Summit Terrace Band

Final Concert March 19, 2018

Summary By PNHB President, Lorna Verlust

On behalf of Peterborough New Horizons Bands, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the Government of Ontario and its Senior's Secretariat grant. This grant allowed PNHB to reach out into the community and bring the joy of learning music to a group of young at heart Senior's from Summit Terrace.

Cathy Brown- Payne took the lead on writing the grant application and coordinating all the stands, books, instruments and then organizing a team of mentors from within PNHB to work one on one with these seniors in their residence.

Sal Castiglione, one of PNHB's 5 conductors, volunteered to take on this unique initiative and he led this band of new musicians with skill, compassion and humour.

The grant provided a growth and learning opportunity that brought the joy of music to both the seniors at Summit Terrace and the mentors from PNHB. PNHB put smiles on seniors’ faces through music.

The project culminated in a " standing room only" concert at Summit Terrace where our new musicians performed several pieces. The joy of music filled the room and the smiles and pride on these seniors faces were wonderful to see.

I am thrilled with the outcome of this pilot initiative supported by the Ontario Government's commitment to The Arts. The Smiles for Seniors project was a huge success. So successful that some of the participating residents have chosen to join our main band.

??? Maybe add an appreciation for the support of Summmit Terrace staff ???

The Early Days

Members of the PNHB were excited when they learned about the "Putting Smiles on Seniors Faces" project and the roster of volunteer mentors was quickly filled.

Coordinator Cathy Brown-Payne purchased instruments, music instruction books and music stands and brought all to the first session on Monday October 16th. We met in the recreation room at Summit Terrace: 10 particpants, 20 mentors, conductor Sal and Cathy. Sal and Cathy matched the participants with instruments and mentors. After a short practise session with the mentorsand a brief break, the whole band asssembled to play music led by Sal.

Following weekly 2 hour sessions followed this pattern until the final concert in March.

So that the Seniors could practise between sessions, the instruments (trumpets, trombones, flutes, clarinets, euphoniums and a percussion) practice pad resided at Summit Terrace from then until the concert in March.

The seniors embraced the challenges of learning to play instrumnets for the first time: all practised and overcame them within a couple of weeks. Sal patiently led them in the skills of reading music and playing together as a band.

The experiences are wonderfully recorded in a poem that percussionist Bev presented at the final concert, shown on the right.

Mentors at work

Jane and Ray

Harlene and


Two videos

These recorded interviews were taken four weeks into the program.

To see how happy and excited two of the seniors and their mentors, please click on the pictures below.

Renee and Kathleen
Harlene and Guy

So enthusiastic were the Summit Terrace Green Band members, that they carried on meeting as a band weekly during the Christmas break. They were conducted by a resident who was a piano player.

Summit Terrace invited the organizers and mentors from PNHB to two wonderful dinners.

And finally, the March concert was a great joy, success and achievment by the members.

Three of the particpants joined the PNHB Green Band for the remainder of the year.

Conductor's Notes by Sal Castiglioni

Sal Castilignioni For me as a Conductor the whole project was inspiring from the start and from the start I felt that not only we could bring smiles to the seniors taking the program but that we could actually learn a lot from them. I was not disappointed.

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Coordinator's Notes by Kathy Brown-Payne

Kathy Brown-Payne In June ???, I was thrilled to hear that our project, "Putting Smiles on People's Faces", had been approved for an Ontario Senior's Secretaria grant. The project was a delight from the beginning to the end. The grant was sufficient to pay a conductor and to buy instruments, music stands and books for the 10 participants.

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Birth of Summit Band with a reluctant drummer

by Summit Terrace Band Percussionist, Bev

It was the early fall and I was checking mail
When Jillian popped in with an interesting detail
“We’ve been chosen,” she exclaimed,” and all I need are ten”
That’s wonderful I said, For what and who and when?
A band, a Summit band, and it begins quite soon
I shared her joy, and wished her well and left her in the room.

But she’d not finished with the story of the band
Would I be part of it she asked, reaching out her hand
Me? I cannot read a single note and I don’t have the air
to play an instrument that I must blow. “N0 I would not dare”

She paused for but a moment and suggested a percussion
“A drum?“ I said, “why that’s outlandish not open for discussion”

SO when I told my family that I’d taken up the snare
My grandkids wondered if I’d done it only on a dare

Would Nana hit the road, with headband and tattoos
In Summit van, smoking pot and sporting wild hairdos
Would rocking chair be left behind for rocking Nana Mac
The scene was getting wilder and they wanted Nana back

The band was energetic and each one had a mentor
Mine was Sandy, but I was her tormentor
Patiently she wondered why I played at pause and paused at play
I didn’t have an answer. I just confuse that way

And drummers have a language that I had trouble learning
Rudiments, Flams, Fulcrum, Paradiddle, left my stomach churning
The first few sessions were just noise as everyone was new
Could this become a band? Did Sal wonder too?

The halls of Summit Terrace were filled with practice notes
Would I be evicted as I drummed Bill Grogan’s Goat?
It’s said new skills are healthy for mind and heart and soul
Did I have the neurons firing to play a march or rock and roll

Well here we are, your concert band of people over seventy
We’re young and full of life and joy and certainly tenacity
We proved again that age is not a time to rest upon our laurels
Find a skill you never had, say scuba dive to find rare corals

Thank you, New Horizons, for your full commitment
For each of us has found a personal fulfillment
Rolling Stones has failed to hear us, but it’s just a bit of time
Until they see that Twitter has caught us at our prime

Before we paint the Summit van in psychedelic colours
Fill it with our instruments and spread the word to others
We’ll tour the land and have the youth take notice of our beat
Age is just a number and with goals—life is ever sweet.