Peterborough New Horizons Bands Brings Smiles to Summit Terrace
Thanks to a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Seniors Affairs, seniors living at Summit Terrace are paired with a volunteer mentor from the Peterborough New Horizons Band to learn to play an instrument. A variety of instruments, stands and music books are provided. Trumpets, trombones, flutes, clarinets, euphoniums and even a percussion practice pad are now residing at Summit Terrace and the seniors are “striking up the band.”
When I walked into the Summit Terrace Lounge, I immediately recognized Kathleen and Ray March, a senior couple and former neighbors of mine. Ray, holding a clarinet, was sitting next to Jane Bremner, his mentor. Kathleen sat behind them embracing her euphonium and chatted with her mentor, Renee Paul. Kathleen and Ray are two of nine seniors living at Summit Terrace who are part of a musical journey with Peterborough New Horizons Bands (PNHB). http://pnhb.nhbpeterborough.com
The group of residents meets for two hours on Monday afternoons at Summit Terrace from now until March. Each session has a warm-up at the start then the remaining time is broken down into two main blocks of time. First, the mentors meet their seniors and provide one-on-one instruction on their chosen instrument. After a short break, the whole group comes together to play as a band. The group will celebrate their achievements in March by performing a concert for their family and friends.
Sal Castiglione, a skilled and caring PNHB Conductor, leads the new band and is a champion for the program. He can barely contain his enthusiasm.
“Music makes growing older much easier and lot more fun,” Sal says. “Think of it: learning to play a musical instrument, playing together in a band with your buddies. How sweet is that? As you concentrate on learning to play, you can release your inner talent and be happy and content and also have fun when you practice throughout the week,” said Castiglione when asked to describe the experience.
Renee and Kathleen chatted with me about their love of the program and some of the challenges. For Kathleen, reading music was easy with her piano background. But, this was the first time she was faced with the embouchure needed to play her instrument. Renee suggested they both look in a mirror to try different ways to get the facial muscles, tongue and teeth in the perfect position. Kathleen figured out that if she adopted a “cross look,” her embouchure improved!
Another champion of this program is Cathy Brown-Payne, who is the key organizer and originator of the concept. She is thrilled with the first four weeks of the program.
“It combines opportunities for a new volunteer experience for our members and brings smiles to the faces of the seniors we are working with through music,” she explained.
This grant will provide a growth and learning opportunity that brings the joy of music to both the seniors at Summit Terrace and the mentors from PNHB. PNHB puts smiles on seniors’ faces through music.
Check out these to links to videos of interviews with two participants and their mentors.