Eastman - Rochester New Horizons Music
The Birthplace of New Horizons. Founded in 1991 by Dr. Roy Ernst, Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY
Allan Millikan: French Horn
In 1927 I was born at Charleston, WVA, the industrial pollution center of Appalachia. By the time I started elementary school we were living in Ashland, KY (a small city of 30,000 on the Ohio river) its only non-hillbilly claim to industry being a large ARMCO steel mill and the main office and refinery of Ashland Oil (to become Valvoline). With this environment you might think I would have been doomed to rural Appalachian outlook on life. But not so. My mother and father were from the higher levels of Chicagoland (River Forest and Evanston) and more importantly both graduates from Oberlin College. This background was of profound effluence on my world view. (I was to enter Oberlin as the 7th generation of Millikans, still 16 years old, during the early years of World War II). My introduction to perfoming instrumental music was in the sixth grade with a Schmidt single F french horn that my father had received as a present in 1915 from his father. Going up through high school I was first horn in a section with another horn and two mellophones. We weren't very good but we tried even though the lead alto sax stole all of the melodies for horn that I could play. I didn't like playing horn with its small mouthpiece as we marched on Ashland's roughly cobbled streets--
so I avoided it by being drum major.
My parents urged me to do summer school and thus I arrived at Oberlin while still sixteen years old. What a shock! The academic level was extremely tough even for a highschooler graduating third in class. My grades for the first three terms averaged C's. There were distractions as well---one of which was music. During the war years, enrollment was sparse in orchestral instrument players; the conservatory could only supply two (female) horn majors. I got empressed to play third horn in the Oberlin Conservatory orchestra (which these days occasionally plays Carneige Hall, NYC). We still lacked a fourth horn--an 84 year old retired English professor was enticed to fill the fourth section seat. Pretty ironic since I now at 86 am a utility horn player (4th to 1st)
in three New Horizon Bands.
I then left for the Navy for the next three terms. When the wars was over, I returned to a peace time Oberlin College. The "con" was fully populated with skilled orchestral players and I, a nerdy college chemistry major who ended up taking his organic chemistry lab partner as wife, graduated with a B+, got an MS in chemistry at Purdue University, became an employee of the then-glorious Eastman Kodak Co., raised a family with four great kids, designed the first of three houses, and passed through a fifty three year layoff from horn playing, retired after thirty five years as a Sr. Research Associate and member of the company Scientific Committee. My first wife passed away in the last decade of my Kodak career and I married Beth Hovey in 1977. We skied, birded, and RV'd many places. In 1986 I took early retirement (sort of seeing the decreasing viability of EK Co). Still not a toot on the french horn until----. In 1999 we attended a performance of the Victor Community Band at a concert in the park. As we left I mentioned to Beth that I could probably play horn again; she urged me to become involved. I borrowed a school horn, and the bug bit again after 53 years. Within six months I had my own horn again; a good friend from the Unitarian church who played trumpet in the ROC.NewHorizons Band urged me to try New Horizons. Now thirteen years later I still play in the Victor Community Band, plus in the NHB Green Band, Concert Band and Full Band. I am enthusiastic with the joy, pleasure, and benefits of doing so.