Join the New Horizons Band

The Madison New Horizons Band is part of the International New Horizons Organization and is the second oldest New Horizons band in the world.

When they were younger, many older adults played in high school and college bands but after graduation, the opportunities to play in group ensemble dwindled and instruments collected dust, until one day band was just a memory. New Horizons was created to give these very adults a second chance to play in a band, and believe me it is just as fun today as it was back them…maybe even better!

Bob Swan first conductorThe Madison band was originally organized by Bob Swan, who in 1992 was the head of Ward-Brodt Music Mall's education department. Bob got the band up and running and served as the driving-force and coordinator of group. The band's first director was Grayson Babcock, followed by Bill Payne, and then for many years Peter Ziegler. Peter retired in 2013 and passed the Music Director's baton to the capable hands of Glenn Nielsen and associate director Pat Dorn, who conduct the bands today. Thanks to Bob Swan's early and tireless efforts, the Madison New Horizons Band has flourished and has the distinction of being the second oldest New Horizons Band in the now global organization. Thank you Bob!

Glenn and Peter at Band CampBoth bands (concert and swing) are organized through Madison-based Ward-Brodt Music. The bands play a variety of music and are comprised of musicians with a broad range of skill levels. While participation in the bands is targeted toward senior (50+) musicians as that is the concept of the International New Horizons program, the Madison bands do not restrict participation by age: if you want to play with us you are welcome to join.

New to Instrumental Music? No Problem!

New musicians who have never played an instrument before, or who are switching instruments for the first time will be encouraged to participate in one-on-one instruction prior to sitting in with the band. This helps to make the transition to ensemble playing easier for most beginners and is a great confidence-builder. But to be sure: beginners are welcome to participate in the New Horizons program.

Good Fun with Good Folks

The current bands are a mixture of players with varying degrees of experience from accomplished to beginner and this dichotomy is encouraged both by our directors and the New Horizons program itself. We encourage you to play the notes you can and as you get better and better… you'll play more and more! It's a fun group that grows together and supports mutual musicianship.

No Pressure!

Some bands expect you to be able to sit down and sight read anything that is put before you. The New Horizons Band is a teaching band and our mission is to help you become a better musician. There is no pressure to become the next "Dizzy Gillespie." (We're happy if you just don't play in the rests.) Join us! You'll find lots of great folks with good senses of humor and very supportive natures… but most of all, you'll have an experience of a lifetime!

Join the Band

If you would like to play in the Madison New Horizons Band, we encourage you to sit in with the band on any Wednesday night. The band practices at the McFarland high school. Swing band begins at 5:30 PM and concert band kicks off at 6:30 PM. You can contact either  Glenn Nielsen our director at 608-838-8274 or you can contact Ward-Brodt at 608-661-8670 directly. You'll be very glad you did!Concert-Band-Main

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