DERRY — He learned to work the saxophone and is taking on the nation as a result.
For Adam Claussen, 17, playing smooth jazz sounds on his alto saxophone is something that keeps him grounded and makes him smile.
“It’s my favorite thing to do,” he said, wearing a shirt sporting a jazz emblem.
His talents on the brass woodwind instrument also earned him a top gig as part of the All-National Honors Ensemble later this month in Nashville, Tenn., hosted by the National Association for Music Education.
Claussen, a junior, said it’s a great honor to be chosen.
He took it upon himself to research online and found the opportunity to apply to be part of the Honors Ensemble. He applied, had to send in a video of himself playing the saxophone and also had to secure teacher recommendations.
Music has been part of his life for a long time. His parents, Karen and Marty, are both musicians. His mother plays flute and his father, a percussionist, is also the band director at Salem High School.
In fact, the couple met at an all-state musical festival in Ohio.
Adam took up the alto saxophone while attending South Range Elementary School. The instrument became his musical partner from the fifth grade on.
Pinkerton music teachers knew of Claussen’s talents even before he stepped on the high school campus.
“We were aware of Adam and the hard work he was doing on his saxophone back when he was as a student at West Running Brook Middle School and very much looked forward to having him in the Pinkerton music program,” Pinkerton band director Mike Adams said. “Once he arrived, he had an immediate impact on the ensembles as he raised the level of musicianship of everyone around him.”