What is a saxophone? A question as old as time, yet no one has truly discovered the answer. It is remarked that Socrates was the first to raise The Great Question of saxophoneity.

However, it was Plato who made the first outstanding breakthrough on The Great Question: both everything and nothing is a saxophone! In fact, the essence of saxophoneity is so intangible that it is essentially tangible. Plato was unsure what to make of this breakthrough. Overcome with grief, he died soon after his discovery, discontent never knowing the truth.

With Plato’s death, The Great Question was put to rest… until the 21st century, when the DUMB Saxophones dared ponder its vast mystery once more. After years of blood, sweat, and tears, the DUMB Saxes discovered the answer…


Despite contested origins, the idea that everything is indeed a saxophone is a mindset that is of profound importance to our section. Whether you have been playing saxophone for 10 years and marched in state or national competitions or have never marched or played the saxophone before, there is not only room for you but an exciting family of fellow saxes eagerly waiting to meet you. We’ve had bassoonists transitioned to saxes, we’ve had saxes learn the instrument during band camp. You don’t even need to own a saxophone yourself. We have free saxes available for you to use. 

(Left: Saxes celebrate at the end of Band Camp BBQ/ Right: Saxes decked out in red for Section Wars)

When we say everything and everyone is a saxophone, we’re not kidding.  

The love and unity within the saxophone section is not limited to our reverence of the most holy of instruments or our fancy footwork. The saxes have a reputation and a long held tradition of being some of the most passionate people in the band full stop. Passion for Duke Sports of course (we can be seen cheering loudly and dancing wildly at virtually every band function), and for DUMB itself (we’ll let us winning the Gross Cup, the prize of our section wars challenge, 4 of the last 5 years speak for itself), but also passion for each other. 

(Top: Even under intense heat the saxes dance and play our hearts out/ Bottom Left: Saxes celebrate winning the Gross Cup… again/ Bottom Right: Saxes brave the elements and even other instruments to play at a Duke Men’s Soccer game – soccer gigs are rare but always a highlight!)

The saxophone section is a family and we truly mean that. Regularly having Sax dinners together, sax study hours, going bowling, visiting the NC State Fair, supporting each other at concerts, presentations, or other endeavors, are just some of the many ways that the sax section goes beyond the band to form an incredibly close knit community. There is never any pressure to go to anything or everything, but if you are looking for ways to find community outside of official band events, we are never in short supply. We even have former saxes who are in the area that join us from time to time. 

(Top Left: Saxes and Sax alumni stop in to support fellow Saxes on their Chemistry senior research presentations/ Top Right: Saxes take advantage of local bowling college night discount/ Bottom: Saxes enjoy a night at the NC State Fair)



We hope that you’ll consider embracing your calling as a rightful saxophone like all things are. If you have any reservations, don’t listen to them, just go for it. That goes for anyone at Duke, incoming freshman to senior. If you have any questions, want to learn more, or just want to talk to us about being a sax our  2023-2024 section leaders are always willing to discuss with you:

Danny Badia:

Xiongxiong Pei:

More Sax Goodness 

A Fierce Fleet of Saxes intimidating enemy tailgaters and rallying the fans outside Wallace Wade Stadium during our traditional Devil Walk

Left: Saxes pose for a family photo at DUMBsgiving/ Right: Saxes dressed all dapper for Night at the Nasher during O-Week

Saxes painted up before the UNC home game, preparing to send Carolina to Hell

The Sax section are the best dancers in the band and all of Cameron Indoor is there to see it

Saxes in Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta for the season kickoff against ‘Bama




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