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In 2021, Music Compound launched a new program: the Gulf Coast New Horizons Concert Band. The Concert Band – which enables former and current players ages 50+ to enjoy a formal playing opportunity while also making friends – has been steadily growing over the past couple of years. Now the group is taking its next step: public performances.

Currently, the band – led by David DeWitt – has 15 members, playing instruments such as flute, clarinet, alto and tenor saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone, euphonium and percussion. The group is learning compositions adapted from popular songs, such as “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars, “Circle of Life” (from “The Lion King”), and “Phantom of the Opera,” tunes that will be accessible and known to audience members.

In addition to weekly classes where participants learn musical compositions together, group and private lessons are available through Music Compound, with discounts for Gulf Coast New Horizons members. Upcoming public performances include the Sarasota Art Museum on March 10, Senior Friendship Center on March 18, and an end-of-season concert at Music Compound on March 27.

Since its founding in 2016, Music Compound has been a place where members of all ages can learn to sing and play music – or further hone existing skills – and make friends, becoming a community where a love of music is the common thread. The Gulf Coast New Horizons Concert Band aligns perfectly with Music Compound’s mission and programmatic offerings.

DeWitt, who has been with Music Compound since 2018, is a longtime educator and band director and, since his retirement in 2016, he has been one of the area’s most in-demand brass players in the region. Bringing the Concert Band to Music Compound was his idea and he’s very pleased with the program’s progress so far.

“I have been very excited to see the growth and progress of the band,” DeWitt said. “Once they get involved, our participants have stuck with it and all seem to love having the opportunity to make music as part of a group again. We’re happy to welcome new members to the group at any point – all are welcome!”

Rehearsals take place at Music Compound (1751 Cattlemen Rd., Sarasota) on Thursdays from 10 a.m.-noon. While all players ages 50+ are welcome, DeWitt notes that he would particularly welcome instruments such as oboe, bass clarinet, baritone sax and tuba.

“We have enjoyed and appreciated having the Gulf Coast New Horizons Concert Band here at Music Compound. I’ve seen the participants improve musically while also developing friendships cemented through a common love of music,” said Music Compound owner Jenny Townsend. “Learning and playing in such a group fills important needs for adults, including intellectual stimulation, socializing as part of a group, and the anticipation of exciting events.”

The Gulf Coast New Horizons program is affiliated with the New Horizons International Music Association, Inc. New Horizons Music programs provide entry points to music making for adults, including those with no musical experience as well as those who were active in school music programs but have been inactive for a while.

“Before moving to Sarasota, I had played in a concert band and in flute choirs. I took a few years off and missed playing music so I was really excited when I learned about New Horizons,” said flutist Sue Rupp. “It turned out to be a friendly, welcoming group and Dave DeWitt, the director, is a great teacher. Most importantly, we have fun!”

The group is seasonal, ending in late March or early April; it will kick off the 2024-2025 season in October of 2024. For more information or to inquire about joining the group, visit or call (941) 379-9100.