The Symphonic Band is our largest ensemble, drawing more than 100 performers each season. Audiences are enamored by the group’s repertoire, which spans from traditional band literature and orchestral transcriptions to pop and show tunes. The ensemble frequently performs with special guests and for other community organizations, and have been featured at Chicago landmarks like the Chicago Cultural Center and the Anthenaeum Theater.

Our seasons run from January to April and September to November, with rehearsals on Sundays from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. typically at Preston Bradley Center, 941 W. Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60640. The concert schedule for the symphonic band is determined in the spring of each year.

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 Sundays January to April for the spring season and September to November for the fall season from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. 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 not miss more than three rehearsals and make an effort to attend all performances.

We realize that weekends are precious, though, and needing to miss more rehearsals or some performances may be unavoidable. The most important thing is for your section leader to know in advance 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, like percussion, 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 music do you play?

The symphonic band’s repertoire includes new and traditional band literature, orchestral transcriptions, pop and show tunes, and other audience favorites. The ensemble frequently performs with special guests, such as the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus and composer Robert Sheldon.

What should I bring to rehearsal?

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

How will the band communicate with me?

With an organization as large, busy, and diverse as the band, we know how important it is that people understand what’s going on!

Announcements

Each rehearsal, our main announcement time is just before break. If you wish to make an announcement, just raise your hand or stand up when no one else is talking. Announcement items should be generally relevant to the Band and kept fairly short.

Weekly newsletter

Our email newsletter goes out once a week, usually on Fridays. It’s a great source of information about what’s happening currently with all Lakeside Pride ensembles, including upcoming events, calls for volunteers, performance opportunities, and rehearsal notes from the conductors.

Text

Our member resources officer will share instructions for signing up for text alerts, which we use to send important messages about last-minute rehearsal or performance changes, etc.

Facebook group

You’ll be invited to join the Lakeside Pride Facebook group, as one more way to stay informed about band activities, share pictures, join events, and generally stay connected.

Section leader

Each section has a section leader that has been a member for multiple years. The section leader will be your personal liaison to the rest of the band.

I still have questions!

Ask away! symphonic@lakesidepride.org

Complete a membership inquiry