GR sax player performs, raises money for historic theaters

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids musician is working to raise awareness and financial support for a struggling industry. 

Derek Brown, a professional saxophone player, said it started as a way to find new inspiration and get to know his own city better. But it’s turned into much more. 

“Lately and especially during the pandemic, so many of us musicians are trying to do different things. We’re just trying to keep the spirit alive,” Brown said. 

He began livestreaming improvised “musical tours” through some of the city’s historic theaters. He walks through them while playing his sax. The goal is not only to give people a behind-the-scenes look at the entire building, but also to raise money to go directly to the buildings themselves. 

Brown streams the performances through his “Beatbox Sax” YouTube channel. His first tour was at St. Cecilia’s Music Center on April 14. He’ll play through Wealthy Theater on April 28, and Hermitage-at-Diamond on May 13.

Other venues have also showed interest in taking part in the project. 

“I’m just trying to just figuratively and literally open the doors a little bit to these theaters to show people the amazing things they have in their city,” Brown said. 

Past performances and donation information can be found on Brown’s website

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