I’m in the Band to keep myself involved with live music making, playing with others socially, giving back to my communities (gay, straight, and otherwise), and keeping up a sense of family. I have had so many opportunities with the Band that I would never have had otherwise. For example, I can look back on travel to (and playing my instrument in) international places like Dublin, Vancouver, Cologne, Amsterdam, London, and so many US cities like Chicago, New York, Fort Lauderdale, Kansas City, Cleveland, on and on. So many lovely experiences like Band Camps under the redwoods at Cazadero, marching in Presidential Inaugural Parades, traveling with the Band on buses and even airplanes (ask me how we used to crack up our flight attendants – worked every time!). Meeting people from all walks of life, and making a difference in theirs by the music we played. Visiting friends who I might never see otherwise because of how separated we are geographically, but finding how like-minded we are under the surface (and how different, as well!). Learning to cherish our similarities and differences, and using music to approach a better understanding of our common human condition. Mind expanding discussions about inclusivity, privilege, and society, and realizing where I’m at in the spectrum of diversity of our culture. For all these reasons, and so many more, I am and will remain a member of this Band and the overall Lesbian/Gay Band Association (LGBA) for life.
I have participated in every SF Pride Parade since I moved to California in fall of 1976, but I had convinced myself that, much as I loved to get back involved with music, which I had given up during my college years for computer and electrical engineering studies, a 70-mile round-trip to rehearsals every week during commute hours was just too much. It took me 9 years and a story involving the 1984 KFJC Radio “Louie, Louie” Marathon, a rental Sousaphone, and a “threat” from my lover Gary to make me realize I needed to just do it. So I approached the Band at their booth after the 1987 Pride Parade, and the rest was history. I’m very happy that the Band was able to keep itself together for those nine years without me, and am heartened to see that we are still going strong after 40. I’m looking forward to the big 50th Anniversary Celebrations to come!