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The whole "first chair"/challenges concept of school bands is antithetical to good section playing.

If I were a high school jazz band director, I'd put my best sax player on baritone, the next best on 3rd alto and 4th tenor. (Note that like the old fart I am, I insist on the old nomenclature, because it means something - there are 5 saxes, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 - etc., not enough space to expand on this here.) Why? Because baritone anchors the section and the interior parts are what makes it a section.

Of course if I did this the helicopter parents would be showing up with torches and pitchforks baying for my blood because little Johnny is "playing second" to someone who's not as good - why, he might not get that scholarship to Harvard!

Also, a good band director will throw solos to all the members of the section. Either break open a solo section, or swap parts around. IN professsional bands, that's done all the time - for example, if you're playing a stock chart and one of the alto parts has a wicked clarinet part - and it's the other guy who is the virtuoso clarinetist - why, they swap parts. The one who was playing lead, plays 3rd - and knows how to do it - and the one that was playing 3rd plays lead - and knows how to do it.

Unfortunately with all they have to cope with, most band directors I suspect are happy if something resembling the music emanates from the band at all.

 

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Some other comments to the OP:

If you're playing 3rd and you're overpowering the section, you need to dial it back. Frankly if I were playing 3rd alto on a consistent basis I'd probably use my Selmer C* mouthpiece. I'm sure you have something similar.

As to "which voices should be heard" of course it depends on the particular moment in the music, but to me I always think of the saxophone section as being suspended between two poles: the lead alto and the baritone. In casually listening to the saxophone section in tutti passages that are written conventionally, I expect to hear the lead alto rising slightly above the other voices on the treble end, and the baritone sounding firmly below the other voices on the bass end. (Few kid bands I've heard have astrong baritone voice.)

Depending on the condition of the band and your relationship with the director, you could ask to get thrown a solo now and then. I'm sure that in your book there are some charts with sections that could easily be opened up for you to take a chorus or two.

I can't tell what level of charts you're playing but in many bands I've been in, the 3rd alto chair was occupied by a strong doubler. So if you've got clarinet or flute chops you could be making use of that in 3rd alto. (If the charts your band is playing involve doubles; I'm guessing they probably don't.)
 
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