Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed is quite appropriate in the history of Orange Coast Musical Arts. Good things sometimes start small.
Orange Coast Musical Arts home school music program's beginning was quite simple, very romantic and even a little bit magical. A few very young home-schooled musicians started on recorders with founding director, Donn Hallman, at the Village Bible Church in Garden Grove. They learned how to read music and play some fun songs together. Seven of the students performed for the first time at Wycliffe Bible Translators in 1996.
These young musicians then wanted to play band instruments and thus the little group was on its way to becoming a “band”. The children chose the catchy name the Lets Do Lunch Band because they rehearsed at lunch time. The band had 8 members in 1997, including three flute players, a drummer, two trumpets, and a bass. One of the moms even learned the trombone to help out. It grew to be about 20 members in 1999, adding a French horn, a sax and some more flutes.
Members of the band simply loved to get together and “jam”, but then wanted to share their talents by performing at nursing homes, community centers and “around town”. Mr. Hallman and Mrs. Fujieda guided the young musicians through all kinds of music, including their favorites “Hawaii-5-O” and “Georgia on My Mind”.
Around 1998 interest grew, and a separate beginning band class was started for newer musicians. Since then, OCMA has grown steadily through the years, and even today it is still expanding and offering new classes throughout Southern California.
Incorporated in 2000, the new name of Orange Coast Musical Arts was taken to broaden the appeal to home schoolers who wanted a quality and budget-friendly instrumental music program for their children.
An intermediate band was formed and then a violin class was added for the string players. The advanced band then changed its name to the Alpha Winds and found itself performing about 15 times a year, all the while attracting more and more musicians.
2009 also saw the maturing of the string-orchestra, “Charis Chamber Orchestra”, into a serious string ensemble lead by Carolyn Davidson and assisted by Julia Guftason. Thirty players, including violins, violas, cellos and double basses, have built a solid repertoire of classical, pop and sacred pieces.
Another group that formed was the Sound Waves Marching Band, dubbed the only home-school marching band in the West! OCMA saved its pennies and purchased a complete set of uniforms for parades. The award-winning Sound Waves can be seen in several parades and field tournaments throughout the year.
The mission of Orange Coast Musical Arts anchors itself on its humble beginnings of providing a quality music education for families who want a safe, interactive program that honors their faith. OCMA is unique and cannot be found elsewhere in Southern California. Primarily tailored to meet the needs of home-school families, there are now many musical options for families looking for after-school activities as well. With so many of the school districts eliminating the fine arts, OCMA is adding and expanding, keeping music in the hearts of our young people and our communities.
The future of OCMA is to improve its delivery of instruction and programs to families who home-school and to others who do not have access to a similar program at their public or private school. The instructors and parents who run the organization want children to learn to love music and develop their skills as musicians, future leaders, and mature adults with excellent team-work abilities, encouraging each in their faith.
Copyright 2017. Orange Coast Musical Arts, a 501c3 non-profit corporation. All rights reserved.