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