurate.”

He also has a lot of experience with auditioning, attending festivals, and joining ensembles outside of school. In the past, Levesque was a member of the John Philip Sousa National High School Honors Band, the Eastern Connecticut State University Concert Band, and the University of Connecticut’s First Chair Honor Band.

Levesque has been playing the saxophone since fourth grade after being inspired by his father who also played the instrument. 

Levesque now has a passion for the saxophone and loves making music. He said, “What has made me passionate about saxophone is just the experiences I have been given while playing. I have been to many gigs and concerts and just love to perform in front of people.”

Levesque also credits the saxophone to teaching him discipline and accountability. He said, “I’m at the age where my parents don’t tell me to practice anymore, but I have to hold myself accountable for practicing every day.”

In Windsor High School Levesque participates in multiple music programs. He is in the symphonic band, jazz band, and the new music theory class.

Mrs. Bernardo, the band teacher, believes Levesque is a skilled saxophonist who continues to improve every day. Bernardo says, “He is very quick to adapt. He can play a lot of different music. He can play classical music and jazz. He notices the little details in music like articulation and phrasing, that not everyone gets at the high school level. Ben can really find the intricacies in music, which is really impressive.”

Along with the alto saxophone, Levesque plays the tenor and baritone saxophone, taught himself acoustic and electric guitar, and takes piano lessons now.

Levesque plans to be a music teacher and major in music education in college. He hopes to attend either The College of Saint Rose, the University of Rhode Island, the University of Connecticut, or the University of Hartford. After the festival in January Levesque will continue pursuing his musical endeavors. 

Benjamin Levesque pictured with saxophone.