Guests at a Cuban resort will be tapping their toes to the beat of one of the Peterborough New Horizons Bands (PNHB) next week.
Going by the name Sunshine Band, 59 members from New Horizons are off to Varadero Monday, to soak up the sun, relax and play some tunes.
And they’re bringing along 50 friends and spouses, too.
PNHB is local non-profit group with 220 members, mostly made up of retirees.
Musicians are spread out between five major concert bands at varying levels, from beginner to expert.
It’s New Horizons’s third trip abroad, having played on a Caribbean cruise in 2012 and in Cayo Coca, Cuba in 2014.
When Earle Henderson joined the band five years ago, he was too late to join the Caribbean cruise.
But he didn’t miss out on the 2014 trip, and was the key organizer for this year’s adventure.
“It’s very exciting. The whole music experience is fun, it brings people together and it’s very rewarding,” said Henderson, who plays the trumpet, trombone and euphonium.
Sunshine Band is playing two concerts at Breezes Varadero Resort, where they’ll also be staying, too.
They play one gig Wednesday night and another Friday evening.
The warmer-weather band started rehearsing in June and is performing 16 pieces ranging from classical to pop.
Along with providing song, bandmates and their travelling companions are also filling their suitcases with items to give to Cubans, such as toiletries and school supplies.
An organization called Horse People Helping Horse People is also donating horse tack for band members to take down and give away.
“As a third world country, they still rely extensively on their horses for everyday transportation and horse tack is in short supply down there – just like everything else is,” said Henderson.
Band member Carol Mutton picked up deodorant, lotions and toothbrushes as well as pens, pencils, notepads, and pencil cases to donate.
“I know that a lot of things like that are scarce,” said Mutton.
Mutton joined New Horizons two years ago and plays the alto saxophone.
She said she’s looking forward to playing with bandmates from other groups within PNHB.
“Not that we haven’t done it, but we certainly haven’t done it in Cuba – that’ll be really different,” Mutton said.
NOTE: For more information on joining Peterborough New Horizons Band, contact Harlene Annett at 705-745-0077 or [email protected]
Jessica Nyznik, The Peterborough Examiner
January 23, 2016