From May 20 to May 22, 105 campers from all over the country came to the University of Dayton for band camp. This wasn’t your average band camp, however. The campers were senior citizens, who all chose to attend in the hopes of learning more about their musical side.
The host of the camp, New Horizons, was founded by Roy Ernst in Rochester, New York in 1991 when he found himself wishing that his retired parents had more challenging and stimulating activities to keep them busy in their later years.
He joked, “They play golf. Watch TV. Then die.”
Rather than passively sit by, he founded New Horizons to provide an alternative solution. His method? Having retirees delve into their musical talent. For some, it is a return to music after a long stretch without it. For others, it is their first time picking up an instrument.
A major component of New Horizons is fostering an environment with no stress and no competition. Ernst says it allows the musicians to truly express themselves.
In addition, the atmosphere fosters learning.
According to Ernst, a common attitude amongst campers is, “I don’t know if I can do this. But I want to try.” The people who are there, Ernst says, are willing working towards their goal which helps create camaraderie amongst participants.
And this closeness often means making new and lasting friendships when they return to their hometown, often in different states or countries.
Truly, new horizons.