Ottawa New Horizons Band

The Ottawa New Horizons Band Program encourages a passion for music and supports our members who are courageous enough to try something new and share the joy of music with our community.


The New Horizons program was conceived by Dr. Roy Ernst at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, to provide entry points to music making for adults with no musical experience or with skills from their youth. The first New Horizons Band was formed in Rochester New York in 1991 and today, there are more than 100 similar programs in the United States, Canada, Australia and Ireland.

The Ottawa New Horizons Band was formed in January 2008. The program was initiated by Cathy Wilcox, an elementary school music teacher, and an active member of Dominion-Chalmers United Church (DCUC). Cathy was inspired to propose to the DCUC Council that she spearhead an outreach program offering a weekly band/orchestra for adults. She envisioned eventually providing opportunities for the band members to perform from time to time at church social functions and services and also at seniors’ residences and other community locations. The program has expanded to include adult concert bands and jazz bands, learning and performing in an atmosphere of respect and fun.