Late last spring, Stan Killian's instrument was stolen when he dozed off as he rode the subway home after a late-night gig playing in New York City's Greenwich Village. He hasn't been able to sleep soundly since.
For a professional jazz saxophone player, composer, band leader and sideman, the single most important tool in the world is his instrument. For 17 years, Killian played, cared for and loved his 1966 Selmer Mark VI tenor sax, serial number 136619. Holding it in his arms, pressing it against his body, running his fingers over it and putting his mouth, lips and tongue on it for hours at a time each day meant it literally became an extension of himself. Asked if he would recognize it if he ever saw it again, Killian replied, "Are you kidding? It's like missing a body part. I would instantly know it." In fact, he still finds it hard to face each day without it. But as time passes, it has become more and more clear that trying to find his missing "body part" is like trying to find a needle in a haystack, as the saxophone could be anywhere in the world. Killian has become more and more frustrated playing gigs with the inferior responsiveness and sound quality of his replacement student saxophone (the brand of which we will not cruelly mention here), especially as he soon will be recording a fifth album.
And so Killian has had to resign himself to the fact that he must make an investment in a new vintage saxophone - this time, one that will be insured and guarded with his life. The problem? Quality saxophones cost upwards of $10,000. Between tips, gigs, and teaching, even the best professional jazz musicians in New York City may only make a couple thousand dollars a month, but the average monthly rent in New York is $3,432. The high cost of living is the price they pay for the privilege of thriving in the best city in the world for the craft of jazz. Without additional funding, setting aside money from food, rent and bills to cover such a big-ticket item is close to impossible.
It is this reality that encouraged Stan Killian to launch a GoFundMe account today to appeal to music lovers everywhere to help him replace his stolen saxophone. As one musician, who now conducts the Glee Club at an Ivy League university, tautologically stated: "If nobody gave money to professional musicians, there would be no professional musicians." Killian requests that patrons recognize that without his favorite tool, he feels impotent; that a good sax is essential to his happiness and well-being; and that he can't do it without our help. You can find his GoFundMe at https://www.gofundme.com/f/please-help-me-replace-my-stolen-sax . Additional funds beyond the cost of a new vintage saxophone, case, and insurance will be used to start Stan Killian's IRA.