Howard Payne University’s School of Music and Fine Arts is pleased to announce the formation of the Heart of Texas New Horizons Band in January 2020, as part of the New Horizons International Music Association (NHIMA).

The band is open to adults who are at least 50 years old. No previous musical experience is required. Participation is free, thanks to an initiative by the HPU Department of Music and a grant from the New Horizons International Foundation. An informational meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Dec. 17 in the band room of HPU’s Davidson Music Complex. Classes for beginners will be held on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., starting January 14.

The NHIMA is an initiative seeking to expand music making opportunities for adults. The band will join 215 existing New Horizons Bands in America, Canada and Australia, including seven in Texas.

Stephen Goacher, director of the Heart of Texas New Horizons Band and professor of music at HPU, said, “We are offering a ‘quality of life’ opportunity for seniors of Brownwood and our local communities – the opportunity to greet each day with a meaningful challenge through learning and sharing music.”

Those who would like to know more but are unable to attend the informational meeting may contact Stephen Goacher at (325) 649-8167.

The pilot program for the New Horizons Band grew from a medical experiment by the Rochester Clinic and the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, in 1991 investigating whether senior adults could learn new processes. The experiment proved conclusively that learning never stops and that senior citizens have a great capacity to learn and grow throughout life. The research shows that socialization is an important factor in good health. There is evidence that music making supports good mental and physical health. The mental challenge of learning music is an ideal form of exercise for the brain. Research investigates the link between active music making and wellness. Early studies indicate that music making can reduce depression and increase the strength of the immune system.

Pictured are Heart of Texas New Horizons Band advocates Angie Dees, director of the Brownwood Senior Citizens Center; Dr. Richard Fiese, dean of HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts; Kim Springfield, membership director of the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce; Leesa Stephens, executive director of Good Samaritan Ministries; and Stephen Goacher, director of the Heart of Texas New Horizons Band and professor of music at HPU.