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Suit Inspires Angry Calls Backing Marching Band : Controversy: Olympic swimmer’s parents, who are seeking to have rehearsals held elsewhere, say they can’t move from Placentia home.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Paul and Barbara Evans couldn’t get a judge to stop the El Dorado High School band from practicing near their back yard. Now they have more than marching songs to listen to: callers angry that they have filed suit to have the band move its practices away from the field adjacent to their home.

The parents of Olympic swimmer Janet Evans--who graduated from the school in 1989--said Thursday that they have received several abusive telephone calls since their lawsuit was made public. A judge this week allowed the band to continue its early morning practices on the field at least until a Dec. 8 hearing on the suit.

“A lot of people are definitely mad at me,” said Paul Evans, who contends in the lawsuit that the constant thump of drums during the 7 a.m. practices has rattled his and his wife’s nerves. “I’ve had people tell me I should move, but I have no regrets. I’m not trying to change the world. I think it is a logical request that we’ve made. There are just other fields for them to practice on.”

The Evanses said they have no intention of moving from their home of 24 years. “I guess it’ll stay status quo for awhile,” Paul Evans said. “We’re just going to stay where we are. Where else are we going to go?”

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Said Barbara Evans: “It’s a fact. What can you do except maybe go out and have coffee?”

Although early-morning band practices have been going on for decades, the Evanses said the drumming has grown unbearably loud in the past year and exceeds the noise level of previous years.

The Evanses are suing the school, the school district, the band director and the band’s booster club. In a separate lawsuit, the Evanses are suing the city, seeking enforcement of its noise ordinance, which prohibits levels outdoors from exceeding 50 decibels.

The couples’ lawsuit said that noise from the band’s drum corps was measured at 85 decibels from inside the Evanses’ home. The Evanses said they decided to take legal action after their complaints were ignored.

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Officials with the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District contend that they have tried to settle the dispute with the couple and said the band has no choice but to practice on the football field.

Placentia officials said they don’t believe the city should be involved in the lawsuit and that the issue is between the Evanses and the school district.

Meanwhile, the band will continue practicing for a competition this weekend.

School district spokeswoman Karen Bass said the Evanses’ lawsuit and the controversy surrounding it has not disrupted the band’s regular practices.

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The band members “remain enthusiastic about what they are doing,” Bass said. “But they definitely feel the pressure of the situation. They all know about it.”

The battle between the Evanses and the school has been upsetting to both sides for several months.

Yet the controversy has intrigued even those not directly involved.

“You stand on the corner and wait for the next tidbit,” said resident George Oelkers, who has lived next to the school longer than the Evanses. “This whole thing is stupid. It’s a joke. All I have to say is that the band is sounding a lot better than they used to years ago.”

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