Nursing Homes Swing

Bringing live music to local nursing homes

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New Horizons Band


Joe Tucker has played a range of instruments with many different Charlottesville musicians in Nursing Home Swing performances for many years now. He got the vision for the New Horizons Band when he was in the Army in 1966-67 and was stationed at Walter Reed Army Hospital. He became an unofficial chaplain to the wounded soldiers, who were greatly neglected. He played the guitar, piano and drums for them and began to notice dramatic improvements. After an honorable discharge, Joe started playing music for social change with folk, rock, blues and jazz musicians in the DC area for a couple of years. He then hitchhiked to Santa Cruz, California to become involved with musicians, artists and writers dedicated to helping people of all ethnicities and ages. At Cabrillo College near Santa Cruz he took classes in Peace Studies along with an advanced jazz curriculum emphasizing a positive influence on society. After eight years, Joe returned to DC to practice what he learned in California. Then, moving to Charlottesville to be near his parents, he began to network with elderly musicians to play in the Omni Hotel and other public places.

While serving in several churches as a musician Joe became close friends with several pastors. He was greatly honored when, at Pastor Lester Smith’s suggestion, these pastors agreed to officially ordain him. Joe rented office space on New Life Drive in Ruckersville as a Sanctuary and music studio and named the ministry New Life Horizons. Pastor Smith and his wife, Minister Rosanna Smith, have a ministry on Wednesdays at Trinity Mission with Marsha Howard, who is the church pianist and choir director. They have contributed greatly to the spiritual health of the Charlottesville community for decades.

As part of this work, Joe founded the New Horizons Band, and they have been playing Nursing Home Swing events since 2014. Other members of the group include bassist Bob Bowen, who has a passion for helping the infirm and elderly, as does saxophone and clarinet player Dr. Victor Lee. Drummer Gary Rockwell is a committed educator who has played at the White House in the Army Band and later taught music at Howard University. He is active with several schools in and around Charlottesville. Joe himself might be playing guitar, piano, or his vibraphone at these performances.

New Horizons Band will be playing on July 29th at Monroe Healthcare.

Bringing live music to local nursing homes