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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)
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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.

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 the Southern Maine New Horizons Band almost as soon as it was founded, after meeting Nina at New England Adult Music Camp, and have played with the band off and on ever since. Even though I live about an hour’s drive from Portland, I look forward to attending rehearsals. It’s so enjoyable to work on a broad range of music with a variety of like-minded people under Nina’s skillful, thoughtful, direction. Even though I still get nervous before our concerts, I’m reassured by the New Horizons motto: Your best is good enough.


A love of music was instilled in us by my mother, whose Scots-Irish grandparents were itinerant musicians, and who herself had a beautiful voice and loved to sing. One of my uncles was a part-time professional sax player, and had his own band for many years. Growing up, my sisters and I all sang— in church choirs, in school choruses, and in small ensembles. Following in the footsteps of my older sister, I started taking flute lessons in fifth grade. Until sophomore year in high school I played flute in school bands and orchestras. In college I sang in the chorus and was part of a small ensemble. I didn’t play the flute again except briefly when I was around 30. After I retired from teaching, a music-teacher friend lent me a flute. So I started taking lessons again and found a group of local women my age who formed a small flute choir that lasted a few years. About the same time I started attending New England Adult Music Camp, where I met Nina. Then I signed up for SMNHB, and have been playing, more or less, ever since. 


Besides meeting great people who share a love of music, one of the many benefits of playing with New Horizons is the opportunity to try new things. I’ve been venturing into percussion, which is so totally different from playing a wind instrument and challenging in ways I never expected. I hope to continue learning to play more percussion instruments, and maybe someday, the trombone or another low-bass horn.

Peter Woodrow (clarinet)
Peter Woodrow

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!

Renee Richardson (alto sax)
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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)
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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.

Meet The Band

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