Lakeside Pride offers a variety of small ensembles, providing members with the opportunity to collaborate with musicians in an intimate team environment. These groups proudly represent the LGBT community in performance throughout Chicago.

Members currently self-organize a brass quintet, a clarinet choir, a salsa band, the Strayhorns Jazz Combo, the Wilde Cabaret, and a woodwind quintet.

Our season runs year ’round, with rehearsals varying throughout the week based on upcoming performances.  Rehearsals are typically at Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St, Chicago. The show schedule for the small ensembles evolves through the year and is communicated to members via email list.

All members and friends of the LGBT community are welcome to perform with us.

We’d love to have you join our ensemble!

Complete a membership inquiry

If you’d like to have some questions cleared up before making a commitment, though, read on below.

Questions & Answers

Who is Lakeside Pride and what do you do?

Lakeside Pride Music Ensembles is Chicago’s premier family of performance groups for members and friends of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. The Lakeside Pride Symphonic Band was founded in 1997, embodying the vision of the original Chicago-based Great Lakes Freedom Marching Band, which formed in 1979 as one of the first LGBT bands of its kind.

Can I participate if I don’t identify as LGBT?

All members and friends of the LGBT community are welcome to perform with us. About a quarter of our membership are straight, cis-gender allies.

What’s the time commitment?

We typically rehearse on a weekly basis.  Day-of-week and time-of-day vary by ensemble.  All of our rehearsals and performances, including locations, are listed on our calendar.

When are rehearsals and performances?

They’re all listed on our calendar.

Do I have to attend all of the rehearsals and performances?

We request that you attend enough rehearsals to not detract from other performers’ ability to learn the set list and make an effort to attend all performances.

We realize that time is precious, though, and needing to miss more rehearsals or some performances may be unavoidable. The most important thing is for the ensemble director to know what you can and cannot commit to.

What does membership cost?

Membership in all of our ensembles ranges from $90 to $120.

Payment plans and need-based concessions are available.

Can I try before I commit?

You are welcome to participate in the initial rehearsals without having paid dues.

What if I don’t have a car to get to rehearsal or performances?

Our rehearsal sites and most performances are accessible by public transit, Uber, Lyft, and taxi.

If that isn’t workable – we understand you’re probably traveling with an instrument – we encourage you to get in touch. There might be another member in your area we can pair you with.

What if I don’t have an instrument?

Most musicians bring their own instruments.

For some instruments Lakeside Pride has a small number of instruments that are available for members to use.

In rare instances, a member may have an instrument available to lend to another member.

What if I haven’t played for a while?

Many of our members have had decades-long gaps in their performing history. We understand you’ll be rusty – there’s no shame in taking it down an octave, dropping out and letting the rest of your section cover for you, or doing whatever works for you. Your section will be friendly and helpful and do their best to get you back in the groove of things. A few years in, when you’ve got your chops back, we just ask you help other newbies remember how it all works, too.

Are there auditions?

There are no auditions for any Lakeside Pride ensemble. We welcome musicians of all playing abilities.

What should I bring to rehearsal?

Bring a music stand, a tuner, and a pencil.

I still have questions!

Ask away! members@lakesidepride.org

Complete a membership inquiry