New Horizons commemorates War of 1812

Commemorating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, the Don Wright Faculty of Music New Horizons Band will represent Western at a band camp expected to draw musicians from across North America to celebrate the occasion.

Some 100 Canadian and American musicians playing with New Horizons – a group comprised of adult musicians wishing to pick up or learn to play wind or percussion instruments – will gather at Brock University in St. Catherines from July 8-12. The main attraction is a band camp, one of few in Canada, sponsored by Western and the Don Wright Faculty of Music.

Musicians from all walks of life will play a mix of jazz, marches, pop and 1812-era music to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the war. The camp will close with a public concert on July 12 at Brock’s David S. Howes Theatre.

“The (camp) is a vibrant, healthy activity going on and it has a historical perspective and location,” said Betty Anne Younker, Music dean, who was one of the founders of Western’s New Horizons, the first of its kind in Canada. “They’ve been imaginative, trying to pull various strands form a historical perspective.”

Younker added the Brock location was deliberately chosen as a middle ground and because of its relation to the War of 1812.

“We’re excited to host this camp in Canada and especially delighted to build some of its theme around the War of 1812 anniversary,” said camp musical director Mark Enns. “Music is a great way to celebrate the long friendship that Canada and the U.S. have enjoyed for almost two centuries.”

The New Horizons Adult Band, established in January 1999, is modeled after similar programs in the United States. Musicians from all walks of life – including many members of the Western community – meet every Saturday on campus to practice.

Members of the band are thrilled to take part and learn music together, said Mark Kearney, who has played clarinet with Western’s New Horizons for roughly 10 years.

“I had gone to an end-of-term concert and I went to see the concert that my wife was playing in. To me, it was amazing that in maybe a dozen weeks, people who had never played an instrument before were playing music together as a band – in that short period of time,” he said. “You can join as an absolute beginner and pick whatever instrument you want.”

There are more than 50 New Horizons bands in North America. For more information and how to join, visit the program’s webpage.