Seniors jam with CASI band

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Every Thursday afternoon, a group meets at the Center for Active Seniors in Davenport for band rehearsal.

The band, called CASI New Horizons Band, is made up of senior citizens, with different levels of experience, but all with a love for music and each other.

If you want a music lesson, take a seat with the CASI New Horizons Band.

“I'm a music teacher originally,” said Eleanor Hunsley.

“You don't know the amount of music that's been played by these people,” said Mary Behrens.

And while you’re there, take note. You might learn more than just how to play a song.

“We started with six people and now we have what you saw here,” said Band Director Bob Gaston.

“They're all close to my age, well I’m probably older than most of them,” said Hunsley.

In each row, from the trombone players down, are stories of why the musicians play with the band.

“Oh I love music, I love music,” said Dick Werner.

“They started one week and I came the next week,” said Hunsley.

“I hadn't played the band since I was in 8th grade and I just decided I wanted to start playing clarinet again and this is the band I wanted to play with,” said Behrens.

They’re all directed by 82-year-old band director, Bob Gaston. Legally blind, he takes his directing job of nineteen years seriously.

“I do most everything from memory. I take the music home, I memorize it and then I work with them,” said Gaston.

But he’s also very serious about making his band laugh.

“If they get uptight, ya know, a little humor involved, they relax and enjoy it,” said Gaston.

“The camaraderie is wonderful in this band,” said Hunsley.

“I just have such a good time at practice, I just sit and goof around and have fun,” said Behrens.

It’s the laughter combined with the love for their playing instruments,

“If we did not have music, I would not exist,” said Hunsley.

“It puts a little jump in your step, ya know, without any music, it would be a flat world,” said Werner.

That brings these musicians back every week.

The band was formed in 1995. They are always looking for new members. They plan to play at the Rock Island Arsenal on Memorial Day.


  • Eleanor

    Thank you for your visit with us. You did a great job putting the presentation altogether in such a short time. Loved it!
    Eleanor Hunsley

    • Brittany Lewis

      Thank YOU so much for chatting with us! We had such a good time watching you practice. I will definitely be back and will try to catch a performance soon!

Comments are closed.