Sunday, February 19, 2012

One-of-a-Kind, One-Handed Saxophone


My former student Daniel Stover suffered a stroke in 2008, losing movement in his left arm together with the ability to play his clarinet and saxophone.

Thanks to University of Nebraska at Kearneys's One-Handed Woodwinds Program, Daniel can now return to playing and teaching music. Daniel recently traveled to Kearney, Nebraska to pick up his one-of-a-kind, one-handed saxophone.

Pictured is Daniel Stover with his Selmer Mark VI saxophone recently converted to a right handed toggle mechanism by Jeff Stelling of Kearney, Nebraska. Photo by April Dawn Refior. Engraving by Jason Dumars.

David Nabb, founder of the One-Handed Woodwinds Program, is Professor of Music at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Since surviving a stroke in 2000, Nabb has worked with woodwind craftsman Jeff Stelling to develop a saxophone that can be played with the right hand only. Their combined efforts garnered a Kennedy Center VSA (Very Special Arts) award last year.

Stelling comments on his efforts: " …although I can't know exactly what these people have gone through with disabilities, I can just imagine getting my life back, being able to do what was my passion in life again. And so it's really great to give them an opportunity to have that back."

The following video is a television interview after Daniel received his converted saxophone.

For close-ups of the one-handed mechanism in action, check out this performance video: David Nabb (saxophone) and Nathan Buckner (piano) play Diversion by Bernhard Heiden with this one-handed Yamaha Custom saxophone adapted by Stelling Brass & Winds.

Kudos to all involved for their ingenuity, resilience, and perseverance. I am looking forward to hearing Daniel on his prized new instrument when I am in Texas in March!


Thursday, February 16, 2012