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Southern Oregon University

SSO in Red The Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra (SSO) is comprised of students; both music majors and non-music majors; faculty, staff and administrators at Southern Oregon University. The SSO strives to perform, at the highest artistic level, the repertoire of the large saxophone ensemble. The SSO studies, arranges, composes and commissions music of all styles and musical periods. The SSO led by Artistic Director Dr. Rhett Bender, exploits the unique voices of the entire saxophone family: bass, baritone, tenor, alto, soprano and sopranino. SSO performances showcase styles from classical music, opera highlights, American big band hits, world-music, as well as original pieces written for the SSO. In October 2007 the SSO traveled to China where they performed to mobs of admiring music fans. As the guests of Mercury Saxophones, the SSO performed at the China Music Trade Show in Shanghai and at the northern seaside resort city of Yantai. The SSO have performed live on the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Greenshow and KTVL Channel 10 Morning News. They were recently honored by being selected for a performance at the XVth World Saxophone Congress in Bangkok, Thailand.

Rhett Bender D.Mus.A., is a Professor of Music at Southern Oregon University. Additionally, he is the Region 1 Director of the Saxophone Alliance and has performed and at World Saxophone Congresses, presented master-classes throughout the United States, Europe, Mexico, and performed and taught many times at the Sichuan Conservatory of Classical Music in Chengdu, China. He is one of the featured saxophonists on AUR’s landmark seven volume CD set, America’s Millennium Tribute to Adolphe Sax – nominated for a Grammy in 2000. Rhett Bender is a Yamaha performing artist and clinician.

Click below to listen to mp3 audio

Queen of Sheba

In the Mood

Gesangla threnody for Sichuan Earthquake

Audiences leaving a recent concert proclaimed:

I cannot believe how beautiful saxophones sound–what a sonority!

It was wonderful. I really enjoyed myself.

This is an amazing group... Thank YOU Rhett! I took my Mom and two of her friends and they are STILL talking about how great the SSO is. All three of them were in tears at some point during the concert. Can't wait till Feb ... 

Saxophone symphony on Friday was AMAZING - can't wait for their next one

They were great. It's amazing that saxophones can have such power. I didn't want it to end.

SSO China

It was another great event offered by the music department. –The Siskiyou 

I play the saxophone and they were impressive.

That's the first concert I didn't fall asleep during! -Anonymous 10 year old    

Saxophone playing SOU students interested in joining this ensemble may contact Rhett Bender for audition information.

To see more video of the Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra go to