MERCED -- Matthew Christiansen, a Hoover Middle School eighth-grader, has been recognized beyond Merced for his musical skills.
The 13-year-old alto saxophone player has been named a member of the state honor band for the California Band Directors Association. He will perform Saturday night at the association's concert at the Saroyan Theater at Fresno's Convention Center.
Matthew said he is excited about the opportunity to perform in Fresno. His favorite kind of music is jazz, and said he enjoys learning what famous saxophone players in history have played.
"As a musician, he is phenomenal," Hoover band director Cynthia Toupin said. "He is one of the best alto sax students I have ever had. He is extremely talented and has a natural ability."
Matthew said he wants to go to college but isn't sure where yet. He may become a music teacher down the road. He said his father, retired Golden Valley High School band director Greg Christiansen, has had an impact on his choices.
Matthew has played saxophone for three years with the Hoover band. He got started in music by playing the piano but doesn't play it at the moment. He plans to join Golden Valley's Cardinal Regime Marching Band in the next school year.
Greg Christiansen said jazz is his son's favorite form of music.
"We're excited to to see him play," Christiansen said. "He's a great kid, and we enjoy hearing him play. It's been a great experience watching him grow."
Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.