New Member FAQ
What is the band’s annual schedule like?
We have four concerts a year, roughly scheduled in early March, June, September and December. New members are encouraged to come to one of the first four rehearsal weeks before one of these concerts (starting in January, late March, July and late September). If you would like to march with the Band, a good time to join is late winter in order to be at marching rehearsals scheduled in the early spring. Again, please contact us for exact dates.
How may I participate in weekly band rehearsals?
Day + Time
Tuesdays, 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm
Other rehearsals by announcement.
Try to arrive by 7:10 so you have time to set up and warm up. If you must be late, please assemble your instrument and enter quietly.
For our current rehearsal location, please call 415-255-1355 or email membership [at] sflgfb [dot] org
What to Bring
Music stand, instrument, pencil with eraser, music folder, flip folder for marching music. Unless announced otherwise, each weekly rehearsal is for the concert band. Concert and marching music is provided at rehearsals. Please do not take music home until you have committed to the concert or performance we are currently rehearsing.
At rehearsal, music is available in section folders. Please feel free to ask your section mates if you have any questions. Music is available to take home to practice, but please return for the next rehearsal if you do take it home.
If you like to perform, you’ve picked the best community band in America! The Band gets invited to more events than it can possibly accept. Since you are new, it’s too soon to talk much about performances, but as you join the band there will be the opportunity to vote on performances.
You need to be aware that the band decides to accept invitations by sufficient individuals volunteering to perform for the event. We generally vote for rather than against a performance. No one is obliged to participate in an event if they do not wish to perform, but if you say “yes” to a performance, you are committing to be there. If enough people want to do it, we will do the event — however, musical balance and other issues override a decision.
On the other hand, you MUST check with the appropriate leadership if you wish to participate in an event for which you did not raise your hand (ask and we’ll explain why). Your ability to participate is subject keeping your dues current (your first quarter is free) and meeting rehearsal requirements for the events in question.
How do I participate in the Marching Band?
The Marching Band is great fun, and the most visible aspect of the Band. We perform in front of television cameras and millions of people each year in such high-profile parades as Chinese New Year and San Francisco LGBTQ Pride. We have also made out-of-town trips to cities such Reno, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, San Diego and Fresno for their celebrations. Marching is a great way to show your Pride.
In order to participate, you must attend at least two marching rehearsals and pep/marching music rehearsals (usually 1/2 of a regular rehearsal). We also occasionally have a “marching fundamentals” rehearsal, so if you’ve never marched or feel rusty, don’t despair — attending one of those will get you up to speed. Marching rehearsals are only held a few times per year and depend on weather conditions, so do be patient. While Marching Events take place throughout the year, most of them are in the February — July period.
Marching music includes three pieces we are known for — “California,”If My Friends Could See Me Now” and “San Francisco.” These are collectively known as “The Big 3.” We also usually include a traditional march and one or two extra “pop” tunes for marching season. There is no need to memorize these, but we will rehearse them during both a “sit-down” music rehearsal and while marching.
Our uniforms consist of black tuxedos, a hat and rainbow plume, a red citation braid and an overlay. Overlays are handed out the day of the event, and are collected immediately after the event. You need to provide black shoes comfortable for marching, black socks and a black T-shirt or undershirt for underneath the tuxedo. More uniform information can be found on the Uniform Page of the Band Handbook, or contact the Uniform Coordinator at a rehearsal.
What about band dues?
It takes a lot of money to keep a band like this together. We must pay for uniforms, rehearsal and storage space, instruments, music, telephones, publicity for events, and so many other needs! We get contributions, public funds, earn fees and prizes, and collect dues from our members. Dues are $50 per calendar quarter; people who only participate in marching events pay $50 for one year. Your first quarter is complimentary — no fee. If money is a problem for you, please share that information with the Band Bursar: waivers, discounts, and scholarships are always available.
How will the band communicate with me?
With an organization as large, busy, and diverse as the Band, we have to put a lot of energy into making sure people understand what we’re up to! Here are some key channels for communication:
Each rehearsal, our main announcement time is just before break. Please hold down any talking while this takes place. If you wish to make an announcement, walk to the front of the room and wait in line. Announcements should be items relevant to the Band (we do take a pretty broad view of what that means) and kept fairly short (under one minute).
You’ll see our newsletter, Band Notes, for handout near the door each rehearsal. It’s a great source of information about the Band and what’s happening now; plus it will give you a near-term schedule of events and names and numbers for key people. Pick up a copy every week!
Band Yahoo Group
At the first rehearsal, the Band Secretary will collect your email information and invite you to join the Band Member the Yahoo Group. Please do not “digest” this Yahoo Group as we use it to send important messages on the day of performances.