Beloved Husband and Father
September 11th, 1941 - August 16th, 2023
Survived by his wife, Jeanne; his daughter, Heather; his sons, Courtney, Forrest, and Chad.
SERVICES Friday, September 8th ' 4:00 pm ' Sandia Baptist Church: 9429 Constitution NE, 87112
Opera singer, conductor, workshop leader, teacher/vocal coach, and beloved husband and father, Wayne Saxon, left this world too soon. His family and loved ones held him as he peacefully passed from this world into eternity to see Jesus face to face. We may find comfort in knowing that Wayne will live on through his words, music, and wisdom. You are what you love. Wayne loved music, football, and people. He inspired and changed others' lives in countless ways, and across his lifetime.
Wayne was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Cecile and Buford Saxon on September 11, 1941. His love for music started at age 4 when he began to take piano lessons. His love continued to grow until Wayne and music became indistinguishable throughout his lifetime. The combination of high intelligence, fierce passion, and an unwavering commitment to his craft, formed the foundation for his first church-choir Director position at the age of 16. At the same time, during the hot and humid Louisiana summers, Wayne also worked long, hard days on the levee with his father. This experience solidified what he already knew: following his passion was not an option and music was his future.
Wayne earned his B.M. and M.M. in vocal music from Louisiana State University, while receiving additional formal training and attending Florida State University. Wayne sang with the Louisianians and many other college choirs; developed and served as Chair of a collegiate Department of Music at Copiah-Lincoln College, Natchez, MS, and served as professor there for 5 years. He was honored and recognized in "Who's Who Among American Singers". Wayne's vocal and musical accomplishments are so extensive, they're impossible to fully list. However, highlights of Wayne's career include training with Dr. Hermann Reutter of the Stuttgart Conservatory of Music in Germany, as well as decades with world-renowned vocal coach, accompanist, lecturer, and opera authority, Natalie Limonick. Wayne has appeared as a guest artist with numerous opera companies and orchestras across the US and abroad.
On the evening of March 24, l985, Wayne said he "met Jesus. Personally. He saved my soul, and healed my physical body." His favorite verse became Psalm 96:1, Sing Unto the Lord a New Song.
He also sang in many Christian venues, such as the SoCal State Baptist Convention.
Wayne and Jeanne met and fell in love and were wed in Phoenix, AZ. In 1986 they moved from Phoenix to San Diego, CA, where his two youngest children were born, whom he dearly loved. Where he founded the chorale, Jubilation!, which performed for several years; and where he also served as Minister of Music at First Baptist Church of Clairmont. In 1992 the family relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he founded the chorale, Celebration!. Celebration! debuted their first concert in the Spring of 1994. And a few years later founded Sounds of Joy, a home-school choir. Wayne continued as teacher and director of Celebration! until his dying day. Music was Wayne's first love and he had a passion to bring his spiritual and musical experience together, striving always to offer the church and community an opportunity to raise itself to a higher standard of music. Concerts were always free, so everyone could attend.
Music was Wayne's first love, but football was a close second: high school, collegiate, professional. All of it. On any given night, you could find Wayne "decompressing" through watching a pre-recorded football game while screaming at the TV. He was commonly heard yelling for one player to tackle one another and "go for blood", among many more colorful Wayne-isms like - "chicken for dinner" was a touchdown. He loved his teams (LSU, the Dallas Cowboys and La Cueva High, where his children attended) and he was loyal! He and Jeanne, hosted huge Superbowl parties and many other get-togethers for years. This was the foundation for many people to form close-knit bonds, and make these human connections that was his passion for people and will last long after his passing.
Wayne had a unique way of bringing people together, through football and music, using football truths as musical truths also. He embodied a rare quality: you know exactly what you're getting with Wayne. If he thought or felt something, everyone was going to know. There was no confusion, no guessing, no sugarcoating. He would tell you straight. He was fierce. He was difficult. He demanded grit, focus, and excellence. He loved mistakes. Because each mistake means you are one step closer to excellence. And all these qualities of Wayne came from the same place: passion. He worked, played and loved with passion. His passion was magnetic. If you were ever lucky enough to watch Celebration! Chorale perform The Majesty & Glory of Your Name - arr. Fettke under Wayne's direction, then you know Wayne: passion begets excellence.
Wayne passed on the sunny evening of August 16th, 2023, and the world lost a piece of musical tapestry and was cheated having lost this brilliant soul too soon. He had so much wisdom to impart. He will be remembered for conducting so smoothly it sometimes looked like he was dancing; big bursting laughter he wouldn't dare hold back; intense passion that led him to enormous success in his musical calling. Wayne lived an extraordinary, influential, adventurous, prodigious life. He was the epitome of the phrase "larger than life" and impossible to forget. Every single person Wayne influenced will remember him in their own ways, moments, and in their own unique experience with the man who changed them. Wayne inspired and changed hundreds, if not thousands, of lives, up through his last moments.
Wayne didn't just do music...He WAS music. From birth to death - music incarnate.