"It takes only one drink to get me drunk. The trouble is, I can't remember if it's the 13th or the 14th."
--George F. Burns

Press Kit

Rap Sheet
Download the Ophir Prison Band's one-page rap sheet here:
Rap Sheet
(PDF format, 165 KB)
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About the Band
The Ophir Prison Marching Kazoo Band & Temperance Society, Lmtd. has been delighting audiences and packing concert venues for over 40 years.

They are a 25- to 40-piece ensemble with pep band-type instrumentation—woodwinds, brass, and percussion—and the music they play encompasses a wide variety of genres from Big Band, Jazz, Jump Swing, and Standards to Rock, Pop and Hip-Hop. Members' ages range from the early 20's to the late 70's.

Outfitted in highly personalized "prison blues" and with tongues firmly in cheek, band members will tell you they're from Ophir Prison, an historic minimum-security facility tucked away in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Whatever their true origins, though, they share a love of music, fun, and showing audiences a great time.

And that is something at which the Ophir Prison Band truly excels.

Just a few examples:
  • The band regularly filled nearly 10,000 seats over the course of annual four-day performances at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, bringing overflow crowds into the festival's largest venues nightly. The band was an event favorite for over 19 years during the heyday of the Jubilee.
  • Following in the footsteps of Johnny Cash, B.B. King, and other musical heavyweights, the band entertained real inmates at San Quentin State Prison.
  • Radio station 93.7 Jack-FM hired the band to warm up the crowd before a rock concert featuring ZZ Top, the Pretenders, and the Stray Cats at Sacramento's ARCO Arena. (The band prefers to think of it as, "We opened for ZZ Top, the Pretenders, and the Stray Cats.")
  • The band was featured multiple times on KMAX Channel 31's Good Day Sacramento morning television show.
Since being founded in 1973, the Ophir Prison Band has logged more than 500 performances throughout California and Nevada. In addition to the highlights listed above, the band's legacy includes the following:
  • The band has performed at professional sporting events such as San Francisco Giants baseball games and Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings NBA games, as well as at several other professional and amateur sporting events.
  • The HBO television series The Sopranos used the Ophir Prison Band's recording of Livin' La Vida Loca in the Season 6 episode "Chasing It."
  • The band has entertained guests at Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the California State Fair, and numerous county fairs.
  • Images/misc of the band have appeared on the front page of newspapers both big and small, from USA TODAY to the Sacramento Bee to Woodland's Daily Democrat.
  • Since the band's inception, they have appeared in more than 60 parades celebrating Independence Day, often doing multiple parades over holiday weekends.
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Selected Photos
Click on a picture to see a larger image.

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The Show
An Ophir Prison Band performance is a unique, high-energy blend of music, humor, and antics.

The band's musical repertoire includes something for almost everybody—big band, jazz, jump swing, rock, "novelty" numbers, patriotic marches, traditional band music, and odes to beer, the band's favorite libation.
(Note: While beer does figure prominently in the band's act, you don't have to be "of legal age" to enjoy the band's performance; the show can be tailored to meet an event's needs.)

One can understand how audience members might initially wonder what they've gotten themselves into when this band of "prisoners" raucously marches into view. But the Ophir Prison Band's solid musicianship and contagious joy quickly wins them over. Observe a "live" performance and it becomes obvious that both the band and the audience are having fun.

The band's playlist of more than 70 songs (available here and subject to change) gives one an idea of what to expect at a show.

Or does it?

Here are just a few things one might experience at an Ophir performance:
  • During Rubber Duckie/Put Down the Duckie, rubber ducks take flight and a rubber chicken improvises on saxophone. Don't be caught looking the wrong way.
  • Do-Re-Mi, a song about the seven-note major scale, is turned into a song about something with which the band is more familiar: beer.
  • The way the Ophir Prison Band performs Take Me Out to the Ball Game, audiences are unable to sing along with a second chorus, even though the second chorus has the same words as the first.
  • Basin Street Blues is anything but blue, racing at breakneck speed until the band kicks those blues permanently… chorus line style!
  • Kazoos buzz through The Stars and Stripes Forever while the audience joins in the fun.
  • Frankly, there's just something inherently funny about 30 grown men singing the theme to The Mickey Mouse Club television show.
  • And, speaking of Frank… Frank is the band's rubber chicken, capable of belief-defying tricks in addition to his aforementioned musical prowess.
  • Meanwhile, trumpets dance, saxes wander into the audience, trombones rock, sousaphones bounce, drums roll (literally),… it's a dynamic show, with lots of spontaneity.
Keeping the whole lot under control (barely) is the band's Dum Major, Capt. Rufus T. Whizbang. Resplendent in multicolored coattails and a pith helmet topped by a wind-up key, Capt. Whizbang keeps the show rolling, directing the band using a plunger as his baton and cracking jokes at will (or at anyone else within earshot).
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Press and Reviews
From the beginning, the band caught the media's attention, too. While some scribes have written complimentary things about the band over the years (see selected quotes below), most newspapers have saved 1,000 words and used a picture instead.

Ophir Prison Band Press Clippings
Review of the band's "Ophir: EXPOSED!" DVD
Review of the band's "Jailbreak!" CD

Selected Quotes

"… they boogied their way onto the Old Sacramento cobbles with pink flamingoes on their shoes and flying pigs on their hats … all geared toward one purpose: playing music to make people grin. … Little kids giggled. Teenagers danced in circles. The silver-haired bopped their heads."
Jocelyn Wiener, Sacramento Bee

"… once they getcha, they gotcha."
Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society, Jazz Jubilee program

"But it was the Ophir Prison Marching Band … that knocked out the crowd [of 30,000]. … The parade watchers … roared, whooped and cheered."
George Snyder, San Francisco Chronicle

"[This band] is a cracking good musical group that plays far more than just marches … rarely does a number go by without one or more members adding a touch that is wholly spontaneous to say nothing of being side-splitting…"
Cam Miller review of Jailbreak! CD in The American Rag

"[The Ophir Prison Band] produces about as much excitement at the Jubilee as all the other groups in the festival together."
Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society, Jazz Jubilee program

"Do not expect to get a straight word from this band or keep a straight face as they make you laugh as well as dance in your seats."
Jacqueline Martella, Placer Herald

Dixie Reid, Sacramento Bee

"… if ever there was a party band, the Ophir Prison Marching Kazoo Band and Temperance Society, Lmtd. is it."
Cam Miller review of Jailbreak! CD in The American Rag

"Any band whose tuba player pulls a rubber chicken around on a string can't be all bad."
Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society, Jazz Jubilee program
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DVD and CD Releases
Behind Bars Everywhere
Back in the Slammer
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Been There, Done That
Music Festivals Television Appearances Notable Venues
Sacramento Jazz Jubilee
Lake Tahoe Jazz Festival
Lake Tahoe Summer Music Series
Loomis International Jazz Festival
Yuba City Summer Concert Series
HBO: The Sopranos (heard but not seen)
KCRA Channel 3: Geoff Wong Adventure Theater
KMAX Channel 31: Good Day Sacramento
Numerous Sacramento-area news programs
ARCO Arena
Cal Expo
Candlestick Park
California State Capitol
Fort Mason (San Francisco)
Hornet Stadium (CSU, Sacramento)
Hughes Stadium
Marina Green (San Francisco)
Mt. Rose Ski Resort (Nevada)
Old Sacramento State Historic Park
Oracle Arena (Oakland, CA)
Raley Field
San Francisco Zoo
San Quentin State Prison
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Six Flags Magic Mountain (Los Angeles)
Stagg Memorial Stadium (Univ. of the Pacific)

Sporting Events

Other Events
Golden State Warriors (NBA)
Golden West Invitational Track Meet
KNBR (AM 680) Bridge-to-Bridge Run
March of Dimes Basketball Tournament
Master Swimmers Folsom Lake Swim
Sac Attack (Arena Football)
Sacramento Kings (NBA)
Sacramento Knights (Professional Soccer)
Sacramento Pig Bowl (Charity Football)
Sacramento Spirits (Professional Soccer)
San Francisco Giants (MLB)
Stockton Bacon Bash (Charity Football)
California State Railfair
Folsom Cattle Drive
Jack's Big Show (93.7 Jack-FM)
KNBR (AM 680) Bathtub Regatta
MDA Jerry Lewis Telethon Party
National Handcar Races
River City Jazz Society Jazz Sunday
Waterfront New Year's Eve Sky Concert
Lots more…

Chico State Pioneer Days Parade (Chico, CA)
Colmo del Rodeo Parade (Salinas, CA)
Coloma Gold Discovery Parade (Coloma, CA)
Columbus Day Parade (San Francisco, CA)
Constitution Day Celebration Parade (Nevada City, CA)
Fiesta de Moraga Parade (Moraga, CA)
Holidaze on Parade (Chico, CA)
Independence Day Celebration Parade (Carmichael, CA)
Independence Day Celebration Parade (Grass Valley, CA)
Independence Day Celebration Parade (Nevada City, CA)
Independence Day Celebration Parade (Sacramento, CA)
Ione Homecoming Festival Parade (Ione, CA)
Isleton Crawdad Festival Parade (Isleton, CA)
KNBR "Let the Good Times Roll, Part IV" Parade (Redwood City, CA)
Lake Tahoe Jazz Festival Opening Parade (Incline Village, NV)
Lumberjack Days Parade (West Point, CA)
Luther Burbank Rose Festival Parade (Santa Rosa, CA)
Mardi Gras Parade (Nevada City, CA)
Mardi Gras Parade (Sacramento, CA)
Mohawk Valley Independence Day Celebration Parade (Graeagle, CA)
Moonwalk Festival Parade (North Highlands, CA)
Napa County Fair Parade (Napa, CA)
Nevada Days Parade (Carson City, NV)
Parade of Champions (Santa Clara, CA)
Plumas County Fair Parade (Quincy, CA)
Plumas-Sierra County Fair Parade (Quincy, CA)
Rocklin Jubilee Parade (Rocklin, CA)
Sacramento Christmas Balloon Parade (Sacramento, CA)
Sacramento Jazz Jubilee Opening Parade (Sacramento, CA)
Sacramento Water Festival Parade (Sacramento, CA)
Santa Parade (Sacramento, CA)
Sebastopol Apple Blossom Parade (Sebastopol, CA)
Shingle Springs Bicentennial Celebration Parade (Shingle Springs, CA)
Sonora Mother Lode Round-Up Parade (Sonora, CA)
Soquel-o-rama Parade (Soquel, CA)
St. Patrick's Day Parade (Sacramento, CA)
St. Patrick's Day Parade (San Francisco, CA)
State of California Capitol Restoration Parade (Sacramento, CA)
UC Davis Picnic Day Parade (Davis, CA)
Veterans Day Parade (Fairfield, CA)
Veterans Day Parade (San Francisco, CA)
Wagon Train Days Parade (Placerville, CA)
Walnut Festival Parade (Walnut Creek, CA)
Western Festival Parade (Elk Grove, CA)
Woodland Christmas Parade (Woodland, CA)
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Booking, Information, and Rates
Capt. Rufus T. Whizbang
(916) 933-0440
Ophir Prison Band
P.O. Box 94
Folsom, CA 95763-0094

Rates vary according to our schedule and the distance from Ophir to your performance venue.

Contact us by e-mail or phone for the fastest response.

References are available upon request.
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