By Kathleen Knowles
When most high school band students graduate, quite often they never pick up an instrument again. Yet, there are many out there who would have loved to continue playing an instrument in a band. How many of you fit that description? How about those of you who are fifty and over? Have you ever wanted to play an instrument and be part of a band? If the answer is yes, you may not be aware that there is a way that you can realize your aspirations.
Dave Teeple, then the owner of the Port Huron Music Center, invited Pat and Peggy Dempsey to go to Palm Springs, California to listen to the New Horizons Band. It was a band made up of people fifty years and older, many whom had just learn to play an instrument for the first time in their lives. Pat Dempsey, now a retired school band director, was impressed with the people and the enjoyment they were receiving from being part of this musical organization.
It took no time at all for Mr. Dempsey to decide to form a New Horizons Band in Port Huron. It would become one of over two-hundred New Horizons Bands internationally. Sponsored by the Port Huron Music Center, a band, a string group, a brass choir, and a swing band were formed.
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That was twenty years ago! Today the Blue Water Area New Horizons Band boasts approximately fifty members of a balanced instrumentation. They practice on Thursdays in room 42, upstairs at the Port Huron Music Center from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
A prospective member of the band does not need to know how to play an instrument! Directors, Pat Dempsey and Jim Chubb will help an individual interested in joining the band, to determine what instrument would be best for them. They will then teach that person how to play the instrument.
Although it began as a band for those fifty and over, anyone out of high school can join. No prior experience playing an instrument is necessary. One only has to have a desire to play and a willingness to learn.
All kinds of music are played by the band, including marches, classical, patriotic music, show tunes and music played by high school bands.
The band performed eight concerts this year. They have also played for the senior centers, Mercy Village and Regency. For senior centers that are not big enough to hold the nearly 50-member band, those seniors have enjoyed the music of the Swing Band (known as Sentimental Journey), the Brass Choir or the String Group. New Horizons also performs around the community when requested.
The band brings people together with a common love for music. Pat Dempsey said, “There are much more benefits to belonging to New Horizons then just the music. It brings people out of their homes, keeps them active and joins people together sociably to make new friends.”
So, turn off those televisions and join in the fun! Learn to play an instrument and perform with the Blue Water Area New Horizons Band. For more information, contact Pat and Peggy Dempsey at 810-300-0428.
Also, do not miss their Christmas concert, Sunday, December 16th at the First Church of the Nazarene located at 16th and Garfield in Port Huron.
To learn more about the Blue Water Area New Horizons Band, watch for BWHL’s interview with Pat and Peggy Dempsey!
Kathleen Knowles is a life-long resident of Port Huron and a 1973 graduate of Port Huron High School. After attending St. Clair County Community College, she has worked for credit unions all of her life as well as a professional dog show handler, known for handling Pekingese. Kathleen has been writing fiction for years as a hobby, having posted many stories online.
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