|At its founding in 1978, the Great American Yankee Freedom Band
represented one-half of all Lesbian and Gay Community Bands on Earth (and
possibly in the Universe). The San Francisco band, founded a few months earlier,
comprised the other half. The L.A. Band's rather odd and cumbersome name
allowed the band to participate in 'mainstream' parades in those homophobic times
by using the full name on parade applications, and the abbreviated form (GAY
Freedom Band) at the event itself. The leading LGBT magazine in Los Angeles at
the time, Frontiers, called us 'the shock troops of the gay rights movement.'
We were a founding member of the international organization, Lesbian and Gay
Band Association. Through LGBA, Freedom Band members have traveled
worldwide to participate in events with members of other bands. Performance
venues include San Francisco, Minneapolis, Florida, Vancouver (BC), New York,
Amsterdam, as well as Melbourne and Sydney, Australia. On January 20, 2009,
GAY Freedom Band members were in Washington DC at the invitation of
President-elect Barack Obama to participate with LGBA as part of the first openly
LGBT contingent to perform in a Presidential Inaugural Parade in the history of the
United States. Of course we were fabulous!
To commemorate the way the world has changed over the last 30 years - changes
we helped create, the longer name was retired in 2008. We are now simply and
proudly the GAY Freedom Marching Band.
|In 2001, the Freedom Band Foundation began placing a renewed emphasis on bringing meaningful, accessible and fun programming to our community,
presented with style and even a bit of whimsy. The result has been an expanded repertoire in the concert hall, a return (to tremendous audience response) to
our roots with Concerts in the Park, and an opportunity for individuals to shine in small groups when we present Band Deconstructed: Small Groups, Big Music.
G.A.Y. Freedom Band concerts weave together the pieces of music being performed so the audience can experience it as a cohesive whole. Sometimes we
build a concert around a particular style of music, such as Broadway Milestones, hosted in 2005 by Marcia Cross. Other times we showcase music's power to
move the audience by expressing ideas that go beyond words, such as when we explored the divine and profane in All Ye Gods and Monsters. Our 2009
Concert in the Park series featured The Concert that Dare Not Speak its Name: Music by Lesbian and Gay Composers. Sometimes we want to celebrate, as
we did with our 30th anniversary musical cruise, Ports of Call, or just have some fun with An Evening of (very) Serious Music, presented on April Fool's Day.
Our Master of Ceremonies, Ronn Jones, helps make the music accessible to all by sharing insights about how individual pieces came to be written, what the
composer was trying to express, and why we think it fits into the concert's overall theme or story. But don't worry that these are some kind of dry academic
lecture - the irrepressible Mr. Jones makes his points with humor, and if there's a juicy story connected with the piece, its inspiration, or the composer, he's
sure to find and share it with you.
|Click On the Picture to Hear the Concert Band
|Proud to be Chosen as the Outstanding Musical Marching Unit
Christopher Street West / Los Angeles Pride Parade
2008 and 2009
Providing Parade Audiences
With Something Unexpected Since 1978
|The Concert Band
Because Great Music Should be Heard Live
In Every Community