The Feather Fiesta Days Concerts

It is possible that gigs for the city of Oroville and the Chamber of Commerce in 1994 and 1995 may have been forerunner performances during Feather Fiesta Days. Beginning May 1996, though, the band began participating regularly in Oroville’s Feather Fiesta Days celebration. 

Jim Christensen, as he has done for most of our local concerts, worked it out to perform these on Thursday evenings, the same time as our regular rehearsals.  This scheduling strategy has minimized the amount of time our volunteer band members spend away from home.

Fiesta Days 2000

May, 2000
Feather Fiesta Days at Sank Park.

From 1996 – 2002 our Feather Fiesta Day performances were held outdoors in downtown Oroville’s Sank Park, except for 1999?, when we played in Martin Luther King, Jr. Park.  At Sank Park, the band sat under the arbor, and the audience sat nearby in city-provided chairs, or in chairs they brought on their own.

The seating was similar at MLK Park, except the band played in the band shell.  That year, we  had hoped to attract some of the senior folks that lived in the trailer community adjacent to MLK Park.  The next year we returned to Sank Park. 

The natural evening light at the outdoor concerts always faded before we were through performing.  There was some electric lighting at each place, but it never seemed strong enough for many musicians, so some band members regularly brought extension cords, clamp lights, and lamp poles for better illumination.

Once in our new location at Southside Oroville Community Center, Jim arranged that all our future “Fiesta Days” concerts, beginning May 2003, be held inside the Center for better lighting, bug protection, and seating for larger audiences.  Band leadership also determined that these concerts might be better “served” and attended if refreshments were provided, so band members have contributed refreshments and goodies.

We lost the use of Southside Oroville Community Center the end of May of 2012 (see chapter 11: REHEARSAL FACILITIES).  After performing for the Butte County Library’s 100th anniversary at the Oroville branch spring of 2013, we liked the acoustics, and performed Feather Fiesta Days 2013 there.

When asked why the local paper has barely advertised our contribution to the Feather Fiesta activities over the years, we were told it was because our performances have not been in “downtown” Oroville.

Oroville's County Library being under repairs the spring of 2014, we performed at a  new place that year, the lawn behind the old County Courthouse (BCOE today.)

The Oroville Christian School (OCS) Concerts

The OCS Music ProgramConcerts are fund-raisers in loving memory of OCS teachers Marlys and Bill Henneker, former members of OCC or OCCB.  An early event goal was to build what would become the Bill and Marlys Henneker Media Building, which would also house the music program.

The concerts were initially established by the school and dedicated to the memory of Marlys Henneker, a twenty-year teacher at OCS who died in 1999.  Marlys was a chorus member in 1993 and 1994.  Bill Henneker, a retired elementary school band director and OCCB trumpet player from June of 1992, was the volunteer OCS band leader when his wife Marlys, died.  Late in 2000, Bill also passed away.  The school then dedicated the concerts to both OCS teachers.  OCCBand willingly volunteers to perform for our Bill and his wife, Marlys.

Bandsmen Jim Christensen and Kevin Bertis volunteered to help keep the OCS music program afloat with Bill gone.  Soon, OCCBand member, Laurel Ferretti, volunteered to lead full time, and the OCS band torch was passed to her for the 2001-02 school year.   In April 2007 Laurel offered her own words on the story.

I met Bill in the fall of 1999 when I was teaching 5th grade mornings at Oroville Christian School (OCS).  All fifth graders at OCS are required to take band, and it was taught in the mornings.  I didn’t have any band experience so I thought, ‘If 5th graders can do it, so can I’.  I fell in love with the band and learned so much from Bill.  He had volunteered his time for several years after he had retired from Paradise Elementary School.  Bill introduced me to the Community Band.  He had been a member since [1992].

My kids and I had no idea that we would only have Bill for a year and a half.  He suffered a heart attack at thanksgiving in 2000 and died a month later.  His wife, Marlys, had died a year before.  She had taught at OCS for 20 years.

Without Bill, the OCS band program would have come to a screeching halt if Jim Christensen had not stepped in.  He rearranged his work schedule so... he could come and lead advanced band every morning at 7:30.  He encouraged me, and we made it through to the end of the school year.  … Kevin Bertis came every Friday morning to direct the band for chapel. After that, I felt like I had enough experience to attempt to keep the program going.  [It's] been six years and the program is still going strong.  Without these wonderful people in my life, I might have never discovered the joy of band for myself and family.”

The efforts of all concerned since 1999 have paid off.  During the October 2009 OCS Concert, visitors viewed the large, under-construction, multi-use room and music facility, currently referred to as the Bill and Marlys Henneker Media Building.  The building was completed and opened for OCS Band use on 7 April 2010.  OCCBand continues to support the OCS music program with our concerts.  Proceeds from concerts now go toward the OCS Band Fund.

NEXT: Rehearsal Facilities and Uniforms