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 • Chico
 • Butte County
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Arvel Victor Allread
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Birth: Nov. 11, 1918
Yuba County
California, USA
Death: Mar. 2, 1987
Butte County
California, USA

"A magician extraordinaire has been within our midst for the past thirteen years. The fact of his existence can be verified by any parent whose child took beginning band in fifth grade. These are parents who listened in horror to the initial squawks and squeaks produced by their fifth graders as they eagerly played their instruments for the first time. These are also the parents who a few short months later actually heard their children make music come out of those same instruments. So you see Mr. Allread, our band instructor the past thirteen years, has accomplished no less than a miracle with our children.

"Over the years we have been moved by the quality and selection of music played by our young people. How many had tears come to their eyes when Mr. Allread and his kids put on a bicentennial patriotic concert in the high school gymnasium in 1976? Still more have felt shivers of pride and amazement as the eighth graders and seniors step out of their stations in the band to be replaced by new faces at graduation ceremonies each year. All this is made to happen without missing a note! Most of us have experienced joy and pride as Durham Unified School District bands have marched by with drums beating and horns playing in parade after parade.

"Picnic Day in Durham has always posed a special challenge to Mr. Allread. He always has to time the placement of elementary and high school bands in the parade so that he can march down the same four-block parade route with as many as three bands. That blue and white streak racing South on Goodspeed Street during past parades was likely Mr. Allread!
"This year Mr. Allread will add one more duty to his parade day activities. He has been selected to serve as the 1981 Parade Marshal. Carrying out the obligations of this honor will require Mr. Allread to ride in a car at the head of the parade. Being a modest man with a definite sense of responsibility toward his students he was at first reluctant to accept the honor bestowed upon him. To relieve his mind, parade officials will position the Durham High School Band immediately behind the Parade Marshal's car so that Mr. Allread can keep a watchful eye on their performance. If a member of the band falls out of step this could be the first year in history that the Marshal might not ride the full length of the parade! When the car carrying Mr. Allread reaches the end of the parade route he will return to the elementary school so that he can march with the Durham Elementary School Band.

"There are innumerable events that have been supported or created by Arvel Allread. Time after time, whether it is an open house, a community concert, a Senior Citizen Luncheon, a P.T.S. function, a graduation … ad infinitum, Mr. Allread is there with his band (s). He constantly looks for that extra public exposure that will enrich the learning experiences of his students. It was Mr. Allread who originated ‘Grad Night' at Durham High School. It is he who has planned each trip to Disneyland down to the smallest detail. He has led and been one of the chaperones on each of these trips.

"Mr. and Mrs. Allread offer their support to many community and school functions by bringing one of their concession stands to the event and giving the profits to the sponsoring organization.

"One might ask where the Allreads got a concession stand. That question brings us to a fascinating part of Mr. Allread's life – his love of a circus, of circus memorabilia and his years with the circus. Growing up in Marysville, in the 1920s, a young Arvel Allread fell in love with the circus. This love led him to ask to play with the circus bands when a circus came to town. Much to his delight his requests were often granted. Participation with circus bands continued through the years he served his country in the United States Air Force. As a member of the Army Air Force Band, Arvel Allread still found ways of sitting in with circus bands that were performing in the area.

"After his discharge in 1945, Mr. Allread joined the C.R. Montgomery Circus Band. This was his first circus job and opening day, March 27, 1946, stands out as a special day in his life. Mr. Allread was married and the father of two children at this time. He took his wife Grace and the babies along for the summer tour.

"The next season the Allreads bought several old circus wagons, started their own animal exhibit and played with a Wild West show and at fairs in Northern California. To all this they added concession equipment, and in 1950, when a small circus in Lincoln went broke, they bought it playing the valley and mountain areas. The family became Jacks-of-all-trades. Mr. Allread was the ringmaster acquiring the quick manner of delivery necessary for that job. Grace Allread learned to do some aerial work fifteen feet in the air – a skill she had little time to use as she kept busy with a family that had grown to seven.

"Owning a circus required being ‘on the road' with the family from March until November. This became too much so the family sold the circus in 1951 with Mr. Allread returning to Chico State to complete an education begun before entering the service.

"By 1952 Mr. Allread had completed his credential and was teaching at Hamilton City High School and Hamilton Elementary. After a of couple years there he became the band instructor for the six small school districts of Lake, Bayliss, Artois, Kanawha, Plaza and Cadora in Glenn County. Every Christmas season saw each of these tiny schools put on their own Christmas programs. These programs were integral parts of the customs and traditions of these tightly knit communities. In the spring, Mr. Allread brought all the tiny districts together for a community concert in Orland where I was a grammar school student. With a single glorious stroke of his baton he pulled music from those kids that caused emotions of joy, pride and wonderment to swell within the audience. Even more special were the expressions of pride and astonishment on the faces of the kids who were playing. They were making music – wonderful music – together. Before his tenure in Glenn County was over Mr. Allread taught eight small districts all at the same time. That must have been a circus in itself! In 1969 Mr. Allread joined the Durham Unified School District faculty.

"Throughout these busy years of teaching Mr. and Mrs. Allread were working very hard at the most important task of any parents, that of raising a family. During the fifties they provided the concession stands at the One Mile and Card pools in Chico and the Vinsonhaler Park in Orland. They and one of their children (four boys and three girls) would man the stands. This was a family that worked and played together – a close knit family that learned the value of work! The Allread children, now adults, are located across the United States in New York, Massachusetts, Berkeley, Yuba City, Sunnyvale and Chico.

"Mr. Allread has been the director of the Chico Community Band since 1953. The next scheduled event they will play for is on July 4th at the Chico City Plaza. In his spare time it is not unusual to see him at ‘Grace Jrs', his wife's gift shop on Sixth Street in Chico. And, when the circus comes to town, take a look at the band. You never know who you might find!

"Mr. Allread, we appreciate all you have done for our children and for us. You honor us by being our 1981 Parade Marshal."

Written by Jan Holman for the Durham Communicator, Vol V, #5, May 1981. (Note: Arvel Allread retired from Durham High School in 1981.)

Family links: 
  Grace Allread (1922 - 2006)*
*Calculated relationship
Glen Oaks Memorial Park
Butte County
California, USA
Plot: Garden of Peace, 266
Created by: Adriana
Record added: Jul 08, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 73033790
Arvel Victor Allread
Added by: Adriana
Arvel Victor Allread
Added by: Adriana
Arvel Victor Allread
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Alan Misner
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- Darlene Brindley
 Added: Mar. 28, 2015

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