May 22, 2014 in Washington Voices

Liberty student loves music, learning

Steve Christilaw
Colin Mulvany photoBuy this photo

Music plays a major part in Liberty High School senior Gabe Saywers’ life. He plays trumpet, drums and guitar, and hopes to at least join a musical ensemble when he attends Western Washington University in the fall.
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For a list of Liberty High School students scheduled to graduate, as well as commencement details, see Page 17.

Life is music to Gabe Saywers’ ears.

The Liberty High senior’s love affair with music began as a fourth-grader with the trumpet.

By the seventh grade, he says, a little musical wanderlust settled in and he wanted to branch out.

“I wanted to learn more, so I got myself a used guitar and signed up for lessons,” he said. “After that it was the bass guitar and then it was drums – anything percussion.

“My taste in music is pretty diverse and I enjoy a wide range of different styles.”

When Saywers got to Liberty High School, he joined the school’s zero-hour jazz band, which opened up a whole new area of musical interests.

“I really came to love the music of Stan Getz – I love that bossa nova style of jazz and really love playing drums to that bossa nova beat,” he said. “And as a trumpet player, I really got interested in Miles Davis.”

As a senior, he said, the school’s jazz band became a bit more like a jazz ensemble, with a couple trumpets, a piano player and the instructor playing bass.

“I will double over and play drums on some pieces,” Saywers said. “It works. We’re able to do quite a bit, actually.

“The pep band still has quite a few musicians in it. We have probably 30 musicians, but we only play during football and basketball seasons.”

But school bands haven’t been enough to satisfy Saywers’ need to explore musically.

Saywers started several bands, some as a drummer, some as a guitar player. He describes them as post-rock. Several of his bands have played in and around Spokane over the past few years.

“It’s been a lot of fun to get out and play in front of people and see their reaction to what we play,” he said.

Saywers follows a definite musical philosophy.

“What works for me is to just keep listening to as much music as I can and letting what interests me guide me to learn more and more,” he said. “I haven’t planned out what I want to study, per se. I’ll figure that out as I go along.”

Saywers said he plans to attend Western Washington University in the fall, and he plans to make music an informal part of his college experience.

“I’m planning to at least join an ensemble when I get there,” he said. “I’m thinking a jazz ensemble would be fun.”

It’s part of a master plan, he insists.

“I would love to keep playing music for the rest of my life,” he said. “But the sad truth is that I may not be able to. You never know. Making a living playing music is going to be a challenge and making a living and then playing music can be tough.”

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