Fred Hemke RIP


Well-Known Member
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA

My memory of Fred Hemke goes back to 1959 when I was in 7th grade and my teacher accompanied me to the Gunnison Summer Music Camp. I signed up and took a lesson from Mr. Hemke. I was his last student that day and he sat on a desk wearing hip waders to go fly fishing afterward and was smoking a pipe. All I remember from the lesson is he told me to trap "golf balls" of air in my upper cheeks when I played and to get a Selmer saxophone to replace the Sears "Silvertone" I was playing.

When I got home back to Wyoming I told my mom I needed a Selmer Mark VI, and I found a collection of solos which came with a recording of Fred Hemke playing the songs. I listened to the record and played along on my new saxophone for the next few years till I could sound just like him (to my ears). That set me on a course of playing the saxophone through high school and college and embarking on a career in music education. I will forever be grateful for the kind words and inspiration Fred Hemke gave to me that day.

Greg Strange

Well-Known Member
I was playing a Hemke reed the other day too - I think Dave Sanborn was a student of Fred Hemke when Sanborn was a student at North Western University...and I think Fred was one of the consultants that helped design the Selmer Mark VII series of saxophones...RIP Fred... :verysad

Greg S.

David Roach

Senior Member
A great player and a real icon. He taught my professional acquaintance Kyle Horch who is one of the very best teachers and players of the classical sax in the UK.
I've know Kyle for years but he surprised me on a gig a few years ago by playing absolutely beautiful lead alto too. Kyle also has the rare ability to make classical tenor sax sound good. I guess we should thank Hemke for inspiring many players in this way.
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