ONHB Virtual Bands

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the fall 2020 session will take place online. This page provides information about the virtual bands and some tips for installing and configuring the Zoom application. For those registered for the fall session and not familiar with Zoom, you are encouraged to join one of our free Zoom tutorials on either September 23 or 24. Click here for help with Zoom.

Also, don’t miss our list of useful musical programs near the bottom of this page.

Please note that links to the scores will be sent to registrants by the band leaders the week before rehearsals begin, around September 20.

Key Information Applying to All Band Rehearsals

  • Dates: Eight weeks from September 28 to and including the week of November 23, skipping *Thanksgiving week (*except “Broadway in the Fall” band which will be off November 11 instead)
  • Time: 7:00-8:00 p.m.
  • Location: Zoom meeting online; participants will receive an invitation by email prior to the beginning of each weekly Zoom meeting.
  • Fees: The fee will be $60 for one band with no extra charge for any additional band
  • Refunds: Withdrawal must take place before the third week to receive a full refund minus a $25 administrative charge.
  • Registration: Registration for the fall 2020 virtual session will be open from August 14 to September 13.
  • Concert: Due to the circumstances, there will be no concert.

Description of Bands

Classics with a Twist (Band Leader – Colin Williamson) Mondays 7-8
Concert band, intermediate level

Start your week off right with some of the most beautiful melodies written for the concert band. “Classics with a Twist” will be a musical journey that includes some of the most beloved standards in the band repertoire. All of our music has been selected to lend itself to our remote practices with seamless transitions and just enough twists and turns to keep it interesting for everyone.

These listening links are the final draft picks – the intention is to play the ones that work for the ensemble.

Songs of Earth and Beyond (Band Leader – Felicia Persaud)  Tuesdays 7-8
Concert band, beginner-intermediate level

Songs of Earth and Beyond will take you on a journey that is truly ‘out of this world’. We will work together through at least 4 pieces, covering a variety of styles and exploring different musical concepts. There is a little something for everyone!

These listening links are the final draft picks – the intention is to play the ones that work for the ensemble.

Focus pieces:

For Fun:

Broadway in the Fall (Band Leader – Sheila White)  Wednesdays
6:00 – 7:00: OTown Octaves
7:30 – 8:30: Capital Crescendos

Concert band, intermediate level

A musical tour of Broadway, exploring some of the greatest hits throughout the history of Broadway while enjoying musical selections inspired by the season of Fall. Every rehearsal will also include a run through of a new piece from the collection: Essential Elements Broadway Favorites (Hal Leonard publication) which registrants are asked to purchase in advance.

These listening links are the final draft picks – the intention is to play the ones that work for the ensemble.

Easy Jazz Tunes – Sonic Tonic  (Band Leader – Cathy Wilcox)  Thursdays  7-8
Jazz band, beginner-intermediate level

Come and play singable jazz tunes that percolate with a positive vibe and rich harmonies that are guaranteed to lift your soul!  We will focus on four classic jazz tunes, but include two or three additional tunes for a read-through challenge and change of pace. Registrants are encouraged to purchase Easy Jazz Classics15 Selections for Young Jazz Ensemble (Hal Leonard publication).

These listening links are the final draft picks – the intention is to play the ones that work for the ensemble.

Focus pieces:

From Easy Jazz Classics:

Small ensemble / solo/ bonus pieces to try out – possible read throughs mid-way through session?

  • Splanky (Neil Hefti) (Level 1) piano featured; from First Year Charts – Belwin (Available in Smart Music)
  • Shallow (Level 2) (arr. Paul Murtha) (sax solo)
  • Easy Does It (Erik Sherburne) Level 3 challenge piece – solo for Bb (trumpet/clarinet/tenor)- flex arrangement for small group, flex combo
  • Cute (Hefti, arr. Mike Story) – (Level 2) drum solo

How to Participate in Virtual Band Rehearsals

  1. All rehearsals will be conducted online via the Zoom app.
  2. Members will need to install the Zoom app ahead of time. See below for some tips on installing and configuring Zoom.
  3. Members will be expected to download and print their music from Dropbox.
  4. Typically, band leaders will conduct while playing an MP3 recording of the music. All players will be muted and so won’t be able to hear what others are playing.

Tips for Installing and Configuring Zoom


  • Zoom is available for smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.
  • Ensure that you have downloaded and installed the most recent update.
  • For tablets and smartphones, visit the corresponding app store.
  • For laptop and desktop computers, visit the Zoom download page.

Recommended Audio Settings

It is strongly recommended that you adjust your Zoom settings to optimize them for playing music. Since Zoom is used mostly for voice meetings, the default settings adjust the volume automatically and suppress what Zoom considers to be background noise.  If not changed, these settings will make music cut in and out. Try these settings to optimize playing music over Zoom:

  • After logging in to your Zoom account, click on the Settings button (looks like a cog wheel) in top right corner
  • Click the Audio tab in the left-hand column
    • click the “test speaker” and “test mic” to adjust for your preferences
    • ensure “Automatically adjust microphone volume” box is deselected
    • ensure “Suppress background noise” box is set to LOW
  • Click the Advanced button at bottom right
    • Ensure “echo cancellation” is set to AUTO
    • Ensure “enable original sound” is selected
    • under “when original sound is enabled”, select both “high fidelity music mode” and “use stereo audio”

Tips for Participating in a Zoom Meeting

  • Setting yourself up:
    • Find a quiet place to set up, with a strong WiFi signal (or use an Ethernet cable if you have one to connect to your router). Place your music stand where you can still see your band leader on the Zoom screen while playing your instrument.
    • Click on the Zoom meeting link that you received from your band leader and follow the prompts to join the meeting.
  • During the Zoom rehearsal:
    • Familiarize yourself with the buttons on the bottom of your Zoom screen, particularly with the mute, video and chat options. It is generally recommended to mute your mic when first joining – your band leader will guide you further on this. You have the option to select whether your video is on or off during rehearsal. For more info on Zoom controls, click here.
    • Your band leader will control the music link, allowing you to play along while muted. He/she will not hear you play, nor will the other band members.
    • If you have questions during rehearsal, please use the Chat button.
    • Optional resource – Zoom etiquette guide Top 10 Tips for Good Zoom Hygiene and Etiquette in Education

Useful Musical Applications

Here are some useful musical apps.

  • JamKazam – Play music live and in sync with others from different locations.
  • Sound Jack – A background music system.
  • Tomplay – Play along with real recordings by professional musicians.
  • Play With a Pro – Private online lessons through live video – the guaranteed and most convenient way to unlock your musical potential.


Don’t hesitate to ask for help with any of this. Your fellow musicians and the band leaders may be able to help you. If you have little or no experience with Zoom, haven’t used it for music or are uncertain about the settings or tips provided above, you are encouraged to join one of our free Zoom 101 tutorial led by Sandy Wilkes (ONHB member, electric bass) on either Wednesday September 23 OR Thursday September 24 from 7 – 8pm. Email Sandy directly to sign up.

You can also email the webmaster at webmaster@ottawanewhorizons.com and they will make sure you get the assistance you require to make the most of your online band rehearsals.