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Posted: November 18, 2017

Louisiana veteran entertains motorists with saxophone

Saxophone player.
Heritage Images/Getty Images
Saxophone player.

By Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

MONROE, La. —

A Vietnam War veteran has become a fixture for music lovers in his Louisiana town.

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Donald Givens plays saxophone for several hours daily in his gazebo at his Monroe residence. His yard is located near the corner of two overpasses and commuters can listen to his daily jam sessions, the News-Star reported.

Strangers pull up to his home and ask Givens to play, sometimes handing the 67-year-old money for music requests. Some residents in Monroe simply refer to him as the saxophone man.

"I don't feel famous,” he told the News-Star.

He may not be as famous as another Monroe native -- jazz tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson -- but Givens loves to create music.

Roll down your window and you won't mind being stuck in traffic if Donald Givens is nearby.

Posted by The News-Star on Friday, November 17, 2017

In addition to the saxophone, he can also play the piano and guitar. Givens became entranced with the saxophone after hearing it during a church service, the News-Star reported.

At the same time, he started learning guitar.

"Once you know how to read music, I think you've got well over half of the battle won because you can recognize the notes to any instrument,” Givens told the News-Star. “I just needed to know where B or C was on the saxophone. I could recognize it on the sheet music.”

He started trying to copy Kenny G and other well-known saxophonists.

“When I first started, I would play inside the house. When I got pretty decent I went out to the driveway, and when I thought I was pretty good, I went out to the gazebo,” he said.

His favorite pieces to play include "Jesus, You're the Center of My Joy," " You Are So Beautiful," "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone," and "Memory."

Givens said he can play four to five hours without getting winded now, and he loves to keep practicing because there is no end goal with music.

“You can never master it,” he said. “It's unending.”


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