The Long Beach Junior Concert Band (LBJCB) is looking for a new home again after being ejected from two locations and now being forced out of another.
For the past several months, the independent youth marching band established in 1952 has been searching for a permanent spot to perform rehearsals and store their equipment, uniforms, instruments, trophies and other belongings.
The band had shared space with the Long Beach Gas & Oil Department at 3221 Industry Dr. in Signal Hill for nearly 20 years. But, in 2011, the band was forced to move to a new location at 231 South St. that it split with the Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine Department’s after-school program and the Long Beach Heritage Museum.
The City of Long Beach, which waived rental costs and only required the band to cover utilities, however, terminated the band’s lease last July due to budget cuts.
Now, the band is being evicted again after a local property owner had allowed them to stay temporarily in a vacant warehouse at 1290 Gaviota Ave. nearly free of charge while they searched for a new location.
So far, the nonprofit band hasn’t been able to find a space cheap enough for their small budget, said Carrie Daquiado, LBJCB’s treasurer and a former band member.
“We’re now in desperate search of something that we could utilize… maybe 4,000 to 6,000 square feet… as a band-rehearsal facility and possibly small office,” she said, adding that the property owner sent a notice last month, indicating that the band has until May 31 to leave the premises.
Jim Morris, who owns the property and JCL Barricade Company, which specializes in traffic-control services for parades and events, said he offered the space on Gaviota Avenue after reading about the band’s plight in a newspaper article. But after being “pinched by economic circumstance,” he now has to cut expenses by putting the building on the market.
“I thought they were going to go to another location, but it looks like that didn’t pan out,” Morris said. “It’s an unfortunate situation… It was something that I didn’t think I was going to have to do. It’s magical hearing music come out of that place.”
He added that it was the hope that the City of Long Beach could “step up to the plate,” however that hasn’t been the case. Morris said he’s hopeful that someone else will now “carry the ball for a while.”
The band was in talks last year with The Salvation Army Long Beach Citadel that had offered to donate a space located off of Spring Street and Atlantic Avenue, but in October of last year the band was informed that the property would be leased out at “fair-market value,” which has put the band back to “square one” again, Daquiado said. Since then, no other offers have come up, she said.
Since the band is a nonprofit, any donation, including rental costs, could be tax-deductible, Daquiado said, adding that the most LBJCB could pay for the space is about $300 to $500 per month. Currently, the band relies on a small income from band-member fees and contributions.
Daquiado said any location with enough space for the right price would suffice.
“I don’t really care where it is,” she said. “It could be in Long Beach. It could be in Signal Hill. It could be in Lakewood. I just need something that I can put these kids into.”
The space is needed for office desks and computers, and storing 50 to 60 uniforms, a conference table, file cabinets, trophies, booths, instruments, amplifiers, music stands, recording equipment and other items.
While the band has been able to utilize the space on Gaviota Avenue for storage, they haven’t been able to conduct rehearsals at the building because of its proximity to nearby apartments.
Daquiado said, fortunately, however, EDCO, a recycling and waste-collection services company in Signal Hill, has allowed the band the use of an enclosed parking lot at 2755 California Ave. for drum rehearsals. She said the band also has been able to practice at Boeing’s parking lot at the northwest corner of Wardlow Road at Globemaster Way.
In addition, LBJCB was able to buy a new truck at a discounted price from a Chevrolet dealership after an engine fire destroyed the band’s former truck last year. So far, the band has been allowed to store their trucks and some other equipment at Price Transfer Group in Rancho Dominguez.
Still, without a permanent space for rehearsals and storage, Daquiado said she’s not sure what the band will do at this point.
“We’ve got great kids and a great group of parents who help wherever they can,” she said. “We’ve got to keep this going. These kids need this music so bad, and I just need a place for a roof over their head.”
To lend assistance or make a donation to the LBJCB, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit lbjcb.org or call Daquiado at (310) 698-9815. ß