The New Horizons band from Eckerd College proves that you're never too old to learn to make music.
The New Horizons band is a national program that encourages people in the community to pick up an instrument and learn to play in a group.
David Irwin, the Eckerd College music coordinator, leads the local branch of the New Horizons band.
Part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Eckerd, the New Horizons Band is a class that meets every Tuesday for people 50 and older.
“The goal of the group is 50 years old, though we've had younger. We're not carding anyone,” Irwin said.
The New Horizons band is split into two different groups, beginner and intermediate. Out of these two groups, members are encouraged to be part of the performance group and the jazz band.
The performance group gives people a chance showcase what they've learned, Irwin said. Iriwin has set up chances for them to play at every First Friday Artwalk in Gulfport, Pioneer village, and the Florida Botanical gardens.
The New Horizons band plays a lot of anthology book music, including classics and movie themes, so members don't have to constantly be buying new music, Irwin said. In addition to buying their music, members of the group supply their own instruments and music stands.
With all members encouraged to play whatever they'd like, the band has remained surprisingly balanced, Irwin said.
“We do a little bit of recruiting, but the miracle is that it has worked out, that we have a balanced instrumentation without having to twist anyone's arm,” Irwin said.
Caroline Hicks, the first chair trombone, originally started with the trumpet. After playing for six months, she found that she couldn't blow that well for it. There was a lack of trombones so Hicks decided to try and find a trombone for sale and try it.
“I can play longer on the trombone. I definitely like the trombone better,” Hicks said.
Hicks got into the New Horizons band two years ago and has continued on with it ever since, like many of the members. Although it acts as a class at Eckerd, members are encouraged to take however many times they'd like to, Irwin said.
“We've become a nice little family and it's hard to leave. Even if I wanted to leave, it'd be hard to leave,” Hicks said.