Local band offers free program of patriotic hits


Rene Hulsker is the conductor for the New Horizons Band in Melbourne.

SENIOR LIFE Courtesy of New Horizons Band



René Hulsker has a light in his eyes that starts to dance when you ask him about music. He began playing the cornet, a small trumpet, at age 8 and has never stopped.

After a career in human resource management, Hulsker now conducts the New Horizons Band in Melbourne. He and scores of other adults like him have joined the band, a 50-plus musical group that is part of the New Horizons International Musical Association.

It’s unlikely to find a more enthusiastic and patriotic band for Veterans Day festivities than the New Horizons Band of Melbourne. It will present a musical salute to “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave” at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12 at Suntree United Methodist Church.

At least 40 musicians, depending on the number of winter residents who will be present, will perform. Many, like Hulsker, have played their instrument of choice since youth.

Others, who took their dusty instruments from closets and basements to play anew, and still others who are learning to play for the first time and are fulfilling lifetime fantasies will perform.

New Horizons Band of Melbourne was started in Brevard County in 2003 and is a community band. Not all are retirees. The band includes a family of five. The children are home schooled and New Horizons serves as their music class during Tuesday morning rehearsals. Referring to all his band members, Hulsker says, “They are really talented.”

The November concert will last 2 hours with a half-hour intermission.

“The audience can expect 1½ hours of music that is relaxing and inspiring and (they) will experience the (band’s) joy,” Hulsker said.

The band has prepared a musical program of patriotic and military favorites that will have everyone tapping their thighs, feeling love of country or nostalgic about memories aroused.

Selections will include modern tunes such as “God Bless the USA’’ (written and sung by Lee Greenwood in the early 1980s), as well as patriotic classics such as “America the Beautiful’’ and “The Star Spangled Banner.’’

Military and marching pieces will include the “Armed Forces Salute” and John Philip Sousa’s “Liberty Bell March.” Touching tunes like the recently written 9/11 tribute, “Our American Heroes,” and a version of “Amazing Grace” arranged by Hulsker. Additionally, Melbourne’s Swingtimers Vocal Trio will provide voice accompaniment for “Amazing Grace” and “Hymn to the Fallen.”

The church is located at 7400 N. Wickham Road in Melbourne and the concert is free of charge. The 600-seat venue is fully accessible for wheelchair users and there is plenty of parking.