New Horizons Seniors Band celebrates fifth year in New Glasgow
PICTOU COUNTY - This month will mark the beginning of the fifth year of the Glasgow New Horizons Band program.
On Sept. 9, the eighth wave of beginners music training classes will commence with an instrument demonstration and experimentation session at Christ Anglican Church, located at 34 Bridge Street in Stellarton at 4:30 p.m.
The initial meeting will include a demonstration of all of the band instruments, and the opportunity to try out an instrument.
The New Horizons Band program, founded by arranger, composer and music teacher Paul Barrett, is specifically geared towards seniors aged 50 and over who have never played an instrument or would like to resume playing an instrument in a band.
The first New Horizons band was founded in Wolfeville in 2001 as part of a masters of education project. Later, bands started in Dartmouth, Truro and New Glasgow.
“The financial aspect made me start it since my family needed the income,” said Barrett, a school music teacher for 30 years at CEC. “It’s become much more than that to me however, and I’ve received a lot of positive feedback.”
He spends most of his time arranging all the music for the group, handling the public relations and any other administrative needs.
The list of band instruments taught is exhaustive and includes flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone, euphonium (baritone), tuba, drums and percussion, violin, cello, piano, guitar and electric or acoustic bass.
Barrett said many who join the band buy used instruments off Kijiji or borrow them from their grandkids. He also helps seniors rent instruments from Long and McQuade in Halifax.
The New Glasgow program is directed by Ken Henderson, a retired music teacher, and the director of the Truro Concert Band and the Pictou County Orchestra. He’s going into his second year as the band’s instructor after getting the nod from Barrett.
I think he found himself with too many bands to manage, so I came on as the band’s instructor,” said Henderson, a retired music teacher.
Each class is taught in a group setting for each new wave. Within each wave are varying skill levels ranging from beginner to experienced.
“It’s an opportunity to make music with people who want to make music and aren’t paid or forced to be here,” Henderson said. “It's the nature of a band to help each other out and I see that at our weekly meetings.”
It’s perhaps the universality of music that is attractive for seniors of all backgrounds. He noted that last year’s band consisted of retired military, a minister, librarian, some who played in high school, some started from scratch and several husband and wife teams.
“It’s a very relaxed atmosphere,” Henderson said.
If you are interested in this program please send an email to Paul Barrett at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 902-986-1785. Brochures will be available at the Public Library, Glasgow Square and H&R Music - or you can have one emailed to you by contacting Paul. The cost for the term of 15 weeks is $150.
On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn