Have you ever thought about playing in a band? Several retirees here in Southwest are having a great time playing their chosen instruments in the New Horizons Band, a unique organization that provides an entry point to music-making for adults, including those with no musical experience at all and those who were active in school music programs but have been inactive for a long time. Most, but certainly not all, of the band members are senior citizens and most have recently come back to playing after many years dedicated to careers and family.

“Playing in a band is a great experience” said Richard Lang, who is relatively new to playing the trumpet and had never been in a band prior to joining New Horizons two years ago. “I’m always learning something new and improving my technique. As a career military officer, it’s both a thrill and a privilege to go out to National Airport and play for World War II vets upon their arrival on Honor Flights. Our band also enjoys playing Christmas concerts at retirement homes.”

“If someone told me that after a 50-year break I would be playing the clarinet in a band again, I would have laughed out loud,” said Anne Rensberger a Southwest resident and a semi-retired social worker. “At this stage of my life music is one area where I am actually getting better at something. Playing in a band was great when I was a school child but even more fun now. We have two bands, a concert and a swing band. I particularly like learning rock, swing, and Latin rhythms.”

Although there are more than 200 New Horizons Bands active across the country, this one is unique in that it’s also a course at the Levine School of Music’s Virginia campus. Band members receive one hour of instruction in their instrument class, woodwinds for Anne and brass for Richard, followed by an hour of full band rehearsal. A final hour is usually devoted to learning jazz rhythms for those interested.

If you’d like to learn more about playing in a band where there’s no pressure, great camaraderie, and every opportunity to learn and enjoy playing music with others, just call Richard Lang at (202) 488-4423 or Tina Dove, Virginia campus director for the Levine School of Music, at (703) 237-5655.

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