About Us

About Us

The New Horizons Band of Toronto 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 2018-2019 season start September 10th and run until early June. We take a break from mid-December until mid-January. NHBT also offers summer classes at an additional cost.

Weekly schedules are posted in our Band and Events Calendar

Have all the information you need and ready to register your interest?   Join NHBT

Have more questions?  Check out our FAQ

Each band rehearses once per week. The two-hour classes are held at 789 Dovercourt Rd (just north of Bloor), near Ossington TTC station; dates and times are listed below.

We have four 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 (recent or historic ☺)

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 recent 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 as appropriate
  • 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

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 or Symphonic bands, would be a good fit for them. Before registering, call or Contact Donna to find out what openings there might be for your instrument.

Registration for concert band classes is done through Join NHBT for new members and the Members (login required) page for those who are renewing their membership. 

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

You can read more about each music director on the Leadership page

Beginner I Bands   

Daytime: Tuesdays – 10:30am-12:30pm – Garry Page

Evening: Mondays – 7:15-9:15pm – Maggie Thompson

Beginner II Bands

Daytime: Mondays – 1:30-3:30pm – Marianne Spilberg

Evening: Mondays – 7:15-9:15pm – Donna Dupuy

Concert Bands (intermediate level): 

Daytime: Mondays – 10:30am-12:30pm – Marianne Spilberg

Evening: Wednesdays – 7:15-9:15pm – Doug Robertson

Symphonic Bands (advanced level): 

Daytime: Thursdays – 10:30am-12:30pm – Donna Dupuy

Evening: Tuesdays – 7:15-9:15pm – Donna Dupuy

Jazz courses are available to members already participating in concert band:  

 

 This class will introduce and develop rhythms, styles, and repertoire endemic to the jazz tradition, in a concert band setting, and open to the full range of instruments found in a concert band.  Material will consist 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 will not include improvisation, and notated solos will be played by the willing, not the forced. 

The ensemble 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 Concert and 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.

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 drumset).  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. Woodwind players are not required to double on other instruments in this class. 

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.

Registration for Jazz Classes is via the Members page 

New Horizons Big Band (intermediate and advanced level – open instrumentation): 

Daytime: Wednesdays – 10:30am-12:30pm – Patricia Wheeler

Jazz Orchestra (intermediate & advanced levels – limited instrumentation): 

Early evening: Wednesdays – 4:45pm-6:45pm – Patricia Wheeler