The following story was featured in the September 12, 2018 print issue of The Chestnut Hill Local.
When Brian Adamczyk is not busy accompanying John Legend, Idina Menzel, or Josh Groban in concert on one of fourteen instruments he masterfully plays, he's teaching music lessons at Germantown Friends School (GFS).
As both a teacher and a performer, Adamczyk offers unique insights into the challenges of performing and the discipline required for the music business. And he is excited to share his summer performances with his students this fall: Adamczyk played on stage with violinist Lindsey Stirling and the band Evanescence in Camden, New Jersey, and accompanied Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey of The Who in two shows highlighting songs from the musical "Tommy" in upstate New York.
Trained on the saxophone, clarinet, flute, ethnic flutes, oboe, and others, his nimble talents make him particularly appealing to traveling shows, which often require accompanists that can play more than one instrument.
"Sometimes, in the pit of a show, I sit with two or three instruments. As the songs change, I quickly put one down and immediately pick up another to fill the needs of each song," says Adamczyk.
Adamczyk started playing the saxophone in the fourth grade and continued to learn new instruments his whole life, even as an adult. He developed an interest in jazz in high school and went on to study Saxophone Jazz Performance and Musical Education at the University of the Arts.
A father of two small children, one of Adamczyk's favorite parts of his work is helping young students explore different instruments and discover the joy of music. In the Lower School at GFS, he brings a dozen instruments into the classroom and offers demos, allowing students to hear the sounds, feel the keys, and learn about orchestra and jazz ensembles. "I love performing and teaching, and bringing the two together to help students gain the skills and confidence to share their talents."
Nina Patel, an eighth grader at GFS, has been taking saxophone lessons with Adamczyk since fourth grade. "Having Brian as a teacher is super inspiring," she says. "He has not only helped me become a better sax player and improviser, but he has also given me the courage to stand up and take solos on stage. One year ago, even the thought of improvising a solo was terrifying to me, but now I am totally comfortable with it."
Where can you see Adamczyk perform? He is playing alto sax, clarinet, and flute for the show Holiday Inn at the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia until October 21, 2018.
Photo credit: Scott Foley.