|GETTING THE BAND STARTED|
The Musicians take Action
In the seventh year of Birdcage, spring 1992's production of “Carousal”, orchestra musicians Russ Hickey, Loren Fox and Dave Chollet decided to do something about starting a full time musical group after the season. By May 13th, 1992, the group’s first meeting, Russ Hickey had drawn up a first draft of the group’s constitution. Russ, Loren, and Al Townsend, met as an Action Committee May 20 in Russ’s home to develop proposed revisions to the draft, and nominated a slate of interim officers to serve until the formal election in October 1992.
Russ Hickey organized the first official rehearsal/meeting for 27 May 1992, with Jim Christensen as the director, and 17 other local musicians attending at the FRRPD’s Nelson Avenue Recreation Center in Thermalito. The band was founded when these eighteen people voted that night to accept the slate of nominees, the final Constitution draft, and other proposed Rules and Procedures presented. Beginning that night, the “eighteen” began to recruit more musicians.
It wasn’t long before our numbers grew larger, and we had to move out of the tiny recreation center building to facilities across the street at Nelson Ave Middle School. The 1992 band’s July roster listed 26, the August 15 roster had 41, and the Oct 21 list had 45 personnel.
The First Eighteen
The original 18 band signers on the 27 May 1992 roster were Dave Chollet, Jim Christensen, the Curran family, John, Wanda, and son Fred, Loren Fox, Rebecca Grimm, H.R. Hickey, Robert Kearbey, Bob Logan, Harry Malee, Deanna J. (Palmer) Wiseman, Bob Schofield, Maryann Sim, Ken (Smitty) Smith, Ivan Shard, Al Townsend, and Jerry Wolcott. The conductor was Jim Christensen.
To back up Christensen, a conductor pool was created in case Jim was not available: Dave Chollet, Robert Kearbey, Jerry Wolcott, and Bob Schofield. Listed initially in the conductor pool only, Bob’s drum skills were needed right away in '92.
A little more digging discovered a bit of band trivia; Jim Christensen was not our first conductor at the first practice. With a little humor, Jim clarified this by stating, “Ken ‘Smitty’ Smith started directing per Russ Hickey’s plan. I picked up a bass drum beater, as no one else was available. At one point Mr. Smith stated I was rushing the tempo. I directed a few numbers after Mr. Smith was finished.”
The Band's Constitution
According to our constitution, OCCB officially began 5-27-1992, incorporated as Oroville Symphonic Ensembles (OSE). Organized under sponsorship and support of Oroville’s Feather River Recreation & Parks District, we used their Nelson Avenue Recreation Center as our first practice facility.
Under the constitution, the band was a non-profit, self-governing group composed of professional and non-professional musicians, proposing to:
a.) provide a leisure time recreational activity for musicians;
b.) maintain growth and development of music;
c.) offer concerts and performances in behalf of the FRRPD and regional non-profit organizations for national holiday celebrations, charitable benefits, or other occasions as voted on by OSE voting membership.
Through 2014 our band continued to meet all these goals. Most concerts are in Oroville, but the band has performed in many of the communities of Butte County. On one or more occasions we have performed in Berry Creek, Biggs, Chico, Concow, Durham, Gridley, Palermo, Paradise, Richvale, and Thermalito. The band has also played twice in Yuba City, twice in Carmichael (near Sacramento), and thrice in San Francisco.
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