BIG OPEN – by Tina Richerson
Tina Richerson, M.M. is an internationally touring musician, freelance saxophonist, composer, woodwind clinician, and has over 25 years experience teaching private lessons.
As a saxophonist, educator, composer and author, Tina’s life aspiration is to connect, share, and create. “It is in the moment of connecting with and helping others that we can become our truest and best self.” Teaching and playing music is her path to connecting to others, sharing knowledge and inspiring creativity through music.
Tina’s first love was music. At the age of 11 she began playing saxophone in the school band. Growing up in a faithful Mormon home she was supported in music but at age 13 when she realized she was Gay, it was the most horrifying moment of her life. (Because how can you be Gay and be Mormon?) Music, was the glue that kept her from falling apart.
In high school she had the opportunity to study privately with saxophone instructor Dr. Robert Miller from the University of Idaho. Her saxophone lessons where held 200 mile’s from her home town of Wenatchee, Washington. To make the commute she rebuilt a car engine and drive 400 miles round trip every other Saturday for two years.
Tina attended the University of Idaho where she received her Baccalaureate of Music in Saxophone performance. While in College, she came out as Lesbian and renounced the church and began the path of navigating her spirituality and sexual orientation, a very hard and messy, unclear path full of confusion and hurt. (Not a fun journey, she doesn’t recommend it.)
While attending the Univeristy of Washington to earn her Master of Music in Saxophone Performance she returned to the church, attempted to pray the gay away and become straight. This failed horribly so she left the University to work in the oil fields of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska and get away from her problems to practice her saxophone. After 8 months working on the north slope of Alaska, she returned to Seattle, completed her Masters Degree, gave up on making herself straight, found her soul mate and left the church again. Her music flourished as she co-lead the jazz quintet ‘Hard Bop or Naught’ with trumpeter Erik Esvelt, held a weekly residency at Serafina, was a member of the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra and worked as a freelance musician and private music instructor.
In 2004 she joined the Tiptons Sax Quartet & Drums with Amy Denio, Jessica Lurie and Sue Orfield. in 2006 she moved to New York City with her wife to live and work as a freelance musician and band leader. A good move for Tina’s career, but her love of music and living in New York city ultimately killed her relationship. While living in New York she studied with George Garzone and Ronnie Cuber and performed with artist such as Kenny Wollesen, Pam Fleming, Viva DeConcini, Eva Novoa, Michael Bates and Rob Garcia and lead her own self titled trio with Ruben Radding and Andrew Drury. While living in New York City she joined the Circus Amok band and played with a wide spectrum of other ensembles ranging from klezmer, jazz, afro cuban, peruvian, latin, contemporary jazz and rock and roll band backing up burlesque shows in the Lower East Side. While she wasn’t performing, to make ends meet she worked at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music as a music partner teaching in public schools and worked as a bicycle courier.
“Tina Plays like she has angles and demons whispering to her at the same time. The result is always surprising and enlightening”
For Tina, Music was the constant thread through her spiritual tapestry navigating her life as a Gay Mormon. Her journey included several attempts to walk away from her church, only to come back after being saved in a Pentacostal church, settling down in a long term same sex relationship and there after a divorce. Discovering Zen Buddhism which brought her to a life of celibacy and returned to her spiritual roots in the Gospel of Jesus Christ as found in her Mormon upbringing. (What a trip!)
Today Tina lives in Beaverton, Oregon and is working to complete her book Reconciliation, her life journey as a Gay Mormon. She has a growing music studio at Music Village and is accepting private students. She works as a woodwind coach in public and private schools in the Beaverton School District. She has performed with the Quadrophonnes and the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble and the Cabin Project. Tina is a member of the internationally touring Tiptons Saxophone Quartet & Drums, and tours stateside with singer songwriter and musical composer Erin McKeown. Tina is currently working on a new jazz project with pianist Jeanna Burrup and Bassist Jack Wright.
“Up Against the Rail!” is Tina Richerson’s only album to date, recorded with Reuben Radding and Andrew Drury. She has recorded 6 albums with the Tiptons, with Electric Viva, Geo Wyeth, Emma and others. She also recorded the music track to the Television Show “This Old House” which aired in April of 2009.