New Horizons headed on European tour

By Communications Staff
July 04, 2013

Playing for music fans in great European cities is the next musical horizon for a Western concert band.

About 50 members of the Don Wright Faculty of Music New Horizons Band will travel to the German cities of Berlin and Lübeck followed by a stop in Copenhagen from July 6-16 to perform six free concerts.

“This is our fifth trip to Europe since 2005, and we’re excited about visiting and playing in Germany and Denmark,” said Mark Kearney, band spokesperson.  “Every trip we’ve done has been terrific, and it’s always a thrill to play in front of these audiences.”

The group will perform in the Hofbräuhaus in Berlin, Lübeck’s old town square and at Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen.

In preparation for this trip, band members recorded their first CD, Musical Horizons, which showcases the range of music performed by New Horizons Band.

“In the past, we could usually play in public spaces in Europe without having to prove our level of musicianship. But lately, officials at the various venues want to know ahead of time what we sound like, so we recorded the CD,” said Kearney, a lecturer in Western’s Department of English and Writing Studies and Graduate Journalism Program. “There’s a nice range of music on the CD that gives them an idea of what kind of tunes we can play.”

The band won’t be playing any of the music from the CD, but this year’s repertoire includes a mix of jazz, pop and some specifically Canadian music.

The New Horizons Band is open to adult musicians of any skill level, including absolute beginners, but those playing in the European concerts tend to have five or more years musical experience. Many band members, several who are Western alumni and who toured different parts of Europe in the previous visits, are returning this time.

The London band was formed in 1999 as a way of allowing adults to learn music and play in a concert band with other like-minded adults. The New Horizons concept was the result of a groundbreaking course by professor Roy Ernst at the University of Rochester, N.Y. Eastman School of Music in the early 1990s. The band was the first one in Canada and is among the largest in existence.


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