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Arts & Culture

Holiday Saxophones Still Blowing After 30 Years

Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center

It’s one of San Antonio’s oddest, and really, most interesting holiday traditions--as many as twenty saxophonists on stage at the Guadalupe Theater, blowing away on a Christmas carol.

The number of saxophonists varies a bit from year to hear, but as to how many players will show up this year Holiday Saxophones founder and legendary local bassist George Prado says “Maybe twenty-five or more saxophonists, and they will play with a rhythm section.”  

There’s a smaller preview event this Sunday at 2 p.m. at UTSA’s downtown campus, but the big event is at 8 that night at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Theater.

"It goes for about three hours," Prado says, "but sometimes when you get twenty or more saxophonists all playing on the stage at the same time, it’s hard to stop.”

The tradition had an odd beginning: playing a club on a cold and rainy December 26th, Prado called some musician friends, asking them to come, just to be sure he’d have an audience.

“And I realized after some calls that I’d only called saxophone players.”

Thus was born a tradition. Prado’s well-known piano-playing son Aaron will be there, as will Stan Killian, Rene Sandoval, Larry Slezak, John Sheridan, John Magaldi, and Henry Brun.

"I see it as a gift to the city from all the musicians," Prado says.

No need to wait ‘til December 25th to open this one; it happens this Sunday.