In honor of National LGBT+ Pride month, Classical Music Indy spoke with the Pride of Indy Bands, Indiana’s only LGBT+ and ally instrumental ensemble. The Pride of Indy Bands’ mission is to be an outlet and a resource for anyone who wants to continue playing past high school and/or college. The Pride of Indy is comprised of both LGBT+ people and LGBT+ allies that participate in and support the bands.
Pride of Indy Bands: Come out and play!
In 2005, a small group of musicians and music-lovers gathered together to help plan the Annual Indy Pride Parade and Festival. The group imagined a concept that included having a band of LGBT+ people and allies march in the parade. What began as a scribble on a napkin soon turned into the Pride of Indy Bands. The original idea was for the Pride of Indy Bands to be a marching band only, but shortly thereafter it evolved into a multi-band organization.
Laura Blake, current President of the Pride of Indy Bands, recalls discussions in early 2005 revolving around having a band participate in Indy Pride. “Indy Pride at the time was looking at the parade and the festival, and we were like ‘we really need a marching band, why don’t we have this?’” Blake and her friends reached out to members of the community. They also contacted the Lesbian and Gay Band Association (LGBA), who then put out a call that brought in band members from across the country. With a combination of local band members and band members from different states, the 2005 Indy Pride Parade had its first marching band.
Later that year in September, Blake remembers the core group of band members asking “What would happen if we had a concert band?” Soon after posing this query, they had their answer with the Pride of Indy’s Concert Band giving its first performance in December 2005. The idea of having multiple bands within the Pride of Indy snowballed and by 2007 the group had grown, with opportunities for Pep Band, Marching Band, Jazz Band, Concert Band, and Visual Ensemble.
Today the Pride of Indy Bands performs five or more concerts per year at venues like Garfield Park, the Athenaeum, the Indianapolis Artsgarden, and, of course, the Indy Pride Parade. When asked about who can join the Pride of Indy Bands, Laura Blake replied that the band is open to anyone of any skill level. Blake stated, “It’s a place for everyone to come and play. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your background is. [Our band is] a little bit of everything for everyone.”
One of the most important aspects for members of the Pride of Indy is the sense of community and support that the bands offer. When remarking about the impact the Pride of Indy has on musicians, Blake stated “I think people crave a place to belong and Pride of Indy can offer that. We don’t just play our rehearsals and leave, we support each other. It’s a great place to go to find out what Indianapolis’ LGBT community and its allies are all about. We are very approachable. We just want to give people a place to play music.” This approach to building a community has led to not only an increase in membership for the Pride of Indy Bands, but also lifelong friendships between members within the band.
As membership increases for the Pride of Indy Bands so does the band’s performance opportunities. The Pride of Indy Bands is proud to be a vibrant and consistent contributor to the LGBT+ community and to Indianapolis.
Classical Music Indy salutes you, Pride of Indy Bands. Play on!
For more information about upcoming performances by the Pride of Indy Bands visit: http://www.prideofindy.org/performances
Interested in joining the Pride of Indy Bands? Click here.