The Balboa Bachelors sounded particularly mellow, merry and bright on Sunday as they serenaded Balboa Island Holiday Home Tour guests and visitors with a festive mix of trombone tunes. The appearance served as a preliminary to their main event performances to take place later this month during the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade.
‘We’ll be pretty good by the time the Boat Parade comes around,’ said a self-effacing Randy Wallen, an original group founder and the bass trombonist. The brass ensemble formed in 1984 when a group of local teen-aged musicians got together to play for fun and for the pleasure of Balboa Island locals. Though the then bachelor brass players have since seen marriages, divorces, have started families, and, in some cases, have moved to residences throughout the United States and beyond, they have retained their original unmarried name for musical purposes.
‘We’re like the kitten you feed once that keeps coming back,’ joked Wallen. Every Christmas for the past 30 years the musicians have re-assembled for the sole purpose of performing for Balboa Island friends, fans and Boat Parade-goers. Twenty-five years ago, when one of their long-time friends succumbed to cancer, the ensemble began playing for the Hoag Family Cancer Institute in remembrance of their friend and to support the fight against cancer.
The Balboa Bachelors are proud of their honors, which include a 1992 private performance for former President Ronald Reagan and several local honors. For some time, the Balboa Bachelors were the reigning Sweepstakes Award recipients for their off-season appearances in the Celebrate Balboa Island summer parade . Most recently, the group received the Perpetual Award from the Balboa Island Improvement Association for their many years of service to the parade. And the Newport Beach City Council bestowed a proclamation upon the group for their 25 years of service to the community.
Though they are known for their Balboa Island performances, the trombone choir also plays private parties, for restaurants and for organizations including the Someone Cares Soup Kitchen. Their aim is to please and to inspire their audiences. They plan to continue playing for the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade for years to come.
As the Balboa Island Home Tour came to an end, The Balboa Bachelors closed their performance with an appropriate rendition of ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas.’