OCB History

The Ohlone College Bands – A Legacy of Musical Excellence

Serving the Tri-City Area Since 1977

The Ohlone College Bands, all under the direction of Tony Clements, include two large Symphonic Concert Bands (sometimes known as Wind Ensembles), a British-Style Brass Band, a large Tuba & Euphonium Ensemble and a large Clarinet Choir.

The oldest of these ensembles, the Ohlone Community Band (OCB) was formed on the Ohlone College Fremont Campus back in 1977 by band director Phil Zahorsky. Later Rich Levin and then Steve Barnhill conducted the band. In the Fall of 2007 the baton was passed to our present Director Tony Clements. The band has a wonderful blend of youth and experience and is an outstanding example of the benefits of a music education. The band plays a wide variety of symphonic band, classical and popular literature to challenge both the audience and the ensemble itself. (Audition Required)

The Ohlone Wind Orchestra (OWO) was split off from the OCB in 1991 in order to offer our more advanced musicians an opportunity to play not only the most challenging standard symphonic band & wind ensemble literature but also new compositions, transcriptions, and arrangements, many written specifically for the OWO. For its first ten years Phil Zahorsky conducted the OWO. In 2001 the baton was passed to our present director Tony Clements. The OWO is now considered to be California’s Premier Wind Orchestra, and is one of the leading professional quality wind ensembles in the United States today. (Audition Required)

In the Spring of 2002 Tony Clements formed the Ohlone Tuba Ensemble (OTE), a large low brass ensemble made up of Euphoniums, Bass Tubas & Contrabass Tubas. This ensemble was the outgrowth of similar Bay Area ensembles that had been in existence since the 1980s. As with the OWO, many composer and arrangers around the USA and Canada annually submit music for performance by this well-known group of Ohlone College musicians.

In the Fall of 2010 the Ohlone College Music Department took advantage of the opportunity to “adopt” one of the Bay Area’s top amateur music ensembles and its original conductor Tony Clements, which was being cut from the music program at a college on the other side of the Bay. The result was the formation of the Mission Peak Brass Band (MPBB). This 33-piece brass and percussion ensemble was formed in the tradition of a British brass band, which has a very unique, rich sound. And the quality of the MPBB has attracted attention not only here in the USA but overseas as well, resulting in several long-time brass band musicians opening up their personal libraries of brass band literature for use by the MPBB. (Audition Required)

The latest addition to the growing list of large woodwind, brass & percussion ensembles on the Ohlone College Fremont Campus is the new Ohlone Clarinet Choir (OCC). The choir features the range of clarinet voices from sopranino through contrabass. The mission of the OCC is to offer local clarinetists a chance to perform in a chamber setting and with harmony clarinets that are less commonly played. The literature performed by OCC ranges from baroque to popular; transcriptions and original works.

A New Chapter in the Lives of the Ohlone College Bands – With the change in philosophy handed down by the State of California regarding the mission of the Community Colleges, many courses currently a part of the curriculum will no longer be offered. Affected are many performing and fine arts courses, as well as most “whole-life” learning courses.

ALL of the Ohlone College Bands are now a part of the Ohlone College Community Education course offerings. This means that all current members and prospective members (whether high school juniors & seniors, under-grad college students, or continuing whole-life students) will continue to enjoy being part of Making Music at Ohlone College.

For More Information:  http://www.ohlone.edu/org/commed/