Tag Archives: New Horizons

New Horizons band performs a free community concert this weekend

26 Oct

A concert this weekend at Willink Middle School features a band that has a rather unusual story.

The aptly-named New Horizons combined concert and symphonic band, which will perform Saturday Oct. 29 at 4 p.m., is part of an Eastman Community Music School program which provides musical experiences for adults, regardless of experience level. Its bands are open to any adult who wants to play an instrument, even if they’ve never played an instrument before.

These brand-new, “green” musicians, who learn from the ground up from band directors, mentors and private instructors, are joined by more experienced musicians, many of whom are returning to performing after many years. New members don’t even have to audition to join the band, because you don’t have to know how to play; anyone of any experience level is welcome.

The concept has changed little since 1991, when Roy Ernst, a professor at Eastman, came up with the idea to form a band for senior citizens.

His original ad, which ran in the Democrat and Chronicle, looked like this:

The first rehearsal was held at the Cutler Union, now part of the Memorial Art Gallery. The 30 or so musicians who showed up included several who had played years before, and some who had never played. In a historical piece she wrote for the New Horizons website, original band member Dana Johnson said there were “plenty of clarinets, flutes, saxes and trumpets but no trombones or low brass.” Barry Rabson, another original member, recalled, “It was fun, but the music was terrible!”

Nevertheless, the band rehearsed faithfully and presented their first concert in December of that year. Dana wrote, “There were about 35 band members and 40 in the audience, mostly relatives of band members.” The following year, the band continued to spread their wings, performing at schools, St. Mary’s Hospital, the Rochester Convention Center, and on a float in the Lilac Festival Parade.

In 2021, the New Horizons Program celebrated its 60th anniversary. A few things have changed in that time. Membership, for example, has grown from the original 35 to about 340. The band, while open to any adult, is still composed primarily of seniors, mostly because rehearsals are held during the day. The original, single band program has expanded to offer 17 smaller ensembles, including beginning, intermediate and advanced bands, a Big Band, beginning strings, full and string orchestras, a chorus and several chamber ensembles.

One main thing, however, hasn’t changed: New Horizons is and has always been a welcoming community of beginner and experienced musicians who simply love making music and make new friends in a non-competitive, collaborative and supportive environment. It’s an idea that’s been so well received that the program has spread to more than 200 other programs across the U.S., Canada and Europe.

About 80 of these talented, passionate musicians (including some of the newbies) will perform in the weekend’s New Horizon Band Fall Concert, Saturday afternoon beginning at 4 p.m. at Willink Middle School, 900 Publisher’s Parkway in Webster. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

Click here to read more about Rochester New Horizons and find out how you can get involved.

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(posted 10/26/2022)

REALLY busy weekend coming up

24 Oct

Usually it’s during the summer months that the special events pile up so fast I can barely mention them all. But summer’s got nothing on this coming weekend.

Things start off on Friday evening, Oct. 28, with a Community Food Truck Rodeo to benefit the Webster Montessori School. As you can see on the poster here, the trucks that you’ll find include Pop Up & Eats, Waffles R Wild, Al Dente Mobile Pasta, Marty’s Meats and Kona Ice.

The rodeo takes place at the school, 1310 Five Mile Line Rd. (next door to Bauman’s Farm Market) from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday.

It looks like it’s going to be a beautiful autumn day on Saturday, Oct. 29 for these next few events:

At 10 a.m., The Friends of Webster Trails is hosting a Cars Along the Creek Hike at Four Mile Creek Preserve, at the corner of Phillips and Lake roads.

The two-hour guided hike will introduce participants to the many abandoned cars you can see along the preserve’s trails. Apparently the land on which the preserve is now located was once used by the local youth as a makeshift racetrack in the early 1960s. Among the cars you’ll see are:

* 1951 Chevrolet Styleine Deluxe Bel Air
* 1961 Ford 500 Galaxy Club Victoria
* 1959 Nash Rambler
* 1959 Chevy Bel Air
* 1954 Plymouth Belvedere Suburban
* 1949 Green Nash Airflyte

The hike is free, and begins at the parking lot on Phillips Rd.

One of the Village of Webster’s most popuar events, Halloween in the Village, returns this Saturday, beginning with a costume contest from 11 a.m. to noon at Village Hall.

The Trick-or-Treat Trail begins at 11:30 a.m., where children can stroll the village streets and trick-or-treat at dozens of village businesses. Look for the orange pumpkins in storefront windows to see which businesses are participating.

The Festival Wagon will be taking riders along Main Street, and don’t forget to get your pet involved in the fun; the Pet Costume Contest, complete with prizes, takes place on Main St. at 1 p.m. (Click here for a recap of last year’s Trick or Treat Trail, including lots of photos.)

While you’re in town for the Halloween festival, make sure to stop by the Webster Volunteer Fire Department during their open house. They’ll have candy, of course, but this is also a great opportunity for your kids to visit with real firefighters, climb into a fire truck, see some demonstrations, and get a fire hat.

The Fire Department is at 35 South Ave. Just look for the big red trucks in the driveway.

ALSO on Saturday during Halloween in the Village, take the short stroll down to 18 Lapham Park and stop into the Webster Museum. They’ve put together a scavenger hunt and a contest, and have some Halloween treats for everyone. Plus, there will be plenty of helpers there to give you a tour through the museum if you’d like one.

Then, after the village Halloween, how about taking in some great music at the New Horizons Combined Band Concert at Willink Middle School.

New Horizons is a really cool band which welcomes all adults, even those with no musical experience. These enthusiastic concert and symphonic band musicians will be performing their fall, combined concert at Willink, on Publisher’s Parkway, beginning at 4 p.m.

There’s no charge. Check back here in a day or two for a more complete blog about this great organization.

And here’s your Saturday evening entertainment:

The Webster Recreation Center’s Pumpkins on Parade is Saturday from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

This is a very fun, family-friendly event where young and old can take a leisurely walk along the Chiyoda Trail behind the Rec Center and view hundreds of creatively carved jack-o-lanterns. At the end of the trail, there’ll be music, a kids’ slide, a mini hay maze, a bonfire, free cider and donuts, a family photo area and kids’ activities. Plus, professional pumpkin carver Eric Jones, t

The festival is totally free. The Webster Recreation Center is on Chiyoda Drive, off of Phillips. Click here to read more about this great event.

…and if you get to all of these events on Friday and Saturday, plan on sleeping late on Sunday. You’ll need the rest.


If you need to work off some of that candy and good food, the Webster Parks and Recreation Department has got you covered.

They’re hosting their third annual Halloween-themed fitness class sampler on Sunday from 9 to 10:30 a.m., which is absolutely free and open to the community. This year’s theme is disco, and the instructors will be handing out funky glasses and disco ball necklaces until supplies run out.

Check the schedule below for details.

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

(posted 10/24/2022)