Music runs deep in the Saxton family—his mom, Gloria, is a retired concert flutist, and dad, Kevin, a drummer, frequently reminds his kids that his college band was, “this close to making it.” William is the youngest of four creative Saxton kids. In addition to his genetic capacity for rhythm, he’s also discovered a new love—mathematics in music.
How did you get involved in the local high school jazz band as a middle schooler?
My grandfather claims that he was first to point out my skills. He was listening to the radio and I guess I was keeping time with Buddy Rich in a Count Basie song. I was using my fork and spoon, banging on my highchair and he yelled to my dad “Good Lord, Kevin, Billy’s got swing!”
Dr. Hamilton, the high school band director, heard me play at our end-of-the-year spring review. He came up to me after and said he’d never heard a high schooler play like that, much less a middle schooler. He really flipped out when I told him I was a seventh grader.
I thought he was just being nice but when he called my parents that weekend and asked if I could sit in with the high school summer Jazz band, I thought, wow! Mom was worried ‘cuz she saw Whiplash, but Dr. H is cool.