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Fred Hemke, April 17, 2019


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member


Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
My memory of Fred Hemke goes back to 1959 when I was in 7th grade and my teacher took me to the Gunnison Summer Music Camp. I signed up and took a lesson from Mr. Hemke. I was his last student that day and he sat on a desk wearing hip waders to go fly fishing afterward and was smoking a pipe. All I remember from the lesson is he told me to trap "golf balls" of air in my upper cheeks when I played and to get a Selmer saxophone to replace the Sears "Silvertone" I was playing.

When I got home back to Wyoming I told my mom I needed a Selmer Mark VI, and I found a collection of solos which came with a recording of Fred Hemke playing the songs. I listened to the record and played along on my new saxophone for the next few years till I could sound just like him (to my ears). That set me on a course of playing the saxophone through high school and college and embarking on a career in music education. I will forever be grateful for the kind words and inspiration Fred Hemke gave to me that day.
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