Band Memories

Our Stories

The San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band has touched numerous lives in many ways in its nearly 40 years of performing. You can also submit your musical memory via e-mail to sflgfb [at] sflgfb [dot] org.

Here are memories from a few of the lives that the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band has touched.

Dr. Beth Brown


It is with considerable sadness that we pass along the news the long-time Band member Dr. Beth Brown has passed away.

Beth was 60 years old and played Alto Clarinet and flute in the SFLGFB for around half her life. Beth is survived by family members, Stephen Ludwig, her husband, and Jason, their son. For several years after her son Jason was born, he was a regular fixture at Band rehearsals and performances. He is a true “band baby.”

If you knew Dr. Beth Brown, you know how sweet and generous she was and how much the SFLGFB meant to her.

Blair Barrett


1963 – 2012 SFLGFB Bari, Alto & Tenor Sax, Board Member, Past President, Volunteer, Bowler, Friend and Dog Lover Stage One Community Theater Music Director You touched our hearts. We will miss you.

Gary Barber

As I sat in the hallway waiting for our turn on the performance stage at the top of the stairs under the rotunda at City Hall yesterday I was musing about our history with this building and with the City of San Francisco. For the founding of the band in 1978 coincides with the assassination…

Heidi Beeler


I’ve been Out in Gay Mecca for 20 years. On the last Sunday of every June, I make a beeline from some point west of the Ferry Building down to City Hall, crammed between convertibles and motorcycles, dodging men on roller skates dressed in day-glo G-strings and bristling with balloons, and batting down pamphlets against…

Steven Schultz

The band first met in early June 1978 at a major disco called “Trocadero Transfer.” We were amazed to find a group of about 60 musicians. Ultimately, our first flutist was my teacher, Patrick Hurtado, who was a Julliard graduate. He studied with Julius Baker, the principal flutist in the New York Philharmonic. He was…

Santo Mirabile, Jr.

It was 1982 when visiting San Francisco, hoping to live and work there, that I joined the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching Band as First Clarinet. It made me proud at last to be a homosexual and to share my talent with like-oriented musicians. It wasn’t meant to be that I find work in…

Rick Eckel

If I hadn’t moved to San Francisco, I’d have missed one of the most important events in my life — being there with my lover Tandy in June 1978 when the first gay band stepped off onto Market Street greeted by a tearfully screaming crowd of celebrants whose souls and creativity were inspired as a…

Gayle Mahoney

I was in the SF band for two years, ’92-’94, playing the trumpet. It was a great experience for me, a defining part of being out, having community, and giving back to the city of San Francisco. When we went to NYC in 1994 for Gay Games, I met my future partner… I moved to…

Miriasiem Barnes

What a journey, my life has taken many chartered and unchartered paths and the road that hold me near and dear still to this very moment is the love and care road each and every member of this band has access to. In many ways this band saved my life! Thank you for the ability…

Bill Boletta

Congratulations on the 20th Anniversary. How time flies! As one of the original charter members of the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching Band and Twirling Corps (as it was called back then), I send my congratulations from Tokyo, Japan, where I now live and where I happened by chance upon your website today. I…