The Founders Award is presented by the Board of Directors of Lakeside Pride periodically to recognize the contributions of deserving members not only to the organization, but to the LGBTQ community in Chicago and across the country as well.  Recipients are recognized for their dedication to our organization’s mission, their leadership, and their continuing support that spans across many years of service.

Past Recipients

Kyle Rhoades, 2018

When I joined Lakeside Pride as the conductor of the Symphonic Band in 2008, I had no idea what I was doing…and sometimes I still don’t!  I’m thankful and fortunate that the Board and membership had faith enough in me at the time to give me a chance to lead the band, and I’ve loved it ever since.  As a middle/high school band director, I appreciate every chance I get to rehearse with this group of talented adult musicians. I’m so proud of what Lakeside has become, and I’m excited to see what the future has in store!

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Brandon Strawn, 2017

Brandon StrawnWhen I joined Lakeside Pride in 2008, I was looking for a place to continue playing my trombone after college even though I wasn’t a professional musician.  I had no idea it would turn into my life’s passion. Over the last ten years, I have been marching band uniform coordinator, trombone section leader, chamber ensembles coordinator, and finally Member Resources Officer.  It is an honor beyond compare to represent Lakeside’s massive and growing membership and make sure that everyone gets the same warm feeling of family from the organization. We mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but that word truly says it all: family. Thanks to Lakeside Pride, I have gained valuable life and professional experience, as well as gained literally hundreds of new close friends and contributed

to one of the best non profits I have ever experienced.  Keep leading the sound of progress!

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Andrew Favreau, 2016

2016 Andrew Favreau

When I became Board Chair for Lakeside Pride in 2010, I had the opportunity to lead a group of dedicated board members who all saw the potential for the organization to grow and expand. During my time on the board, we reclaimed our history, built a new foundation for the organization, and established a three year vision with goals – all of which we achieved together. It was a very special moment in the history of the organization for all of us.

I’m very proud of my contributions to the organization.  The ones that mean the most to me include: Leading the 2013/4 marching band uniform campaign; Securing “Orange is the New Black” star Lea DeLaria for the 2014 Women in Music Concert and managing the event; Releasing the live recording of the 2013 Lakeside Pride Symphonic Band Equality Concert on iTunes; Coordinating Lakeside Pride’s involvement in the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack for the Full-Length Feature Film Scrooge & Marley (2012); Researching our history and coordinating our application for Lakeside Pride’s 2011 induction into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame; and building a comprehensive, three-year integrated marketing campaign with media donations valued at approximately $100K.

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Melissa Terrell, 2015

Melissa Terrell holding Founders Award

I was just looking for a place to play my trumpet in 2005 when I found Lakeside Pride. I had no idea how much this organization would shape my life. The people I have met and the experiences I have had, made me who I am today. This organization saves my sanity over and over. Music is my therapy. Lakeside Pride is my home.

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Ty Wells, 2014

Ty Wells

When I joined the group in 1999 I had no idea it would grow into the amazing organization it is now.  We practically started from scratch with everything; beginning with creating a staff for the marching, jazz, and symphonic band back then.  I was actually the very first Marching Band Director and I remember we had a variety of staff meetings all over Chicago and even the suburbs to make sure things would happen and get done. What I remember most is everyone wearing so many different “hats” and having fun while doing it. We laughed a LOT, enjoyed each other’s company and did our best to reach out to the LGBTQ community to make all feel welcome.  It was a wonderful time that I will always remember and cherish. 

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Christy Zurcher, 2013

Christy Zurcher Founders AwardI joined Lakeside Pride after I saw them in the Pride Parade, but not right away. I had back surgery that year, so couldn’t join after I sent in my online inquiry. About a year later, I got a call from one Rhonda Tullis, inviting me to check out the band and so I did. After playing in the marching and symphonic band for one year (2004), the marching band director retired, and someone…I honestly don’t remember who, asked me to consider applying for the marching band director position. Ten years later(2015), I too retired as director of the Freedom Band. I saw the band grow from 20 to 70 at Pride, change our colors, get new equipment, and ultimately choose our beautiful new uniforms. But the most important thing about Lakeside Pride for me will always be the people in it. Most of my best friends I met due to band. We’ve suffered, triumphed, marched, sweat, froze, laughed and cried together in the years I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of this group. We are family.

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Susan Jones, 2012

Sue Jones

SUSAN JONES, 2012 When I volunteered to become “assets manager” for the band, I was handed a half sheet of paper that listed our inventory. It took all eight years as a member at large on the board to create a 24 sheet inventory, toss stuff we didn’t use (VCRs, really?), donate stuff to other bands and create storage for what we did have.

Other highlights include giving the support van for Pride a grass skirt and coconut bra, building a 9 foot tall Stonewall sign for a jazz concert and a five foot diameter birthday cake for the 15th anniversary of Lakeside Pride. Oh, and a big trumpet. And sousa covers. And jazz cabaret tables. And .. stuff.