About Us

Gathering of NHBT members before The Beat Goes On Concert May 26, 2018 . Photo:Tim Lowe

About Us

The New Horizons Band of Toronto (NHBT) is a multi-level concert band program for mature adults. Members can try out a band instrument for the first time or reconnect with an instrument they played years ago.  NHBT also welcomes experienced musicians who want to play in a non-competitive setting.

Classes for the 2019-2020 Regular Program season start in September and run until late May. We take a break from mid-December until mid-January.  Our band season runs for 34 weeks over two terms of 17 weeks each. 

Join NHBT has more information for those new to our band program. Have more questions?  Check out our Frequently Asked Questions area  FAQ

All classes are held at 662 Victoria Park Ave (North-West corner of Victoria Park and Danforth Ave) immediately south of the Victoria Park subway and bus TTC station. 

Each class rehearses once per week.  Weekly schedules are posted in our Band and Events Calendar

Are you ready to register?

Regular Program Classes 2019-2020

Band and Enrichment Classes. Details for each class available below.

Monday
Concert Band Day – 10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. – Marianne Spilberg
Beginner II Day – 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Marianne Spilberg
Beginner II Evening – 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – Donna Dupuy
 
Tuesday
Symphonic Band Day – 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Donna Dupuy
Wind Ensemble – 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Donna Dupuy
Intermediate Theory – 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. – Donna Dupuy
Symphonic Band Evening – 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – Donna Dupuy
 
Wednesday
Big Band – Beginner – 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Patricia Wheeler
Big Band – Intermediate – 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Patricia Wheeler
Jazz Orchestra – 4:45 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. – Patricia Wheeler
Concert Band Evening – 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – Garry Page
 
Thursday
Beginner 1 Day – 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. – Maggie Thompson
Beginner Theory – 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. – Maggie Thompson
Beginner 1 Evening – 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. – Maggie Thompson

NHBT is designed to provide everything you need to help you on your musical journey. As you progress, you will find ongoing educational support to continue this journey from our professional music educators. You will also experience the support of other musicians who, like yourself, are on their own journey. 

Those with more developed skills should discuss whether one of the advanced levels – Concert, Symphonic or Wind Ensemble bands – would be a good fit for them. Before registering, call or contact Donna Dupuy, NHBT’s Head of Education to find out what openings there might be for your instrument.

Registration for both current members, who are renewing membership, and new members, becoming members for the first time is done via the Join NHBT webpage.

NHBT offers day and evening classes for each concert band level: 

You can read more about our Head of Education and our Music Directors on the Leadership page.

Concert Bands

We have five levels of concert band to suit different abilities.

Who this band is best for:

    • Woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments welcome.
    • Open to anyone who wishes to learn a new instrument.

What this band does:

    • Basic instrument technique and music reading instruction are the focus of this group.
    • Performs twice per year for band community and family and friends

What members need to do:

    • Willingness to learn both an instrument and notation
    • Rent/own an instrument or purchase a stick/mallet kit if playing percussion
    • No experience necessary.

Who this band is best for:

    • Woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments welcome.
    • Open to anyone who has a moderate amount of band experience on their instrument – 1-2 years playing in a Concert Band setting

What this band does:

    • The focus is on playing together as a group and following the conductor
    • A wide range of musical styles are explored in traditional concert band instrumentation.
    • Performs twice per year for band community and family and friends

What members need to do:

    • Rent/own an instrument or purchase a stick/mallet kit if playing percussion
    • Be able to read notes in the clef of your instrument, including above and below the staff.
    • Play the Concert B-flat Major scale, one octave
    • Read rhythms in 3/4, 2/4, and 4/4 time including whole, half, quarter, and eighth notes
    • Should not be writing in note names, fingerings, slide positions
    • For percussion: Vic Firth rudiments – single stroke roll, flam, paradiddle (both hands), scales as above on mallet instruments

Who this band is best for:

    • Woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments welcome
    • Open to anyone who has some band experience on their instrument – 2+ years playing in a Concert Band setting

What this band does:

    • The focus is on performing pieces with dynamics, articulation, and expression
    • This band is for those who wish to be challenged on their instrument
    • A wide range of musical styles are explored in traditional concert band instrumentation
    • Maintains a repertoire of 10-15 pieces per year
    • Performs twice per year for band community and family and friends
    • May perform in the community for educational or social events

What members need to do:

    • Rent/own an instrument or purchase a stick/mallet kit if playing percussion
    • Be able to read notes in the clef of your instrument, including up to two ledger lines above and below the staff
    • Be able to follow a conductor
    • Play the Concert B-flat Major scale, two octaves
    • Play Concert C, F, and E-flat Major scales (one or two octaves)
    • Play Concert g minor scale – all three forms
    • Read rhythms in 3/4, 2/4, 4/4, and 6/8 time including whole, half, quarter, eighth, and sixteenth notes and dotted rhythms
    • For percussion: Vic Firth rudiments – double stroke roll, ratamacue, paradiddle (both hands), scales as above on mallet instruments

Who this band is best for:

    • Woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments welcome
    • The focus is on developing a diverse repertoire and moving at a quicker pace while still creating enjoyable musical experiences
    • Open to anyone who has significant band experience on their instrument – 4+ years playing in a Concert Band setting

What this band does:

    • The focus is on performing pieces at tempo with good intonation, style, and expression
    • This band is for those who wish to be challenged on their instrument
    • A wide range of musical styles are explored in traditional concert band instrumentation
    • Maintains a repertoire of 25-50 pieces per year (at a variety of levels)
    • Performs in the community several times per year for community and social events

What members need to do:

    • Rent/own an instrument or purchase a stick/mallet kit if playing percussion
    • Play with a characteristic tone.
    • Play the Concert B-flat Major scale and Concert g minor scale (all three forms) two octaves, from memory
    • Play Concert C, F, and E-flat Major scales (one or two octaves), and their relative minor scales
    • Read rhythms in simple, compound, and cut time. Mixed meter is used frequently
    • For percussion: Vic Firth rudiments – double stroke roll, ratamacue, paradiddle (both hands), scales as above on mallet instruments, timpani skills

Who this band is best for:

    • Woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments welcome
    • The focus is on developing a diverse repertoire for performance and moving at a quicker pace while still creating enjoyable musical experiences
    • This ensemble is limited to players with significant band experience on their instrument – 4+ years playing in a concert band setting
    • Admission to this band is by audition and requires a full-year commitment.

N.B. Those who participated in the Symphonic Bands in previous years should contact Donna Dupuy to arrange an audition

What this band does:

    • The focus is on performing pieces at tempo with good intonation, style, and expression
    • This band is for those who wish to be challenged on their instrument
    • A wide range of musical styles are explored in traditional concert band instrumentation
    • Maintains a repertoire of 25-50 pieces per year (at a variety of levels)
    • Performs in the community several times per year for community and social events

What members need to do:

    • Rent/own an instrument or purchase a stick/mallet kit if playing percussion
    • Play with a characteristic tone
    • Play Concert Major and minor scales from five flats to three sharps – two octaves where possible, minor all three forms – from memory
    • Read rhythms in simple, compound, and cut time. Mixed meter is used frequently 
    • For percussion: Vic Firth rudiments – double stroke roll, ratamacue, paradiddle (both hands), scales as above on mallet instruments, timpani skills

Enrichment classes are offered for those already participating in a concert band class. These classes include three levels of Jazz instruction and two levels of music theory. 

 

Enrichment Classes

Who this band is best for: 

    • The ensemble has (must have) a rhythm section (piano and/or guitar, 2+bassists, drum kit, percussion) and is open to 30 woodwind and brass musicians from the Beginner II through Symphonic Bands who would like to begin their exploration of the jazz idiom. 
    • Beginner II musicians who wish to participate are encouraged to contact Patricia Wheeler in order to discuss comfort levels. 

What this band does:  

    • This class introduces and develops rhythms, styles, and repertoire endemic to the jazz tradition, in a concert band setting, and is open to the full range of instruments found in a concert band.   
    • Material consists of studies, drills, games, and repertoire modelled after swing and dance band literature, such as that found in the Essential Elements Jazz Ensemble series.  
    • The class does not require improvisation, but notated solos will be played by the willing, not the forced. 

What members need to do: 

    • Rent/own an instrument or purchase a stick/mallet kit if playing percussion. 
    • Play with a characteristic tone. 
    • Play Concert Major scales from three flats to three sharps. 
    • Read rhythms in simple and compound time signatures 

Who this band is best for: 

    • The ensemble has (must have) a rhythm section (piano and/or guitar, 2+bassists, drum kit, percussion) and is open to 30 woodwind and brass musicians from the Beginner II through Symphonic Bands who would like to begin their exploration of the jazz idiom. 
    • Beginner II musicians who wish to participate are encouraged to contact Patricia Wheeler in order to discuss comfort levels. 

What this band does:  

    • This class continues to develop rhythms, styles, and repertoire endemic to the jazz tradition, in a concert band setting, and is open to the full range of instruments found in a concert band. 
    • Those who participated in the Big Band in the past may find this a fun and challenging next step   
    • Material consists of studies, drills, games, and repertoire modelled after swing and dance band literature, such as that found in the Essential Elements Jazz Ensemble series.  
    • Notated solos are encouraged from all players. 
    • This class will also encourage improvisation. 

What members need to do: 

    • Rent/own an instrument or purchase a stick/mallet kit if playing percussion. 
    • Play with a characteristic tone. 
    • Play Concert Major scales from four flats to four sharps. 
    • Read rhythms in simple and compound time signatures 

Who this band is best for: 

    • This class is based on a traditionally orchestrated Big Band and so has limited instrumentation:  ideally, 5 saxophonists who double on flute, clarinet and double reed, 4 trombones, 4 or 5 trumpets/flugelhorns, and a rhythm section (1 piano and/or 1 guitar, 1 bass, 1 drum set).   
    • This class is for experienced players with knowledge of jazz rhythms, styles and repertoire. 
    • Membership in this class is by audition only and requires a full year commitment. 

N.B. Members of the Jazz Orchestra from 2018-2019 should contact Patricia Wheeler if they wish to audition for this class. 

What this band does:  

    • The JO will play many pieces written for this type of ensemble that can feature more complex rhythms and time signatures, harmonies that include more than four notes (and therefore present increased intonation challenges), blurred lines between “dissonance” and “consonance”, challenging tempos, extended forms such as multi-movement suites, and extensive improvisation. 
    • The term Jazz Orchestra arose out of the desire of traditionally orchestrated Big Bands to play compositions and arrangements designed for listening, not dancing.  
    • Composers, arrangers and performers such as Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, Thad Jones, Bill Evans worked to dispel the (ongoing) myth of Jazz music not being as serious an art form as “classical” (umbrella term encompassing all eras) music, appropriate only for bars and dance halls as opposed to concert venues. 
    • Those who participated in the Jazz Orchestra last year will find this class a continuation of their learning. 
    • This class will require improvisation. 

What members need to do: 

      • Rent/own an instrument or purchase a stick/mallet kit if playing percussion. 
      • Play with a characteristic tone. 
      • Play all Concert Major scales. 
      • Woodwind players are not required to double on other instruments in this class.  
      • Read rhythms in simple and compound time signatures 

Who this class is best for: 

    • Any members who have an interest in learning more about how music is created. 
    • Open to anyone from any band level. 
    • Ideal for those who are just learning how to read music (Beginner I and Beginner II). 

What this class does: 

    • This class will teach members about the staff, note values and rhythms, time signatures, and the construction of Major scales.   
    • This is a non-performance course. 

What members need to do: 

    • Bring writing materials, including staff paper. 
    • Have access to the internet at home for practice.
    • No experience necessary. 

Who this class is best for: 

    • Any members who have an interest in learning more about how music is created. 
    • Open to anyone from any band level. 
    • Ideal for those who can read music and want to learn more about the notes on the page (Concert Band and up). 

What this class does: 

    • This class will teach members about the intervals, chords, the minor scales, modes, and basic part-writing. 
    • Ear training is also a part of this course  
    • This is a non-performance course. 

What members need to do: 

    • Bring writing materials, including staff paper. 
    • Have access to the internet at home for practice.