History of the Occidental Choir

Back in 1978, on Christmas Eve, a group of musically-minded souls from the hills surrounding Occidental, California gathered around a campfire in the center of town to sing carols. We didn’t want to go home, so we started a choir. Perhaps not surprisingly, we named it the Occidental Community Choir (OCC).

Occidental Choir in 1983
The earliest known picture of the choir, from 1983, with director Allaudin Mathieu

The choir is now in its 36th year and has long-since solidified its reputation for excellence by producing unique concert experiences that combine humor, storytelling, poetry, varied instrumental accompaniment, and an off-the-beaten-path repertoire.

Our mission is both simple and clear:  To create, collaborate in performing, and in promoting great music, much of itcomposed by our members. We mentor and support one another in developing our skills as singers, lyricists and composers. Our music encompasses a wide range of personal experience and reflects the authentic connection we have with one another and the larger community.

The OCC has been fortunate to have had a succession of highly talented, passionate and dedicated leaders over the years. Long-time choir followers will remember with affection and respect the work of Philip Rolnick, Allaudin Mathieu, Doug Bowes, Daniel Canosa and Sarah Saulsbury.

In 2013, long-time Sonoma County resident and Analy High School choral director Andy DelMonte became our music director. We are fortunate to have at our helm a man with his depth of knowledge and experience.

Occidental Choir Group Photo, Winter 2015
Occidental Choir, Winter 2015

For the past few years the choir has worked in partnership with the Occidental Center for the Arts to realize the dream of finally creating a permanent home for the OCC—and a venue for all the arts—in the town of Occidental.

The dream came to fruition at Harmony Village, the former site of Harmony School, a development of live/work units created by developer Orrin Thiessen, who generously donated a portion of this property to the OCA.. To learn more about this thriving arts hub to life in West County, please visit the OCA website.

"…In the silence your heart is singing.
Dream deeply, listen well.
Know the single point of stillness
Where all things are born."

—"Winter Song" by Debra White


Mission Statement

The Occidental Community Choir creates, performs, and promotes choral music composed primarily by its members. Our music reflects a wide range of personal experience and represents an authentic connection we have with one another and the community at large. We mentor and support one another in developing our skills as singers, lyricists and composers. We strive to share a meaningful musical experience with our audience community.