Eric Zancanella, Don Poetker, Bob Christensen
in rehearsal, July 1994

Band Rehearsal Facilities At Thermalito

OCCBand utilized a variety of rehearsal places over the years.  Our size, 45-55 folks, and sound, required a large facility.  First practices began May 1992 in the Feather River Recreation District’s Nelson Avenue Recreation Center (now demolished), a small building across the street, on a then empty lot, from Nelson Avenue Middle School.

The band grew large by August, and moved to member Bob Christensen’s school band room across the street.  Tightly packed there, we moved to Nelson’s Building 10B’s multi-purpose room, and even used the cafeteria to practice.

High School Band Rooms

We eventually moved again, to member Glen Dawson’s Las Plumas band room.  Member Jeff Stratton, Glen’s successor, offered both the LP and Oroville High band rooms.  Also used were band rooms of member Ron Wolcott’s Central Middle School, and member Bob Schofield’s Paradise High, both before, and after, the semi-permanent move to Southside Oroville Community Center.  One 2008 practice was at the Paradise Seventh Day Adventist Academy.

All the schools began needing the band rooms for other activities, requiring OCCB to arrange for another practice place.  Jim Christensen and Loren Fox summed up the frustration of not having a regular place, and the back-and-forth between facilities, in a plea written for our 1996 Winter Festival program notes.

“Since the formation of the band we have been fortunate to be able to use several... local schools’ band rooms and their percussion instruments for rehearsals.  Unfortunately, because of increased usage of... school band rooms by the schools ..., it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to also use them.  Thus, we are looking for a rich uncle/aunt to help us.  A complete set of percussion instruments may cost $10,000.  Also, does anyone out there know of an empty building that could be used for evening rehearsals and storage of band music and percussion instruments?”


Fall of 2002, Butte PIC offered OCCBand free weekly use of new Southside Oroville Community Center’s enormous multi-purpose room for practice, and a big storage room for our music and instruments.  Finally, a permanent place!

OCCB used the facility for a decade, until Butte PIC had money issues.  PIC cut programs in February 2011 to include Jim’s State Theater gig.  PIC oversight of SOC Center fell next, leaving the facility’s future in city and county hands, and ultimately under private management in 2012.  High rent charged for its use made it unaffordable, and OCCB’s last practice at SOCC was 24 May 2012 after 10 years.

Robinson Street

Member Laurel Ferretti found a large, professional office space at 2152 Robinson St next to her husband’s business.  OCCB christened the first practice 31 May 2012 with Red’s White and Blue March.  David Townsend provided pressure-washed, folding chairs, “free of spiders and cobwebs”.  We lasted almost two years, until leasing conditions changed, and we needed to look elsewhere.

Radio Mart

With this move, we tried to find a facility large enough to allow both the band and chorus to practice together when needed.  OCCB rented a new place; the high ceilinged, former Radio Mart, located at 2360 Myers Street, across from Raley's. The first practice occurred 13 March 2014.

The building had lighting issues, sound issues, and was hot, but we now had more room.  Members brought sleeping bags to hang from the second story's inside balcony as sound deadeners, which helped some.  The flickering fluorescent lights were a distraction, reminiscent of the early Nelson Avenue Middle School lighting, and the lighting tubes were not easily accessible to replace.

The Old Bread Store

Early August 2014, five months into the Myers Street Radio Mart facility, we had to find another place.  Owners gave us only two weeks notice to vacate, as the building was sold and escrow to close at the end of that time.  We had been hunting for a new place, anyway, for the Myers rental had no water available to restrooms, yet we incurred excessive water bills from an undetermined leak.      

Within a week of notification, Jim Christensen and Dave Townsend found a new building, not far away, and signed a three year lease.   Across Lincoln Street from the Oroville Fire Department, it was in an interior portion of a warehouse at 2059 Lincoln St that once held a day-old bakery outlet for Rainbow Bread.

The new landlords agreed to partition the warehouse midsection that already included two bathrooms.  They would also insulate ceiling and walls, improve the lighting, and install a heater, an evaporative cooler, and commercial carpet.  During construction early fall 2014, the band and chorus practices would be cramped in the building's small east end, the old bread store part of the warehouse.

We practiced six times in the store front from September until 09 October 2014.  The following Thursday, 16 October 2014, we held our first rehearsal in the finished band room, our first facility built for our use.  A nice place, but we noticed the first night that the flourescent lighting was a little dim for reading music.


Harry Malee, Bob Christensen and Loren Fox
perform "Bugler's Holiday", January 1994

Band And Chorus Uniforms

For Oroville Farmer’s Market concerts, the band wore comfortable clothes in the hot streets that summer.  Winter Concert 1993 we wore dark, formal suits, sport coats, or dresses, with white shirts or blouses.  The 4July 1993 Concert, the band and chorus wore comfortable clothes of patriotic colors.

With band funds, 1993-94, we ordered our first performing costumes for 4July concerts.  They were short-sleeved polo shirts; bright red with band logo, and bright powder blue with chorus logo.  Each performer provided white pants or dresses.  In warm performances away from the State Theater, the band wore  red shirts over khaki pants or skirts.  Band’s Winter Concert “uniform” remained formal wear, and for Christmas Concerts the chorus wore bright Christmas colored clothes.

After the 2002 groups' move to Southside Oroville Community Center, the band's red shirts were retired, and we ordered new white, short-sleeved polo shirts with navy blue collar and sleeve trim, with new band logo.  Each band member provided dark blue pants or dresses.  Our casual concert clothes became the white shirts over khaki.  OCChorus continued using the original blue shirts for the 4July.

Increasing band growth created a uniform crisis.  The company we ordered shirts from kept changing the product line, becoming impossible to order new shirts that truly matched the old ones.  This prompted the band to change the uniform once again late summer 2008.  Two different tops were ordered with band logo, and made available to members; a burgundy, long sleeved, button-up shirt, and a gray, short-sleeved polo shirt, both to be worn over black slacks or dresses.  Occasionally, beginning 2013, band casual has been cool Hawaiian shirts or dresses, and 4July 2014, we wore patriotic colored shirts over blue jeans.

NEXT: Oroville State Theatre Performing Arts Center