Savage Bean to host fundraiser for Cassopolis student performing at Carnegie Hall

Published 1:56 pm Wednesday, November 1, 2023

CASSOPOLIS — Seth Kalina has long had an ear for music.

According to his mother, Tara, when Kalina was younger, he would often go on stage during one of his father Bill’s band performances.

“He would pretend to play the guitar, sing or just dance in front of this thing. He was just always meant to be in the spotlight, I think,” she said.

Kalina, now a senior tenor saxophone player at Ross Beatty High School, has been selected as one of 500 young musicians from around the world to perform at the legendary Carnegie Hall in the 2024 Honors Performance Series Feb. 7-11, 2024. Savage Bean Coffee Co., 114 S. Broadway, Cassopolis, is hosting a fundraiser for Kalina at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17. Tickets cost $40 and include two shows – local musician Rick Drews from 6 to 7 p.m. and Terry and The Heartbeats from 7 to 10 p.m. 

100 percent of ticket sales will go toward flights and accommodations.

“I’m very, very thankful that this is all coming together to help me get to New York,” he said. “I’m just very thankful that everybody, especially (Kim and Alicia Savage) are coming together and trying to help me get there. It just means a lot.”

The Honors Performance Series was established to showcase the most talented young musicians today on some of the world’s greatest stages.

In order to be considered for the Honors Performance Series, Kalina submitted an audition recording, brief performing biography, and contact information for a teacher reference. 

“It took a little bit to get an answer,” Tara said. “Is he gonna get in or not? It was a little nerve-wracking.”

Kalina has been playing the tenor saxophone since the fifth grade. When it came time to choose an instrument in fifth grade, Kalina originally was set on playing the trumpet. But fate had other plans.

“My dad had a bunch of saxophones that were donated to us,” he said. “He said ‘why would you go out of your way to buy a trumpet when we have saxophones laying around the house right here?’”

While young saxophone players typically learn the alto saxophone to start with, because of the lack of working alto saxophones at the time, Kalina was able to start playing the tenor saxophone from the outset. His skills have led to several awards with the high school band as well as opportunities to perform live at shows. Kalina has performed with bands including Barry Clark and the Heavy Load, Terry and The Heartbeats, SMC Jazz Combo and the SMC Jazz Ensemble. He has also played with the St. Joseph Municipal Band and Memphis Underground.

For Kim Savage, offering a space to support community members is what Savage Bean Coffee Co. is all about.

“We want to help get Seth to where he needs to go,” Kim said. “It’s a blessing for us to be able to have a space where people feel comfortable and want to come and hang out. He’s put in all the hard work and so he deserves to get there. His mom and dad have put in the work getting him from place to place and his dad’s a remarkable player, too. It’s just a win-win for all of us.”