To get the full of this effect
of the story behind this wonderful old instrument, you really need to hear it on Donnie's
tape Sacred Sax III - "Wind Beneath My Wings". Donnie tells the story like this:
|I arrived in Cincinnati,
Ohio, late one evening to do a concert. It was about 5:30 p.m. and I needed to buy some
reeds before the performance that night. I found a music store close to my hotel. As I got
to the music store, the owner was just closing up. I said, "Sir, I am in desperate
need of some tenor saxophone reeds. I am giving a concert tonight." The shop owner
looked at me and replied, "I'm sorry sir, but I've already closed up and the
registers are all computerized and have been shut down for the night. But if you go just
around the corner, there is a pawn shop. I'm told that many times musicians are able to
buy the supplies they need there." Needless to say, I was disappointed, but since I
had nothing to lose, I decided to give it a try.
|I arrived at the pawn shop,
and asked the owner if he had any #4 tenor sax reeds and that I needed them for a concert
that evening. He said he thought he had some in the back and went to get them.
|While I was waiting, I was
standing near a glass case and on the case was an ashtray. Upon closer observation, I said
to myself, "That looks like the bell of an old saxello." Saxello's haven't been
made for 100 years. I emptied the ashes and waited for the owner to return.
|When he returned I asked him
if he happened to know where the rest of the instrument was that this old ashtray came
from. He said, "You know, when I bought this building almost 35 years ago, that horn
came with the building." Upon hearing this, I was growing more and more excited.
I asked him if he knew where it might be. He said, "I believe the rest of the
horn might just be up in the attic." I asked him (trying to hide my excitement) if we
might possibly go up there and take a look. He said, "Well, sure, why not?"
|He took me to an antique
elevator -- you know the kind where you can reach out and touch the walls. I said quite a
few prayers going up in that rickety old elevator! Then we finally safely reached
the attic. It was dark and damp and extremely dusty up there. All the windows had
been broken out long ago.
|Well, if you know anything at
all about farm animals, particularly chickens, you know what a chicken yard looks like.
Well, this old attic was full of pigeons. Pigeons, like chickens, are VERY messy birds.
Their excrements were absolutely covering everything in the attic. But I followed the old
man around until he came to a corner of the attic. He said, "The best I can recall,
the last time I remember seeing anything of a horn, it was over in that corner."
|I went over in the dark
corner and much to my dismay I found the pigeons' favorite roost -- the old saxello and
case. I was so disappointed. I could hardly bear the sight. There was this wonderful
old instrument laying there covered - a dung heap. It was nothing but a useless, worthless
piece of junk! It couldn't possibly be repaired to be playable again.
|It was then the Spirit of the
Lord quickened inside of me. He said, "You know, what if that is what I had
said about you! What if I had said, 'That worthless piece of junk will never be of any
|Oh, I knew what He meant. His
Son was sent to this earth so that I would be made clean and pure and useful to Him. He
died that I might live! I said, "Lord, if you'll give me the ability to learn
to play that old saxello, I'll do my best to use it to serve you and give you the
|I was so excited I could
hardly stand it! I wanted to make the shop owner an offer on the old saxello, but if I
offered too much, he would know he had something of value. If I offered too little, then I
thought he might not want to part with his "ashtray". So I said, "Sir, I'll
give you $50.00 for this old piece of junk if you'll also let me have your ashtray that
goes with it." He thought for a minute (it didn't take him long to make up his mind),
and said "Sold!" I scraped off the pigeons' mess as best I could and we
went back downstairs. The shop owner wrapped it up for me and I was on my way (with my
reeds) to my performance that evening.
|I had the saxello repaired by
a wonderful instrument repairman in New York City. Now it plays with the sweetest sound
you've ever heard. Thank you, Lord, for leading me to that old pawn shop in
-- Donnie "Sax" Sanders
If you'd like to hear Donnie tell this
story in his own words, please visit his Order Form page and
see how you can purchase this tape and hear the story yourself. I promise you will NOT be
Donnie "Sax" Sanders
c/o Loud Cry Ministries
P. O. Box 210270
Nashville, TN 37221-0270