Ensembles

Ensembles

Members have the opportunity to participate in any of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band’s performing ensembles:

Concert Band
Marching Band
Pep Band
Twirling & Flag Corps

The SFLGFB is the first openly gay musical organization in the world, inspiring the formation of LGBT bands, choruses and performing groups around the globe. On a local level, SFLGFB is the Official Band of San Francisco, having been given that honor by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in honor of the Band’s 20th and 25th anniversaries.

Founded in 1978 by Jon Sims at the height of Anita Bryant’s anti-gay crusade, the Band has made music to build understanding among communities of all sexual orientations and identities for more than three decades. SFLGFB first appeared in public when it marched up Market Street behind Harvey Milk’s convertible in the 1978 San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade, an event recreated in the Oscar-winning film “Milk.”

While Our Mission includes promoting LGBTQ visibility, our musicians come from every walk of life and all sexual orientations and gender identities. We are proud of our diversity. We love our allies! Whoever you are, dust off your instrument and join us. 

If you’re new in town or just looking to expand your circle, the band is also a perfect place to make new friends. Beyond performing and rehearsing together, we enjoy having social events like bonfires on the beach, eating out at restaurants after a gig, or having a few drinks after rehearsals.


Concert Band

The Concert Band, a 75-person symphonic community band, performs five concert sessions per year, typically:

  • Winter Community Concert
  • Spring Broadway Sing-Along
  • Summer Outdoor Community Concert
  • Fall Community Concert
  • Dance-Along Nutcracker in December (up to four shows in one weekend)

Each session includes 5 to 9 rehearsals and a culminating performance or performances. Our Concert Band is open to people of diverse musical ability, sexual orientation, or gender identity with no audition required. The music we play is an expansive mixture of classic symphonic band literature, modern compositions, orchestral transcriptions, pop tunes, and more. Music difficulty ranges from comfortable to challenging to provide a satisfying experience for a musician of any level.

Rehearsals

The Concert Band rehearses weekly on Tuesdays from 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm. For our current rehearsal location, please email membership [at] sflgfb [dot] org. Learn more in New Member FAQ.


Marching & Pep Bands

Marching & Pep Bands members perform two types of gigs: (1) marching in parades and (2) standing (non-moving) indoor or outdoor events. Music is usually interchangeable between the groups. Most players also perform in the Concert Band in addition to both marching and pep gigs, but anyone is welcome to participate in one, two, or all three ensembles.

Come Join Us!

Our marching and pep program is non-audition and especially friendly to people who haven’t picked up their instrument in a while or are switching to something more “marching-esque”. The music we play is a good mixture of some easier pieces and some more challenging, so there is something for everyone at every level.

Similarly, our parade marching style is low impact and easy to pick up. We use a core-style roll step and low mark time with an easy to follow 8 steps to 5 yards stride. We also have some pieces with moving choreography! Whether you’ve been involved with Drum Corps International (DCI) or have never marched before in your life, it is easy to integrate yourself into our band. For pep band gigs, we typically stand or sit and play (no marching).

Rehearsals

Contact us at membership [at] sflgfb [dot] org or marching [at] sflgfb [dot] org for marching and pep band rehearsal locations, times, and other details. If you need an instrument, we can help you find one to borrow, rent, or purchase.

Marching Band

Before a parade or season, our Marching Band typically rehearses outdoors on two or three Sundays. Indoor sit-down music rehearsals happen in conjunction with the Pep Band.

Pep Band

Sit-down Pep Band rehearsals (same as music rehearsals for Marching Band) occur on the third Thursday from February through November,October, with some additional occasional Tuesday evenings (once per quarter).

Performances: Be a Part of Social Change

Through our music, our band is dedicated to forwarding the cause of Gender and Sexual Diversity in all aspects of society. We regularly perform both in San Francisco and across the greater Bay Area, bringing visibility to a broad range of communities. Performance audiences vary from a few dozen to millions at a time, depending on the event.

Regionally, some of our regular events include the Hayward Gay Prom, the Fourth of July Parade in Larkspur/Corte Madera, and at least one of the Pride Parades in Oakland, Santa Cruz, San Jose, Sacramento, or Guerneville.

In San Francisco we perform in the Chinese New Year Parade, the Veteran’s Day Parade, LGBT Night at Giants’ Stadium, Rainbow Day at L.R. Flynn Elementary, and the Annual Pilgrimage to Colma, which honors Jose Sarria a.k.a. The Empress Norton of the Imperial Court. We have a strong showing during Pride month where we support the Trans March and the Dyke March, help dedicate the Pink Triangle, and wind our way through Castro Street on Pink Saturday in addition to marching the Pride Parade.

We also try to plan pep gigs at places like the Castro Street Fair, Berkeley Senior LGBT Center, the New Year’s Senior Luncheon in the Tenderloin, the AIDS Walk, and Walk for the Cure in Golden Gate Park.


Twirling & Flag Corps

The Twirling & Flag Corps generally perform about a half-dozen performances per year in parades: Chinese New Year, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Veteran’s Day, various Pride Parades around the Bay Area, and of course, the San Francisco Pride Parade. There are a few rehearsal sessions leading up to these performances.

Flag Corps

No flag experience is necessary to join the Flag Corps. There is a set routine for the parade songs but an effort is made to keep it simple and fun. Due to our membership being very spread out over the Bay Area, there is a flag training video available below:

Twirlers

Twirlers do not have a set routine, typically free-styling down the parade route, although they do typically join in for any group dance or marching elements that the band does.

Contact us at membership [at] sflgfb [dot] org or marching [at] sflgfb [dot] org for how to get on board!

Marching Band News