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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

November 24, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Student’s video turns into internet sensation

With a saxophone and a camera, senior Daniel Felix has made himself a mini viral sensation.

The music education student recorded himself playing the saxophone to the pitches of a viral video of a woman being interviewed on the news about a local fire in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The original harmonization that Felix transcribed was done by Publio Delgado, a YouTube contributor popular for his harmonizing of people, animals or objects’ noises that traditionally do not have musical pitches. Felix’s video, posted to Jam of the Week.com’s Facebook page on March 1, has more than 23,000 shares, and the same video posted to his personal Facebook page has about 78,000 views.

Opinion Editor Kayla Dwyer and Assistant Multimedia Editor Luke Harbur spoke with Felix about how he produced the video, his reaction to its popularity and his history with playing the saxophone.

Kayla Dwyer: Where did you get the idea to do something like this?

Dan Felix: It just occurred to me, just like, “Wow, wouldn’t that be really hilarious if I did it during my recital coming up?” My friend showed me it, and I’m like, “No way, that’s gotta happen.” So I made a few arrangements, I learned it, and I put it on Facebook, and it blew up.

KD: How will that work at the recital?

DF: I’m going to have a projection of the original video first to put it in context for some people who might not know the video, and then they’ll know what we’re doing once we start playing to it. I’m going to have a jazz combo, and I’m arranging it for the jazz combo to play it with the video. Eventually, we’re going to make it our own tune, kind of go away from the video, and it’ll be really cool.

KD: Could you describe in detail your process that led to this final product?

DF: For this instance, I learned it by listening to it a bunch of times on loop, just so I had it in my ear. Then I slowed it down, wrote all the pitches down on sheet music paper, and then I just played it a few times, make sure it’s all in my fingers. There’s not much else.

KD: How’d you feel when you saw it got so popular?

DF: I had no idea. Before I posted it, I posted it to this group called “Jam of the Week.” Each week, they do a different tune that you record yourself doing and put it in this group. That week was transcription week. … I decided to do that because I thought it’d be hilarious. Before I did that, I asked my roommates, and two of them said, “You’ll probably get 30 or 40 likes.” I said that’s probably about right. One of my roommates said, “That’s going to go viral.” And then sure enough, within the first five minutes, I got like 300 likes, and it just kept going.

KD: Do you think you’ll do any other videos like this?

DF: I have no idea. People have that expectation … but I don’t know. This is a lot of work. I have a lot of stuff coming up in life. I’m a senior. I have to graduate and get a job. This stuff isn’t my first priority, but maybe, if I have spare time, I’ll do a couple more of these. Maybe I’ll do a Donald Trump one or something. I feel like people would like that.

Luke Harbur: What was the first time you started playing the saxophone?

DF: That was fourth grade, as far back as I can remember. But I didn’t take it seriously. I played more guitar through high school. I still played saxophone in band and took lessons, but I was like in love with the guitar because I had that taste of that rock dream. … And now, it’s like I’m getting that taste on saxophone now.

LH: Now that you’re here at Whalen, do you feel as if you’re able to get more of that feeling through your classical and contemporary training?

DF: Yeah, it helps give you a variety, a more broad musical umbrella, so you have more vocabulary. The more vocabulary you have, the more people can relate to your playing.

Kayla Dwyer can be reached at kdwyer1@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @kayla_dwyer17

Luke Harbur can be reached at lharbur@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @lharbur