Pearl Harbor Day performance nurtures latent talent


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New Horizons Band of Melbourne gives musicians of all ages a chance to perform for the first time or return to the art. Photo courtesy of New Horizons Band

For latent musicians still waiting for that “one day” to pick up an instrument and give their gift to the world, a Melbourne band has a seat for you. New Horizons Band of Melbourne exists to give musicians of all ages a chance to perform for the first time, or return to the art no matter now long the gap.

“I hadn’t played the flute in 55 years,” said Elaine Bartolino, a member of the band, who didn’t remember how to read music or even play a note but was encouraged to come to band practice. Now, a member of the band for 12 years, Bartolino says, “I love the band. It’s my anti-depressant.” 

The band will perform a special Pearl Harbor Day concert to honor military at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7, at the Scott Center for Performing Arts at 5625 Holy Trinity Drive at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy Upper School in Melbourne. 

The musical salute to all veterans is free and open to the public, featuring a presentation of arms and colors, a flag folding ceremony, speeches and a raffle. 

Some of the songs played will be “The Star Spangled Banner”, “America the Spirit Lives On”, “The Screaming Eagles March”, and “Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning”, sung by Dave Hudson. 

Retired Col. Hal Gibson — a military band leader in the Army Band Program for 30 years — will be guest conducting “Victory at Sea” — and Dr. Russell Minton, a Tuskegee Airman, will appear. New Horizons Band president Brian Nemeth will speak about his experience as Commander of Deployable Aeromedical Staging at Andrews Air Force Base, and how he organized medical support for the Pentagon during the 9/11 terrorist attack. 

The first New Horizons Band started at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester as a way to reach adults who never had the opportunity to learn to play. Since then, the program has evolved into the New Horizons International Music Association, with local programs open to adults of any age. 

Conducted by Sue Diebel, the band is a volunteer organization open to adults of all ages who want to learn how to play an instrument in a group setting. Formed by Kevin Strang in 2003, the group began with nine members, and now has as many as 50. 

The band plays at senior centers and churches throughout Brevard, as well as events such as the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. 

Practices are held every Tuesday morning from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Melbourne Municipal Band Building at 1924 Melody Lane in Melbourne.

For more information or to become a sponsor, go to newhorizonsbandmelbourne.org or call Nemeth at 321-777-5931. 

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