Profile of Phil Vorlander

Phillip VorlanderWhat first brought you to the New Horizons Band?

I’d watched a segment about New Horizons International on TV (CBS Sunday Morning, or, maybe, 60 Minutes) and learned of its mission of providing opportunities for older folks to play music. It piqued my interest! I did not play an instrument in school (much to my continuing regret) and wanted to learn. I did a web search for New Horizons Madison and found HOB’s website. I emailed then president Jon Nelson requesting information, and Jon asked what instrument I played. When I replied that I didn’t, he tactfully suggested I take some lessons before joining the band – good advice! I had my first lesson in April 2011 and joined the Madison New Horizons Bands in January 2012.


Why do you play the instrument you play?

Upon deciding to take lessons, I walked into Ward-Brodt, was directed to the education department, and told them I wanted to learn to play an instrument. When asked which one, I said saxophone (there were more saxes hanging on the wall). I had the great good fortune to get hooked up with Peterson (Pete) Ross, a marvelous musician and skilled teacher. I continue to study with Pete, now at Madison Music Foundry after the demise of Ward-Brodt’s education department. Pete not only teaches me saxophone, he teaches me music.


What has been the most enjoyable part of your experience w/ NHB?

I can’t say enough about the welcome and support I received from the other musicians in our bands, especially my mates in the saxophone section. On my first night at rehearsal, after taking lessons for six months or so, co-director Glenn Nielsen introduced himself, and when I’d explained my level of musicianship, Glenn said, “Don’t give up; keep coming to rehearsals and you’ll improve.” Thanks Glenn! We are very fortunate that our directors, Glenn and Pat Dorn, not only direct, they teach.

I love our Door County Band Camp! What a terrific experience to play music for three days in such a wonderful environment with conductors who enjoy sharing their knowledge with adult musicians.


What has been the most challenging?

When there’re just too many notes in a measure!


What other musical bands, endeavors, or outlets do you pursue?

I play with the Waunakee Community Band, the McFarland Community Band, my hometown’s Soon To Be Famous Lodi Band, and Waunakee First Presbyterian’s Joyful Noise.


What outside of playing music are you passionate about in your life?

Linda, my spouse, is a wonderful ‘Band Mom’ (remember, I didn’t play in school) and a very good sport when it comes to attending performances. We’re both retired and enjoy traveling with my brother and sister – we just returned from a wonderful Alaska cruise. We also have a great group of long-time close friends with whom we socialize and travel.

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