Join an Ensemble
Members can participate in any of the band’s performing ensembles:
The San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band is the first openly-gay musical organization in the world, inspiring the formation of LGBTQ+ bands, choruses and performing groups around the globe. On a local level, in December 2018, San Francisco Mayor London Breed signed into law an ordinance declaring the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band the ‘Official Band of the City and County of San Francisco’ which coincided with the end of the Band’s 40th Anniversary year. Learn more about the history of the band.
While our mission includes promoting LGBTQ+ visibility, our members come from every walk of life, all sexual orientations and gender identities. We are proud of our diversity and we love our allies! Meet some of our members and read their stories.
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 or eating out at restaurants after a gig.
The Concert Band, a 75-person symphonic community band, performs five concert sessions per year, typically:
- Winter Community Concert
- Spring Spotlight on Broadway sing-along concert
- Summer Outdoor Community Concert
- Fall Community Concert
- Holiday Dance-Along Nutcracker® (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.
Members of the Marching & Pep Bands 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.
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).
Visit our Contact page and select “New Member” 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. Learn more in New Member FAQ.
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.
Sit-down Pep Band rehearsals (same as music rehearsals for Marching Band) occur on the third Thursday from February through 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 with the SF Giants at Oracle Park, Rainbow Day at L.R. Flynn Elementary, and the Annual Pilgrimage to Colma, which honors Jose Sarria a.k.a. The Widow 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.
Visit our Contact page and select “New Member” for more information on how to get on board!
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 do not have a set routine, typically free-styling down the parade route, although they do usually join in for any group dance or marching elements that the band does.