Then & Now- The Orange Blossoms


Cynthia Alcaraz, Staff Reporter

With their “cinnamon tights”, bright red lipstick, and pompom boots, The Orange Blossoms are a Porterville High tradition that is recognized from coast to coast. Here’s a little history on this group that has literally been at the front of the Panther band for 70 years. 

Frank “Buck” Shaffer came to Porterville in 1953 to “improve” the Porterville Union High School band. One of the first things he added to the band was The Orange Blossoms. He found the finances for their uniforms and had the Home Ec teacher at the time cut the material; the girls had to find a seamstress on their own to sew their new outfits. Shaffer originally wanted all the girls to be the same height, but after realizing this wasn’t going to be possible he put the tallest in the middle and their heights descended with the shortest girls on each end, which is the formation which The Orange Blossoms are still placed today. He also insisted that each girl have long hair and use “show business makeup” which also remains an Orange Blossom tradition. When all the girls were lined up, they spelled PORTERVILLE! The Orange Blossoms were added by Shaffer to bring flare and style to the band and have become an iconic part of the band and the school through the years. Banner girls spelling out PANTHERS and a Drill Team was added as more students wanted to be part of the band. From the very first Disneyland Christmas Parade in 1955 to Hollywood Christmas Parades, Olympic Ceremonies, NFL halftime shows, and of course our own hometown parades, The Orange Blossoms have always been a part of the Panther Band. In fact, Shaffer would only perform when The Orange Blossoms, Banner girls, and Drill Team were allowed to perform as part of the band. While there have been a few minor changes to the uniform in the last 70 years, there has never been and never is a doubt when people see the Panther Band who they are and where they are from, thanks to our Orange Blossoms

The Porterville Union High School band in 1953 with The Orange Blossoms in their first official photo.
The Porterville Union High School band in 1953 with The Orange Blossoms in their first official photo.
The 2016 Orange Blossoms salute at the Band-O-Rama.
The 2022-23 Orange Blossoms marching to the Rivalry Rally.
The 1954 Orange Blossoms.