My husband Guy has played trumpet since 2010 with the Des Moines New Horizons Band, which is in its 18th year and meets at Rieman Music.
The concept, which has member groups in six countries, was the idea of Dr. Roy Ernst from Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. The first group, designed to serve senior citizens, was started in 1991. There are nine New Horizons Bands in Iowa.
There are no tryouts or auditions, with “your best is good enough” the idea. Some players are band directors and music teachers, some are beginners. Des Moines band includes retired doctors, a pharmacist, a nurse, a pastor or two, and at least one retired air traffic controller. They come from as far away as Ames. The suggested minimum age of 50 for players changes with each group.
Ron Rieckmann, a retired band director, directs the Des Moines group. New Horizons gives concerts each spring, usually for retirement homes, and Christmas concerts–until these Covid years.
Sometimes rock and roll is part of their repertoire. One season the theme was western music. Several of them enjoyed dressing for it, including Conductor Ron, complete with hat, leather vest, and chaps!
Last Sunday they played their first concert in two years for the Perry Fine Arts Series in Perry, Iowa.
Their Christmas music was enhanced by Santa hats, reindeer antlers, and Director Rieckman’s festive Christmas-lights jacket.