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New Horizons Band performance floats on in Colton

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COLTON - Members of the New Horizons Band converted a section of the Raquette River, specifically Higley Flow in Colton, into a own concert hall of sorts on late Wednesday afternoon.

Trumpets, French horns, flutes and a host of other instruments could be heard along the water as a “Floating Band Concert” was performed on pontoon boats in the Big Bay near Cottage Road in the town. The special event was sponsored by the Higley Association.

Approximately 25 musicians divided into four boats tied together were involved in the concert.

Band member Jim Monroe, who plays the French horn and is an aficionado of ragtime and swing, was thrilled with the turnout and intrigued by the unique experience.

“Hundreds of people saw it but we also had many boats. Some had eight or nine people on them, they were like party boats. I think we’ll do it again, it was a fantastic event. Judy Fuhr did a fantastic job. We pulled this thing together in a week. Without her, I don’t think we would have had the turnout we did,” Mr. Monroe said.

“We’ve played on the green in Norwood and in a parade in Norwood. We’ve played in Potsdam, Canton, and Ogdensburg, Colton, just lots of places. I’ve only been part of the band for two years so that’s just where I have played. We had not (played on the water.) We had four of the donated barges and different people donated them. Jerry Pethic, John Snell, Hank Ford, and Roger Duscharm were the donators of the party boats. We lashed the four party boats together.”

Roland Wood, chairman of the group’s Publicity Committee, and the Director/Conductor Ron Berry shared Mr. Monroe’s enthusiasm with the very different type of experience.

“It was awesome. It was fantastic. It went well except one guy lost his music book in the water because of the wind and someone lost some sheets of music. But the kayakers came to the rescue,” Mr. Wood said. “I had never done anything like that. A lot of people were nervous to do it but once we got started everyone was having fun. We’re really looking forward to doing it again.”

“It was a very encouraging turnout. We had big boats, little boats, kayaks and people just hanging out listening to the music. This was a unique experience. It was a first for us. I’ve never tried it before with any other group. One thing was that it was a challenging position trying to get everyone seeing the conductor,” Mr. Berry added.

The New Horizons Band is a group that plays many types of music, according to Mr. Monroe.

“The band is for anybody that wants to play in a band. You can come in and start playing. It’s sponsored by The Crane School of Music in Potsdam, which is a great program. Anyone can join if they come when we practice, which is Mondays from 8 to 10 a.m.,” he said.

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