Seniors lend musical talents

Published 5:55 am Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Staff Writer

An aggregation of highly musical seniors entertained a toe-tapping crowd Tuesday afternoon at Ridgewood Manor nursing home in Washington.
The all-volunteer New Horizons Band made its Beaufort County debut in Ridgewood’s dining hall under the direction of Frank Hammond.
Among the selections played were such familiar tunes as “Cabaret,” “The Entertainer,” “You Stepped Out of a Dream” and “This Little Light of Mine.”
The band has been volunteering its services for churches and nursing homes in Pitt County, but about half its members are from Beaufort County, said trumpeter Jim Hackney.
The musicians, many of whom took up various instruments as youths, get together for enjoyment and community service, according to Hackney.
“We all love music,” he said.
The band, organized under the nationwide New Horizons franchise, is for “older adults that want to get back into music and do something with it,” Hackney related.
Hammond directed bands at N.C. State University for 13 years before retiring in 1995.
He’s been offering his services with New Horizons for nearly seven years.
“It’s a senior citizens’ band,” said Hammond, who added there are more than 270 New Horizons ensembles in the United States and some in Europe, New Zealand and Australia.
“We’re one of the smaller units,” he said with a grin.
Seniors who would like to learn to play instruments, or want to pick up where they left off with musical instruction, are encouraged to join New Horizons, Hammond pointed out.
Prospective band members were asked to call Hammond at 252-974-1109.
“We have several people who laid off their instruments 40 years,” he said, adding the band helps bring players back up to speed.
The nine-piece band that played Tuesday included flutes, drums, a tuba, trumpets, a trombone and other instruments.
In addition to Hackney and Hammond, the personnel consists of trumpeter Marilyn Holshouser, trombonist Mark Carson, tubaist and guitarist Ernie Black, saxophonist Randy Ward, clarinetist Ejay Flanagan, flutists Martin Nabut and Diane Larson and drummer Bill Dunn.
Among the Ridgewood Manor residents present for Tuesday’s concert was James Alligood, resident council president.
“It was great,” Alligood said. “We have a real good life here.”