Derek Brown the beatboxing saxophonist

Adam Lundeen, News Writer

The beatboxing saxophonist, Derek Brown, performed in Ley Theater on Sept. 16.

Brown played for an hour and a half, with music ranging from classical to songs he wrote himself. All of the music had his unique twist on it.

“My style of playing is unorthodox, which makes it more entertaining for audiences because they don’t usually get to hear that kind of sound,” Brown said.

The theater was almost completely full of students, faculty, and locals. The audience was full of energy and thoroughly entertained by him.

The beginning of the show set the tone for the rest of it in a very odd way. He walked on stage beatboxing and tapping the saxophone case rhythmically. Even as he put the instrument together, he continued to keep the beat until he finally finished. He said that he had never done that in front of an audience before.

As well as playing his instrument, he also told jokes and stories in between songs.

Another one of his odd performances was his singing saxophone bit. He managed to both sing a song and play his sax in accompaniment.

He sometimes included the audience by having them clap or even hum a series of notes for him to improvise with.

He didn’t stay on the stage the entire time like a typical musical performance. Brown walked out into the audience while playing, giving a much more immersive experience. He also took a few minutes to sit on the edge of the stage in order to rest his mouth.

Throughout the whole thing, there were three water bottles that he said jokingly were a good sign of how much longer the show was going to be.

He talked about how he got into music and how important his father was to it. For one of his songs, he did a saxophone/vocal duet with a recording of his dad singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” inside the bell of his sax.

The show ended with a cover of the song “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King. He invited the audience to sing along with the chorus as he played.

Brown said it was his first campus performance in 18 months, and how nice it was to finally get to do in-person events again. Due to COVID-19, he was forced to stop doing tours.

He was the first performance of the Black and Gold Performing Arts Series at Wayne State College this year. Yasuko Taoka, Dean of Arts and Humanities, said that other performers will be coming throughout the year.

The performances in the past have ranged from musicians like Brown to theatrical plays, acrobats, and comedy troops. These shows are free and open to the public, and everyone is invited and encouraged to go and watch them.