Saxy Valentine’s Day returns

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With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, flowers and chocolates are flooding the shelves everywhere. However, for some musically inclined Marquette students from different band ensembles, the holiday week marks Saxy Valentine’s Day, a day when several of them play their saxophones on the second floor of the Alumni Memorial Union. Those students will play Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. for just under an hour.

For Michael Mastalish, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, this is an event he looks forward to every year.

“It’s a fun little opportunity to play in a small ensemble that you don’t really get with other ensembles at Marquette,” Mastalish said.

Though Mastalish is unaware of when the origins of the tradition started, he is partaking in his fourth year. In other band ensembles at Marquette he plays clarinet, but for this event and jazz band, Mastalish switches to the saxophone.

Ryan Solveson, a first-year in the College of Engingeering, said a friend of his in band brought the event to his attention. He thought it sounded fun, so he decided to join.

He said he already knows he wants to continue with the tradition going forward, especially because of the opportunity to play songs such as “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley and “For the Longest Time” by Billy Joel.

For Solveson, this is an important event because he thinks a lot of our lives revolve around music.

“(They are) classics that everyone has heard at some point, and hearing them around Valentine’s Day can help them relate to the music and enjoy,” Solveson said.

Greta Olson, a junior in the College of Health Sciences, said she also thinks the event has a special meaning, but not just because it’s near Valentine’s Day.

“I don’t know if it’s necessarily the holiday (but) more so the tradition,” Olson said. “It’s the sense of family that you get from it.”

Olson said that it’s a good way to blow off some steam considering the students are in band day in and day out.

Olson added that the name Saxy Valentine’s Day came from the idea that the saxophone is supposed to be a “sexy” instrument.

Olson is one of the event organizers and she also started her first year when some of the upperclassmen encouraged her. Along with Olson finding a family-like connection within the band community, she said she thinks the live music aspect is essential.

Olson took a seminar last semester called “Depth of Meaning” that explored the idea of meaning in all aspects of life. One of the lectures was on music. A music professional came in to talk about the integration of music into life. What stuck with Olson was the point the professor made about live music.

For Olson, the Saxy Valentine’s Day event is special because she gets to be a part of playing live music for others.

“When’s the last time you ever listened to live music?” Olson said. “There’s something special about (it).”

This story was written by Ariana Madson. She can be reached at ariana.madson@marquette.edu.