We are entering an exciting era with PMAC’s New Horizons Bands: This is our twentieth year of building community through the arts! One way we are celebrating is by adding longtime teaching artist Virginia (Ginna) Macdonald as the first ever Assistant Director!

You may already know Ginna from her many years at PMAC (she’s been teaching and performing in the Seacoast community for 15 years!) and we are so excited for her new role with the bands. Ginna has a degree in Music Education and started her career teaching high school band. Shortly after, she decided to pursue a career as a Music Therapist. Ginna is not new to New Horizons Bands. In fact, she has played in them to learn oboe and strengthen her skills on the flute! As Assistant Director, Ginna will be helping with rehearsals, conducting some pieces, and will lead the Friday morning mini-rehearsals.

The New Horizons Bands are a special place here at PMAC.

They are an entry point to group music-making for adult beginners and a comfortable re-entry point for adults who played music in school and would like to resume after long years of building careers and raising children. The New Horizons community is a wonderful and supportive place to learn an instrument. We are so excited for Ginna to help us continue that!


What are the PMAC New Horizons Bands, you ask? Great question!

The New Horizons International Music Association was first established in 1991 by Dr. Roy Ernst at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. The goal of New Horizons groups is to create an entry point to group music-making for adult beginners and a comfortable re-entry point for adults who played music in school and would like to resume after long years of building careers and raising children. The Portsmouth New Horizons Band at Portsmouth Music and Arts Center began in 2003, led by Russ Grazier, PMAC co-founder.

“I remember reading about the New Horizons Bands before Russ started his, because there was a big thesis about the program that Dr. Ernst wrote. But what I love is that as kids we are expected to progress, progress, progress and aim for the highest we can get. But as adults, we have a lot of other things going on. Their motto is ‘‘your best is good enough.’ All you have to do is show up, be present, and make music with your friends.”

Ginna Macdonald
Trombone players in the PMAC New Horizons Band

Picture this: you dust off that old trombone (you know, the one you haven’t thought about for the past 37 years) and show up to a rehearsal full of other adults like you. Adults that are brushing up their skills on their old high school instrument, or maybe are learning a third instrument. Are you nervous? Maybe… you haven’t buzzed into that mouthpiece in nearly four decades! But you go anyway, excited for your new endeavor. After looking around, you realize that you are not alone! Every person in that room is there to make music and have fun. And every person in that room is ready to do their best and learn something new. Do you play every note? Probably not. But you make music! You are now part of something amazing. You are once again a musician in a band, full of other adult learners just like you.

Registration for the PMAC New Horizons Bands is now open to adults of all skill levels!

Percussionists from PMACs New Horizons Band smiling and waving "hello!"

Rehearsals meet Tuesdays 7:00-9:00pm and an optional rehearsal Fridays 10:30-11:30am.

Need a little extra guidance? The PMAC New Horizons Beginning Band rehearses Tuesdays 11:00-12:00pm.

Membership to either band is $205/semester, but to celebrate 20 years of PMAC’s New Horizons Band, new members can register for only $99.

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