Meet The Band
Ann Babbitt (trumpet, french horn)
I joined the band about 4 years ago. I played french horn in high school and one year of college, then didn’t play much for years. I came back to it about eight years ago, then took up trumpet a few years ago.
I am retired from the medical field and enjoy some sports and outdoor projects. I love New Horizons and have attended several of their seminars, which have been very interesting. I like that they support senior and beginner musicians.
Bill Briggs (clarinet)
I joined the band in August of 2019. I was a total newbie to clarinet, having started playing just 4 months before.
I'd thought about learning clarinet ever since I fell in love with Dixieland and jazz clarinet four decades ago. I started learning to play clarinet in May 2019, right before I retired from teaching high school chemistry. I joined the band about four months later. I felt totally over my head at first, but it was fun also, and it helped me progress much faster on clarinet. I played piano as a kid, and later flute, so I knew how to read music already, which helped. Learning the clarinet has been a challenge, but I love it. And, making music with other people is so much more fun.
I was very much a beginner clarinet player when I joined the band, but felt very welcomed, encouraged, and supported. Playing with the band has helped me grow so much in my musical abilities, plus it’s really fun. Rehearsal has become one of the highlights of my week.
Rosanne Graef (percussion)
I play percussion - mostly bells. I joined as a Charter Member, in September, 2017.
I took piano and organ lessons from around age 7 until the end of high school. In 7th grade our school had a band that was started by Starbird Music. I played glockenspiel mostly, but some bass drum and timpani as well. I attended Gorham High School, which had a marching band that traveled all day on Memorial Day doing parades in the various sending towns. When I started playing concert bells instead of marching with the instrument, the most challenging change was playing with two hands! I have never studied music theory or history. The only music course I ever took was one semester of music appreciation in college.
Getting to play all sorts of instruments is the most fun part of percussion when you're older. It keeps you learning and really paying attention. However, it can also be kind of nerve-wracking at times since it seems we are so loud and making a mistake is really obvious.
I spent 5 years in the Air Force as a cryptologic linguist, stationed most of the time in West Berlin, Germany. I really enjoy languages - foreign and English, too. Most of my professional career was spent as a middle school teacher of science, math and computer applications. I graduated from Hofstra University and went to graduate school at the University of Maine. Aside from playing percussion I like gardening, our 5 cats, sewing and knitting when I'm in the mood, and reading, mostly non-fiction.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of New Horizons is meeting and getting to know people who have interests in common to talk about and do together.
Christephor Gilbert (flute)
I play Flute, Piccolo, and Piano. I joined the band in January or February of 2020.
I have played the flute since 4th grade, and the piano since I was 6 years old! As the story goes, my older brother was taking piano lessons at the time. After listening to him play for a while, and after he got up from the piano bench, I sat down and started playing from ear what he had been rehearsing.
By the time I got to high school, I was seriously studying both instruments (private lessons, theory classes in a preparatory program through the University of Louisville in Kentucky (where I was born and raised), band camp, band and orchestra, solo and ensemble competitions. However, right before my junior year I had to choose (a time and money decision) and switched to focus on piano exclusively.
I went to college intending to major in piano performance, but switched to theatre and dance once I realized that the music program wouldn’t offer the performance experiences I hoped to have (and I was drawn more to acting and choreography than music). I continued to play in a small ensemble, and would often end up playing flute or recorder in various drama productions. I even learned the clarinet for one show!
From that point on, music was ancillary to my other performing (yet my piano skill and ability to read music came in hand when choreographing to classical music or working on musical theatre productions). Once I became a member of a Lutheran congregation in Louisville, I began to play both flute and piano more regularly as part of our service music.
For the majority of my working life I was employed in various positions with professional and community theatre and dance companies, and ran my own dance theatre ensemble, Jan Street Dance Theatre, from 2007-2010. At the same time (because performing arts, especially dance, are hard to make a living at) I worked in retail management for various companies including Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, the Gap, Barnes & Noble, and Bloomingdales. In 2009 I transitioned into non-profit arts management working for the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. In 2015 I discerned a call to professional ministry and returned to school earning a Master of Divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. In the fall of 2019 I accepted a call to serve as pastor of St. Ansgar Lutheran Church in Portland.
I have been delighted to return both to flute and to ensemble music performance with New Horizons. The joy of playing was not just in honing my skill: for me, music comes alive in community. I appreciate the open and affirming way that New Horizons rehearsals unfold, and how making music (rhythm, dynamics, mood/feel) is taught and reinforced. Having a broad repertoire to work on, paired with the positive reinforcement from Nina and members of the band, was key to igniting my reinvestment in flute performance (including some private lessons and a new flute). I’m getting better every week and enjoying the process!!
Jim Belanger (clarinet)
I joined in January, 2018. I learned to play clarinet in 5th grade and played through high school. I operate a family-run payroll service based in Portland.
Judith McKernan (flute & sometimes percussion)
I joined a couple of years ago.
I’ve participated in band camp and taken occasional lessons. I’m a former French teacher. I love playing music with other people. I’m SO happy that Nina started New Horizons in Maine.
Peter Woodrow (clarinet)
I joined the band in 2018--taking up the clarinet at age 70! It can be done. Before joining New Horizons, I mostly sang in choirs and musicals since high school. It's great being in the band to have others to play with. I’m a retired non-profit administrator and researcher in the peace / conflict / development / humanitarian assistance nexus. I continue to do some facilitation/mediation, training/teaching, consulting and volunteer board service.
Robert Pantel (tuba & euphonium)
I play Tuba & Euphonium (Bass Clef). I started playing with the band in the Spring session of 2018.
In the 1960’s I played trumpet in the Fallsburg Central (NY) Junior High Band. I played Euphonium in the Fallsburg Central (NY) High School Symphonic Band. In the 1980’s & 1990’s I played Euphonium in the Lyme (NH) Town Band and the Mad Bavarian Brass Band, and performed in amateur musical theater, including Fiorello, in Pottstown, PA and The Country Revels in Lyme, NH. Other than some instrumental lessons in public school, I have no musical education. My professional/work background is in Civil, Structural, Environmental, & Marine Engineering, and Land Surveying. I also worked as a Journeyman Electrician.
Other interests include: Volunteer Monitor Skipper for Maine Island Trail Association, Search Team Member with Pine Tree Search & Rescue; Trail work Leader for the Maine Chapter Appalachian Mountain Club and Maine Appalachian Trail Club; Motorcycling; Hiking; Skiing; Hunting; and Fly Fishing. Grandchildren also bring joy to my life.
Playing instrumental music with our Southern Maine New Horizons Band has enriched my life through the enjoyment of playing in a group and has led to me meeting some very dear new friends. It has spurred me to attend three sessions of New England Adult Music Camp here in Maine and to play in the Maine Bicentennial Parade Marching Band. I also recently broadened my musical scope and increased the fun by taking up the tuba!
Larry Rapaport (trumpet)
I'm a newbie with the band, having recently moved here from New York.
I began playing trumpet in high school . When I taught middle school I rehearsed and played with the students. As a retiree, I played with the American Legion and Police Auxiliary, 2 community college concert bands, a Tito Puente band and a church musical theatre group. With limited opportunities recently, I hope to get back in shape.
I've been a middle school reading, English, and science teacher with computer technology thrown is as well. I've tried my hand at classical guitar with limited success and I love classical music and jazz.
I found a warm welcome at New Horizons and want to contribute to the musical life here.
Renee Richardson (alto sax)
I joined the band in the fall of 2022.
I started playing clarinet in the 6th grade, and continued until about 2020. I studied privately in high school, played in the HS band, and enjoyed playing chamber music at the annual Solo & Ensemble Festival. I majored in music education at the University of Rhode Island and taught music and band for 44 years, retiring in June of 2022..
I'm enjoying discovering a new instrument with SMNHB, and working as an Ed Tech at Pleasant Hill primary school in Scarborough.
The band has kept music in my life! I'm so happy to have this because I do miss band so much since retiring.
Ellen Klain (flute)
I joined the band in 2020, but I've played flute since 3rd grade, playing in band and orchestra. I played quartets with different instruments and was in a flute choir for many years.
I'm a Landscape Gardener and Designer- Semi Retired. I love biking, hiking, swimming, natural history, anything that brings me outdoors.
I very much enjoy being part of a concert band and meeting the different players.