Beyond the Horizon
"Beyond the Horizon" is the title of the song that Mr. Gold, FLEC Band Teacher, challenged the 2019-2020 Wind Ensemble to learn and perform for the 2020 Spring Concert. When the pandemic hit last year, the Wind Ensemble was never able to perform the song they had grown to love and worked so hard to learn. Well, earlier this month, 29 out of the 34 students from the 2019-2020 Wind Ensemble came together to surprise Mr. Gold with the opportunity to perform "Beyond the Horizon."

Click here or on the image above to see the video recording of the surprise and performance. Special thanks to the DeForest family for providing the video.
"Getting the Band Back Together Again"
As many Wind Ensemble parents can attest, the students loved this piece, "Beyond the Horizon." So many hours of practice were put in and it was such a huge disappointment for all when they were not able to perform it for Spring Concert in 2020. As the new school year began, the students just couldn't get over their missed opportunity and kept talking about it amongst themselves. One day, April DeForest overheard her son talking to friends about how they wanted to get everyone back together and surprise Mr. Gold. The idea was born and April texted a few band moms to find out if there would be any interest in "getting the band back together again." The result was an overwhelming YES! Although a third of the 2019-2020 Wind Ensemble group had graduated and moved on to various schools, within a day or two later a separate high school group text was started. The response was again an overwhelming YES!

While there was plenty of interest, there were still plenty of hurdles along the way to making this a possibility. Mrs. Gold "stole" the music, Paul Lower opened up the FLA band practice room in the evenings and Jim Riesen led the rehearsals. Practices began after Spring Break and the group met 4 nights a week for three and a half weeks. Everyone was excited and dedicated, even the FLEC alumni! The surprise performance and slideshow was set to be at FLA's Schmidt Auditorium and Mrs. Gold had devised a plan to get Mr. Gold there, then had to quickly devise another plan when Mr. Gold cancelled the babysitter for the evening.

The night of the performance, 29 out of the original 34 students in the 2019-2020 Wind Ensemble showed up. Jim Riesen ceremoniously handed the baton to Mr. Gold so he could FINALLY conduct this group and perform the song they worked so hard on together.
The Impact of a Teacher
One thing that was clear after the event was the impact Mr. Gold has had on his students, past and present.
"When I heard that we would have a chance to play with the former Wind Ensemble group I was filled with joy. Last year when the spring concert was canceled due to COVID, I along with many other students, was devastated at the thought of never being able to perform 'Beyond the Horizon.' Since it was my eighth grade year, I didn’t even think there was a possibility for me to play it the next year. I’m very grateful to all the parents who made our surprise for Mr. Gold possible and for Mr. Gold inspiring us students to truly enjoy playing our instruments. Being in Wind Ensemble is a memory I will cherish.

Karen Landers
FLEC Alumni - Class of 2020
Getting to Know the Teacher
This is Mr. Gold's fifth year teaching at FLEC. He enjoys FLEC for its professional environment and that he is able to specialize in band. Band is his PASSION! He loves band culture, being around people who play instruments, watching students progress from not knowing anything about an instrument to becoming full-on band geeks in just a few years. "I enjoy the special musical moments that we get to share, not just in performance, but every day in rehearsal, as well."

A couple fun facts about Mr. Gold is that he enjoys hockey and has a small hobby farm in his backyard.
Mr. Gold's perspective on the surprise upon walking into Schmidt Auditorium:

"There was clearly an event going on, but we sneakily poked our heads into the doors to get a glimpse of the remodel. Everything was dark until suddenly, a video flashed across the screen. It took a surprising number of pictures of my face (about 4 or 5) before I realized that something was afoot. I was very confused, but Olivia wouldn’t give me any clues. When the lights came on, the room was full of students and parents cheering. I was in shock. I still couldn’t really comprehend what was going on until Jim Riesen handed me a baton and told me I would get to conduct 'Beyond the Horizon,' the piece we never got to perform last year. Getting to perform with the 2019-2020 Wind Ensemble one last time was an experience I never thought I would have. Those students were and are the leaders who helped make our band program what it is today, and not getting a final performance with them last year hurt. They are a special group of kids, and the fact that they would go through all of this trouble so we could play one piece of music together shows just how incredible they really are. I’ll never forget what they did for me that night, but even more, I’ll never forget the joy that we experienced each time we were together. I am grateful to them and to everyone involved that we got to share that joy one last time."
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Forest Lake Education Center
1275 Learning Loop
Longwood, FL 32779