11-year-old soul

Gabe Young plays his saxophone at the Rogue Valley Crafters and Growers Market. He mostly plays jazz and blues, but sometimes mixes in Celtic, klezmer, classical and contemporary songs into his sets. If you want to hear him play this summer, you better show up to the market at noon next Tuesday because middle school begins the week after.

Gabe, 11, has been playing the saxophone for eight years. He also plays the oboe and the guitar, but the saxophone is his favorite.

"The guitar is just for fun," Gabe said. "I play the oboe in the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon and the saxophone for the middle school jazz band."

Young played with the middle school jazz band last year while he was in elementary school and plans to play with concert band as well now that he is entering sixth grade.

"I'm really excited for middle school," Gabe said.

Gabe has become one of the regular musicians at the market and also one of the youngest. For four years now he has been playing at the market and has become known at the kid with the saxophone.

"Four years ago, maybe, the market was closer to our house and I was playing the sax then and so whenever the market was happening I would walk up the street and I'd play music," Gabe said. "When the market moved over here I continued to play and I became one of the usual musicians."

Gabe's father, Dave Young, has encouraged his son's playing since he decided he wanted to learn the instrument.

"He got a toy sax for his second birthday and declared 'I'm a saxophonist' and he's kept that persona ever since," Young said.

The Young family is a group of musicians. Dave plays guitar with Gabe at the market and is also in two local bands, Jerry Attric and the Pacemakers and The Bar Fisfits. Gabe's sister, Abby, is 17 years old and was recently the concert master for the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon as well as the feature soloist in the winter concert series. Together, the family group is the Young Trio, playing at weddings, bar mitzvahs and other local events.

"We really just made the music part of our lives," Dave said. "It's a steady diet of music and performing. The kids take to it better and earlier than me."

Earlier this year, saxophonist George Young, who is not a relation of Gabe's, played at the Avalon Bar and Grill in Talent. At the show, a patron who knew of Gabe mentioned to George that Gabe was a saxophonist as well.

"He invited me up on stage with him," Gabe said. "My dad ran home and got my horn and I got to sit in on a set. I think I did well."

Gabe also received the first place award for the youth entry at the Ashland Independent Film Festival along with his classmates for their original music video and song "The Blender Blues."

Gabe said he is looking forward to playing in another band this coming school year and plans to continue taking lessons on the saxophone and oboe.

"I would like to pick up the bassoon," Gabe said. "But that's a ways off. Right now I think I have my hands full."

Gabe and Dave Young perform at the Rogue Valley Crafters and Growers Market

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