Thursday, December 15, 2011

Snake River New Horizons Band

"Music is the Universal Language, as it brings people close together, not by words, but by emotions and spirit. It lifts and heals heavy hearts and brings joy to the soul. Music affects the body and mind in many powerful ways."  --Ruth Anne Alleman, SRNHB member

Recently, a group of NKA members formed the Snake River New Horizons Band (SRNHB), and in only two months of twice-weekly practices, they were ready to play their first gig.
John Meiners--at the far left in the photo above--was instrumental (pun intended) in getting the band started. John says, "After going to the Sun Valley Jazz Festival for a couple of years, I got the crazy idea to play the saxophone. I had never played anything and could not read a music sheet. I found an instructor and started taking lessons. Then I went to a summer jazz music camp in the Sierras. There, I learned about New Horizons International Music Organization,* which encourages seniors to get into or back into music. There were no chapters in Idaho, so I thought about it for six months and jumped in. We started up in October, 2011. It would not have happened without the support of NKA." 
New Horizons Music and NKA have the same philosophy: life-long learning and giving back to the community. Following this philosophy, the band donated a Thanksgiving turkey to the local food bank.
For their holiday performances, the band prepared six songs: Jingle Bells, Kings from the East, Sawmill Creek, We Wish You A Merry Christmas, Silent Night, and Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer. They have already performed at the VA Center and at Cottonwood Cove Retirement Center.

Kerrie Tolman, band director at Irving Middle School, and Casey Emerson, band director at Hawthorne Middle School, are the SRNHB directors. Kerrie's two children, both ISU music majors, help out, also.

The band has a page on FaceBook that they use to keep members informed. Photos and links to their videos are posted there. You need not be a Facebook member to view the videos. Click on this link: 

You may also watch SRNH on YouTube. Click on this link:

Speaking for the band, John says, "We know there are a lot of closet musicians everywhere who maybe played in high school and then dropped it as they moved on in their lives. We invite any senior interested in music to check us out."

*The New Horizons International Music Organization has over 200 chapters in the world. It was started by Dr. Roy Ernst in Rochester, New York in 1991. Their motto is, "In a New Horizons Band, playing your best is good enough." For more information, visit their website at

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fit 'n' Fall Proof

Falls are the leading cause of injuries in older adults, and more than one-third of older adults fall every year. How can we combat this? Through purposeful, targeted activities that promote balance, strength, flexibility, and endurance.
NKA's "Fit and Fall Proof" class is sponsored by the Southeast Idaho District Health office. Participants learn how to increase lower body strength and muscle mass, as well as improve their posture.
 Class members watch carefully as instructor Ardith Moran demonstrates an exercise technique.
 Exercisers get ready to perform the next set of stretches.
 Many exercises are designed to be performed 
from a seated position.
A baseline assessment of speed and agility is taken at the beginning of the course, at midpoints, and again at the end. This allows class participants to track their progress and improvement.
 These exercises don't look like work at all: 
everyone's having a great time!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Carve Out a New Hobby

Want to try your hand at a new hobby? Or do you just want to revive and hone your wood-working skills? Check out NKA's woodcarving class!

Instructors Shorty Miller and Diane Porter will help you get started, and Dick Elliott also serves as woodcarving coach. You'll discover an amazing variety of projects!  [Click on photos to enlarge them.]
Woodcarvers use rotary carving tools and/or knives and gouges. Most equipment is provided to beginning carvers. Returning carvers provide their own tools and equipment.

Safety First is the rule in the woodcarvers' shop.
 Joan's safety mask hides a big smile!
 Shorty demonstrates a technique for a new carver.
Beginning carvers start with a stylized bird, then go on to a shelf cat and a stylized deer before taking up more intricate projects.
NKA wood carvers often enter their work in arts/crafts shows such as those at the Pocatello Art Center and a recent show in Provo, Utah.
Bev contributed photos of finished work shown on this blog post.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Taste & Share

"Taste the Food and Share the Recipes" is a four-week NKA class offered by Marilyn Edwards, former program coordinator (now retired) of Idaho State University's Culinary Arts program. If you have a dish that your family loves or a recipe that has been passed down from generations of cooks in your family, here is the place to share it.
Class members take turns preparing dishes, presenting recipes, and describing new techniques and equipment. 
 Sue demonstrates a fruit/vegetable juicer.
Marilyn brings years of culinary experience, teaching expertise, 
and a love of food to her group.
Sue (class facilitator), Marilyn, and Judy model their matching
neck-scarves before class.
Then the tasting begins!

Two Judys, ready to share their recipes.
Bette shared a funny story about these yummy spinach nuggets, which her family calls "mulch balls," because of their resemblance to lawn clippings.

Recipes range from appetizers to main course dishes to desserts--all delicious!
Bon app├ętit!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Come Dance With Us

What has 50 arms and 50 legs, can perform several different moves simultaneously, and occasionally breaks into laughter? No, it's not a ticklish, multi-tasking centipede; it's a group of NKA line dancers.
NKA offers line dancing classes for all skill levels, starters to advanced. There's even a performance class for more experienced dancers. 
Dancers watch the instructors demonstrate a new step before trying it themselves.
Detailed instructions for each routine are available.
   Marjean queues up the music for the next dance.
Following instructions such as, "Turn, turn, triple to the left, now rock back, turn, shuffle, triple to the right," can be tricky, and occasionally, someone takes a turn to the right when everyone else goes to the left.
 Taking a breather after a particularly complex series of steps.
 "Let's see...was that kick-ball-touch/crossover-unwind?"
Now, we've got it!
A new step has just been invented!

Why do we love line dancing?  It's good exercise for the body and the mind, we meet new people, and it's just plain fun!

On November 29, the Sugarfoot Dancers (advanced performance group) performed at the Veteran's Home, and on December 12, the intermediate performance group entertained residents at Ridgewind and Quail Ridge retirement centers.