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Following The New Horizons Band! With Hank Laber

Photo by Peggy Dempsey

My name is Hank Laber. I am a proud member of the Blue Water New Horizons Band in Port Huron.  I think it was in 1997 that my brother Fred, who played the clarinet in school, called me to ask if I still had my tenor saxophone which I played when I was there. I said yes and asked him why. He told me they were starting a band and wanted to know if I would like to play in it. I eagerly said yes and became a member of the New Horizons Band, which had a total of eight musicians directed by Pat Dempsey.

I have always loved music. Growing up in the 30’s and 40’s, I listened and danced to the big bands of the Dorsey Brothers, Artie Shaw, Woody Herman and Harry James, etc. At that time, we had a little swing band that I enjoyed being part of, but the time came when I had to leave music behind me.

In 1945, I joined the Merchant Marines and spent two years sailing both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Then in 1949, I married, and between raising a family and being in business, I was always kept very busy. So when Fred called me in 1997 and told me about the new band, I was excited. My family was grown and all married. I was slowing down at work, so it was a great time for this to happen. I had not really played my sax for 50 years, but it’s a lot like riding a bicycle. With a little practice, it came back pretty quick.

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With Pat’s patience and expert guidance, he brought us from some simple music to the great stuff we are playing today. The band has grown from the original eight to between thirty five to forty musicians with all sections filled. Due to the size and work involved, we now have two directors, Pat Dempsey and Jim Chubb, both whom we appreciate very much.

I have been in the band for over twenty years and am now ninety-years-old. It for me has been, and still is a great experience. The band has given me great friendships, a challenge,  discipline, a purpose, and an activity with friends that I enjoy every week.  I would recommend and suggest anyone that has an interest in music or has at one time played an instrument, to think about joining us……it’s easy. Just call!  The band has been a big happy part of my life, and if you join us, hopefully it would also be for you.

Hank Laber
Member of New Horizons Band

Contact Patrick Dempsey at the New Horizons Band and join in the fun!   810-300-0428  

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