Ringgold New Horizons Band

The Ringgold New Horizons Band, a partnership of the Ringgold Band, Alvernia University, and the Reading Musical Foundation, recently completed their Spring 2014 Semester by performing three concerts in just three days!  The senior-citizen band played at the Birdsboro Street Fair on May 3, performed their Second Annual Spring Concert at Alvernia University on May 4, and played for the Alvernia University Seniors College at the McGlinn Center on May 5.

      The Birdsboro Street Fair marked the first time the New Horizons Band ever performed outdoors.  Members got to experience the unique fun and challenges of performing in the breeze and sun-glare of an outdoor location.  Outdoor concertizing meant performing in a setting where the audience was milling all around, enjoying the music while eating hot dogs and drinking soda pop.  It’s certainly an adventure to play in the outdoor environment where your sound goes in every direction and the familiar sounds of the rehearsal room are completely absent.
       Sunday’s Spring Concert at Alvernia University marked the first time the New Horizons Band had the concert stage all to itself.  The Concert Band’s performance was highlighted by two of the new small ensembles formed this semester: the Brass Ensemble and the Saxophone Ensemble.  Also, the new Jazz Band, which started just this past January, led off the concert with two lively jazz numbers.
      On Monday, May 5, the Concert Band performed in Alvernia University’s McGlinn Conference Center for Alvernia’s annual Seniors College Instructor Appreciation Tea & Social.  The performance was very well received, with several comments from university faculty, administrators, and students praising the Band’s accomplishments.
       Because the Ringgold New Horizons Band has made such rapid progress since forming in the fall of 2012, the Band will be recruiting for new “entry-level” adult musicians in order to start an additional “exploratory” level concert band in the Fall of 2014.
All are welcome to stop by our weekly rehearsals in 3539-A Freemont Street most Wednesdays at 10:00am and join in the fun.  Call Jim Seidel at 610-779-8858 for more information.
This is adult recreational music-making at its best.  If you haven’t touched your old instrument since high school, or if you never played an instrument but might have it in your “bucket list” to do so, this is your chance.  Remember, the New Horizons motto:  “Your Best is Good Enough!”
As Conductor Jim Seidel says:  “During my career as a music educator, I’ve never had more fun leading any band, (including the famous Ringgold Band and forty years of public school bands), than I have conducting the New Horizons folks.  Rehearsals are stress-free and filled with laughter and the camaraderie of ensemble playing.  Every rehearsal and every concert include the joy and rewards that the mental and physical challenges of recreational music-making offer to everyone, including senior adults.”
The Ringgold New Horizons Band was established in the fall of 2012 as a component of the music education and outreach program of the Ringgold Band, one of America’s oldest and most historic concert bands.  The Ringgold Band already had a number of music education programs for the youth of Berks County including annual Young Artist awards, a Side-by-Side concert series, a District Band music reading session, and Banding Together programs.  The New Horizons band reaches out to share the joy and proven health benefits of recreational music making with the senior citizens of Berks and beyond.
Senior adults are invited to dig their old musical instruments out of their closets or attics, or to fulfill one of their “bucket list” wishes to learn to play a musical instrument.  In a non-threatening and supportive environment, senior adults are coached by members of the Ringgold Band and its renowned conductor, Jim Seidel.  They rapidly refresh or pick up the skills of playing an instrument in a concert band setting along with other adult learners.
The Ringgold New Horizons Band is a member of the New Horizons International Music Association, which encourages and supports the formation of senior adult bands and orchestras around the world.  *“New Horizons Music programs provide entry points to music making for adults, including those with no musical experience at all and those who were active in school music programs

“New Horizons Music programs provide entry points to music making for adults, including those with no musical experience at all and those who were active in school music programs

Active participation in music fills important needs for adults – the need for challenging intellectual activity, the need to be a contributing member of a group, and the need to have exciting events in the future. For many people, music can serve these vital needs better than anything else. Here is what some participants say:
– Being old, retired, and widowed, I joined the band to have something to do. Now I don’t know what I would do without it.
– This comes at a time in life when you have the time to devote to it. When you join the band, you stick with it. Not many people drop out. It’s something that holds you.
– Next to my family, certainly, the musical activity is the most important thing in my life.”
 *New Horizons International Music Association
More information about the New Horizons International Music Association may be found at:  www.newhorizonsmusic.org

New Horizons Orchestra: new outreach program

Several months ago the administration of Berks County’s Encore program approached Ringgold about taking over the reins of the Encore Sr. Orchestra.  This was a very difficult decision for all involved, but the bottom line became the Encore resources are just becoming very stretched for all the services they are provide.  The Ringgold Band has very successfully created a national model for creating the Ringgold New Horizons Band.  The New Horizons began with 19 eager Sr. musicians and has grown to over 70 dedicated “budding” musicians, who not only enjoy playing their instruments, but many many friendships have formed.

If this model worked once, why can’t we create an orchestra as well.  To begin the new process we talked with the current Encore members and asked them to consider creating a string ensemble first, and current winds to join the New Horizons Band.  This  will begin to build a base of strings in the same manner that we developed the Band.  Hopefully in the very near future we will again merge the two entities and have a full orchestra.

On Tuesday, October 4, the first string ensemble rehearsed in the Ringgold Rehearsal facility with success.  If you are a former string player and haven’t touched your instrument or are looking for a supportive atmosphere to play and meet new friends please consider joining the New Horizons Orchestra.

To learn more please contact Jim Seidel, at 484-332-7005 or email the Ringgold Band via the website www.ringgoldband.com

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