Western alumnus takes aim at Olympics

DANBURY, CONN. — A 2006 Western Connecticut State University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in jazz studies, tenor saxophone player Martin Sather has accomplished many of the goals he had set for himself as a young musician in Fairbanks, Alaska. Among them: being recognized in 2007 with an honorable mention for Outstanding Soloist in Jazz by the Downbeat Magazine Student Music Awards.

He followed that success with a master’s degree in jazz studies and a two-year stint as a musician on cruise ships, including the QE2. Now a regular performer in some of the most exclusive clubs in Manhattan, Sather has set his sights on another goal: representing the United States at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

This month, Sather will compete for the opportunity to be a member of the U.S. Curling Team at the U.S. Olympic trials in Fargo, N.D. He’s been curling for about as long as he’s been playing saxophone: Sather won the 2002 U.S. junior national curling championship and took eighth place in the world competition that year, but set aside his Olympic dreams to concentrate on his music studies.

Now at age 30, Sather has found a way to combine his passions — as unlikely as that may seem. In Fargo, he will play the National Anthem, and then take to the ice to sweep for Team McCormick, the 2012 national champions. If his team finishes first in Fargo, it will compete at an Olympic qualification event in December against seven countries for the final two berths to Sochi.

How did a world-class musician and Olympic hopeful end up at Western?

“When I was growing up and started playing saxophone, I went to a monthlong music camp in Fairbanks,” Sather said. “Dr. Dan Goble taught there, and I would see him almost every summer since I was 12. He was a great teacher and a good person to learn from because of both his ability to play and his ability to teach. He’s a very valuable educator in the national teaching community. Out of any place in the country I could have studied, I wanted to come to Western to study with Dan Goble.”

To learn more about Sather’s path to the Olympics as written about in USA Today, click here.

To learn more about studying music at Western, follow these links:




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