By Grace Billok
You better watch out; you better not cry; you better not pout; I’m tellin’ you why! Luke McNamee, A.K.A. SaxOClaus, is comin’ to your Victorian Stroll!
Since 1997, McNamee has been donning full Santa garb and bringing smiles to the people of the Capital Region. Whether he embodies the magical Claus for a Stroll, a nursing home, or a hospital, he never fails to bring smiles to those he meets. When I spoke to him during Saratoga’s Victorian Stroll, town residents continuously approached him asking for hugs or photos. “I make a lot of people happy,” McNamee says.
McNamee, from Troy, NY, began playing the clarinet in 1967 before learning the saxophone, which he has now been playing for fifty years. His favorite Christmas song to play: Sleigh Ride. Even after years of playing, the catchy song took him a couple of seasons to learn, and he has now thrilled audiences with the ditty for fifteen years.
“At this time in my life, I could never not do it.” McNamee says, after twenty-two years of his seasonal gig. With all his experience, he tells other aspiring saxophone-playing-Santas to “just have fun with it,” but also learn their songs inside and out. Of course, as with any other performance art, don’t forget to “work hard and get a good looking suit.” McNamee’s advice comes with one condition, you may never want to stop being a saxophone Santa once you start. “This is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life,” McNamee says.
From the staff at the Lightning Rod, have a happy holiday season!