Tag Archives: new horizons

A Reality of Midlife Music: Life Happens!

So here it is, eight months later, and nothing has been happening on the blog.  That’s because a lot has been happening in other parts of my life!

Baby Liam

Number One Excuse:  The arrival of my new grandson!   Liam made his appearance in February, and he’s the pride and joy of his parents and four happy grandparents.   So, Chuck and I have spent a lot of time collecting airline miles in service of the newest member of the family.

A few musical highlights:

  • Chuck has a concert on Sunday, May 5th at the Evola store in Canton at 2:00 p.m.  His New Horizons group has suffered some personnel changes and is looking for players.
  • I survived the Dvorak Symphony #8 under the direction of Nan Washburn with the OLPS Symphony in April.   I missed a lot of rehearsals because of Mr. Liam — but did my best.   We’re now in rehearsals for a pops concert.  (June 10th, 3:00 p.m. at the Berman.  Tickets are on sale now!)
  • Viola Judy and I are heading back to Baltimore in June for another “go” at BSO Academy.   At least two other musicians from Michigan will be joining us this year.
  • Had a chance to see Barry Douglas playing with the BSO in the fall, under the direction of Vasily Petrenko – the hottest young conductor in Europe.   Magnifico!

In all — apologies for being away so long.   More insights coming soon.

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Interlochen Day 5 (Chuck)

Four days.  That is the thought running through my head this evening. I cannot even to begin to adequately describe what I saw and heard this evening.

Tonight the various classes and small groups had a chance to show what they accomplished this week.  We had four days to prepare and present music that we first saw Monday.  Individuals from all across the country jelled into a group, from the Intermediate Clarinets – where several members first picked up their instruments a year or so ago – to the Advanced Jazz Band, that could rival any big band in the nation.

Every group was practically flawless, and every band member proud of what they accomplished.  The evening held a few surprises. The Conch Shell Class did a great job on “Amazing Grace” and who would have thought you could get melodic sounds out of shells like those heard on “Ain’t She Sweet”?

One of the highlights of the Advanced Big Band performance was watching Greg Pope, the drummer from our band in Canton reading the lead sheets. Greg played with some of the Motown greats when he was a youngster, but never learned to read music. Tonight, he was practically sight-reading.  Watching him this week was like watching a kid in a candy store. The week at Interlochen was a dream come true for him.

Tomorrow morning, the Intermediate and Advanced Bands will perform.  It will almost be like a graduation.   We’ll be playing music that we stumbled over Sunday night; that after Tuesday evening’s rehearsal we all walked away shaking our heads thinking we had only two more days to get it right.

Four Days!!!! Four days to accomplish something that most bands spend weeks or even months to perfect. We were strutting our stuff tonight, and we were all proud.

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Interlochen, Day 4 (Chuck)

We are starting to see an increase of activity around the camp as college students begin to arrive for the official opening of Summer Camp. Over a thousand students are employed as cabin and dorm monitors, security, life guards and other camp functions.  They are also sprucing up the camp in preparation for Saturday’s Garrison Keeler’s Prairie Home Companion radio broadcast.

Meanwhile, New Horizon campers are busily preparing for Thursday evening’s small group performances.  The Jazz Ensembles along with the various instrument choirs will be performing, all proceeded by a strolling band outside the Fine Arts building.

It is amazing how much progress the Intermediate Band has made in the past few days, thinking back to  when we were stumbling over “La Cumparsita” and Bob Margolis’ “Fanfare Ode” and “Festival for Concert Band”. Tonight’s run thru of Sousa’s “Northern Pines March” may have had the March King turning in his grave, but hopefully we can get the kinks worked out in the final rehearsal tomorrow morning.


It is just hard to believe there is just one more full day of camp before heading back to the real world. It’s just amazing how many mid-lifers (and older) are enjoying a chance to play (and sing) many for the first time. There have been so many stories about other camps. I am already starting to eye the calendar for October 2012, they say Chautauqua, New York is a great camp….

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Interlochen, Day 3 (Chuck)

I took my first stab at conducting this afternoon, did ok on preparing the group for the downbeat and release. However once I was finished conducting part of Haydn’s Surprise Symphony in 2/4 time there was a nice pile of firewood for the meeting room.

It’s still an informative class and former Wayne State professor Joe Labuta does a good job of teaching.  Joeis also director of the Saline, Michigan New Horizons Band.  It’s just another chance to put a face and meet some of the legends of Detroit’s music history as well as some of the best band teachers around the country.

Some of the music we have been playing is starting to come together. The saxophone ensemble has been working on Duke Ellington’s “Satin Doll”, a great version of “Jeri co” and an “Amazing Grace” arrangement that gives each individual in the group a chance at the lead.

The Intermediate Band has been supplemented the last couple of nights by members of the Advanced Band, which has helped a lot. I’m finding myself keeping up with the “more experienced” players. I even held my own with a solo on a version of the Shaker Dance.  The Tango (La Comparsita) is coming along nicely the St. Louis Blues. I’m not sure what part I’ll end up with since I’ve played both first and second, I ended up doing the sax solo during the sectional.  We are also starting to get a feel for  Sousa’s Northern Pines March.

Another full day of music, more tired lips, the night’s finale, 1812 Overture, running thr0ugh my head, the good news is we all finished at the same time.

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Interlochen, Day 1

Chuck is attending the New Horizons Band Camp at Interlochen this week, and is filing his reports, while Georgeann attends the BSO Academy in Baltimore.  This is the first of Chuck’s daily reports.

Practice Hut at Interlochen Music Camp

A practice hut at Interlochen. Each has a grand piano inside.

New Horizon Band founder Dr. Roy Ernst has described Interlochen Center for the Arts as the Carneige Hall of Music Camps. It has a history dating back to the mid 1920 as the nation’s premiere music camp. John Phillip Sousa conducted the National High School Band here in 1930 and wrote his Northern Pines March after that experience.

This week about 200 Midlife Musicians from all across the country are spending time among the pines, soaking up the atmosphere, renewing old friendships and and playing what to many of us is somewhat challenging music. It is the New Horizon’s Music Camp, one of several held around the country each Summer.  New Horizons Music programs were developed by Dr Roy Ernst 20 years ago as a way to give adults an opportunity to learn music in a setting similar to that offered in school. Many of the participants have either played at one time and and came back after a long absence or taken up music for the first time. The organization now has over 182 bands, orchestras, choruses and other ensembles across the country.

Classes this week include ensembles for Brass, Woodwinds, Saxophones, Flutes, Clarinets and Percussion. As well as a few fun things like Dixieland Band, Strolling Band, Conch Shell Choir and introduction to conducting, a look at music before Bach and after Beethoven.

It’s going to be an interesting week, I’ve already had great conversations with midlifers from Florida, San Diego, Durham, NC as well as fellow midlifers from Michigan. We all have one thing in common, a love for music, most of us took it up again after leaving it in high school or college.

We will stumble this week, make a few mistakes, but have fun. And live by Dr Roy’s New Horizon Band Motto  ‘your best is good enough.’

http://www.newhorizonsmusic.org/nhima.html

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New Beginnings for Aspiring Musicians

Sunday morning.  Slept late.  Groggily pulling myself out of bed, when Chuck sticks a newspaper under my nose.

His picture.  Huge.  In the Farmington Observer and Eccentric. Playing his saxophone with the New Horizons Band. Continue reading

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Filed under Opportunities to Play, Personal Journey, Returning to Music