New Horizons debuts in the ‘other’ London

About 60 members of the Don Wright Faculty of Music New Horizons Band – many of whom are Western employees or alumni – are traveling to Edinburgh, York and London, United Kingdom, July 1-11, to perform five free concerts, including one at Stirling Castle in Scotland and another on the grounds of the Tower of London. Since 2005, the band has made six trips to Europe, although this is the first to Great Britain.

In preparation for the trip, the New Horizons Band has scheduled two special performances for local audiences – 7 p.m. Thursday, June 25, at the Upper Queens Park Bandshell (near the Festival Theatre) in Stratford and 2 p.m. Saturday, June 27, upstairs at Covent Garden Market in London.

“These performances give us a chance to test our readiness for the British audiences,” said Mark Kearney, band spokesperson. “We’re playing a range of music, including some traditional Scottish and English folk songs, arranged for concert band and a mix of other styles including the Canadian piece Prairie Wedding.”

The London band program started in 1999 as a way of allowing adults to learn music and play in a concert band with other like-minded people. The NHB concept was the result of a groundbreaking course by Roy Ernst, a professor at the University of Rochester, N.Y. Eastman School of Music, in the early 1990s and has spread across North America and to other countries overseas. The London NHB was the first one in Canada and is among the largest in existence.