New Horizon Music Studio opens doors to students in Killeen

New Horizon Music Studio is located at 1205 E. Central Texas Expy. in Killeen and offers private and group lessons for instruments including violin, viola, cello and guitar.

Something new is coming to Killeen — a youth orchestra.

This orchestra is being sponsored by New Horizon Music Studio, 1205 E. Central Texas Expressway in Killeen. James Clarkson, owner of New Horizon, is organizing the venture to fill a need for those students who otherwise would have no outlet for their playing.

Currently, there is an orchestra program at Harker Heights High School, but not at Killeen Ellison, Shoemaker, or Killeen High School. Students who participate in the middle school orchestra programs at Union Grove, Nolan Middle School, Liberty Hill and Eastern Hills must get approval from the school district to attend Harker Heights High School in order to play in the orchestra, and it is the responsibility of the parents to transport them to and from the school.

As a result, many of these students may not continue playing their instruments in high school.

Clarkson said he has acquired stringed instruments that will be made available to students who need them. The instruments have been donated by Susan Pascale of Pasadena, Calif. He completed a trip to California in June to pick up the instruments.

Pascale contacted Clarkson in March about procuring the instruments after announcing her retirement as director of the Los Angeles Area Youth Orchestra.

The cost of participating in the orchestra is $65 per month. For those who can pay for the entire semester, the cost is $245. Mr. Clarkson is also in the process of creating a scholarship fund for students who cannot afford the tuition. Clarkson said he does not want the cost to prohibit students from participating in the ensemble.

“As long as the student can get to the rehearsals, they are good to go,” he said.

Clarkson said the program will kick off with auditions sometime in the beginning of September.

Rehearsals will be held in the orchestra room at Liberty Hill Middle School on Tuesdays from 6-7:30 p.m. Additional sectionals may be held on Thursdays.

Clarkson began teaching strings at Liberty Hills and Eastern Hills middle schools in 2005. He recently left his position as assistant string teacher at Harker Heights High School to start the New Horizon Music Studio.

Clarkson said one of his goals is to take the youth orchestra to New York City in 2023 to perform in Carnegie Hall. His more immediate goal is to create a unique musical experience for the students.

“I have to create something different,” Clarkson said. “The experience can’t replicate their school orchestra experience.”

For call 254-245-9751 or email

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