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Join Us for Summertime Funtime Concert Band Reading Sessions!

Dust off those mouthpieces and drag that instrument out of the closet!

We have three Summertime Funtime Concert Band Reading Sessions coming up this month!  Our directors as well as a few of our members will be leading us through a wide variety of fun and interesting pieces, some we are trying out for the upcoming concert season and some we are playing just for fun!  We welcome wind band and percussion musicians at all levels and of all orientations to sit in and meet the wonderful people that make up Atlanta Freedom Bands.

The rehearsals will take place over three Sundays this month: August 10, 17, and 24 at 6 PM.  The rehearsal location is Saint Paul United Methodist Church, 501 Grant Street SE, Atlanta, GA 30312.  [Click for directions.]

Here are some highlights of pieces on the schedule for the three weeks:
"Candide Suite" by Leonard Bernstein
"The Symphonians" by Clifton Williams
"Second Suite in F" by Gustav Holst
Suites from Les Misérables and Miss Saigon
"Traveler's Tale" - a suite by Sousa
"Rolling Thunder" - a march by Sousa
"Poet and Peasant Overture" by von Suppé
"Aurora Borealis" by Robert Rumbelow
"Flight" by Robert Sheldon
"Carmen Suite" by Bizet
"Salvation is Created" by Pavel Tchesnokov
"Masque" by W. Francis McBeth
"O Cool is the Valley" by Vincent Persichetti
Plus a few selections for the holiday concert
Plus a few more surprises just for band-geeky-enjoyment!

We also have two special treats!  We will be the first band EVER to read "Land of the Morning Calm", a new suite of Korean folk songs by Eric Dollerschell-Petry, the director of our sister organization, the Minnesota Freedom Band.  We will also read a new composition by one of our own AFB members, "The War of Fantasia" by J.P. Dennis.

Be sure to join the Summertime Funtime Facebook event for more fun postings as we draw near to the date.  Come Out and Play!

Holiday Spectacular Concert Poster
Holiday Spectacular!  Our 20th Anniversary Concert"
Saturday, December 21, 2013, 8 PM
 
Atlanta Freedom Bands celebrated its 20th anniversary during December’s “Holiday Spectacular” concert!  For the first time ever, ALL of our performing ensembles performed together on the same stage. The show featured swinging selections from the MetroGnomes Stage Band, delightful dance routines from our Color Guard, festive favorites from the Marching Band, and a program of familiar and unusual holiday pieces from the Concert Band. Our master of holiday ceremonies was WSB Radio’s Chris Chandler. The concert also featured a celebration of AFB's 20 years of representing our city's LGBT community in music.

The concert program included:

From the Marching Band -
"Frosty the Snowman" by Walter "Jack" Rollins and Steve Nelson
"Winter Wonderland" by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith

From the MetroGnomes -
"Jingle Bell Rock" by Joesph Beal and James Boothe
(with dance by the Color Guard)
"Zat You Santa Claus?" by Jack Fox

From the Concert Band -
"C'est Noël" by André Jutras
"Holiday for Trombones" by David Rose
"Ave Maria" by Franz Biebl
"Baroque and Blue, Part One" by Claude Bolling
"Russian Christmas Music" by Alfred Reed
"A Christmas Festival" by Leroy Anderson
"Christmas Sing-A-Long" by James Ployhar

And our 20th Anniversary highlight:
"If My Friends Could See Me Now" by Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields


A Milestone Event - "Color Our World: Life, Spirit, Magic!"
 
On Saturday October 12, 2013 over 200 musicians from 32 different LGBT bands in the Lesbian and Gay Band Association presented the 2013 LGBA Conference concert gala to an enthusiastic and excited audience at the Ferst Center.  The venue resonated with the latest in symphonic wind band music, including the world premiere of "Colors: A Celebration!" from Atlanta composer Tim Jansa, specially commissioned for this event.  


Atlanta author and playwright Topher Payne was the special guest host for the evening who provided an insightful and entertaining narrative for the performance.


Following the scheduled program the audience was treated to a performance of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" featuring the vocal talents of Kyla Grogan.
 

This event was the largest number of LGBT bands assembled in one place at the same time.  The concert audience enjoyed a rare opportunity to hear both a wind symphony of this size and the world premiere of a new work.  The concert program included music inspired by the meanings behind the original 8-color rainbow flag, which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year.  The concert program included:
 
Opener: "Skysplitter!" by V. Oppido
Red - Life:  "Promise of Living" by Aaron Copland, arr. Curnow
Orange - Healing:  "Sure on This Shining Night" by Samuel Barber
Yellow - Sunlight:  "Sun Dance" by Frank Ticheli
Green - Nature:  "In Nature's Glory" by Brian Balmadges
Turquoise - Magic:  "Selections from Wicked" by Stephen Schwartz
Indigo - Serenity:  "October" by Eric Whitacre
Violet - Human Spirit:  "Joy" by Joseph Curiale
Hot Pink - Sexuality:  "Big Band Tribute" by John Wasson
Premiere:  "Colors: A Celebration" by Tim Jansa
 
The concert artistic team included Dr. Kathleen Nicole Fallin, Atlanta Freedom Bands Artistic DirectorMr. Kurt Wackerly, Atlanta Freedom Bands Associate Director; and guest conductors Dr. John Lynch, Director of Bands at the University of Georgia and Mr. Brian Worsdale, Artistic Director of French Woods Festival for the Performing Arts.
 
The concert was presented with support from MailChimp, the title sponsor of the 2013 LGBA Conference.  

The concert was supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly.  Georgia Council for the Arts also receives support from its partner agency - the National Endowment for the Arts.  

Funding for this program was also provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners under the guidance of the Fulton County Arts Council.  

Atlanta Freedom Bands proudly presented this program as a community partner with the Atlanta Pride Committee. 

Atlanta Freedom Bands Members Help Make History
Several members from the Atlanta Freedom Bands have joined other Lesbian and Gay Band Association musicians and auxiliary groups from around the United States to once again play a part in history.  

The Lesbian and Gay Band Association was selected from more than 2,800 bands to perform for President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden during the 57th Presidential Inaugural Parade on Monday, January 21, 2013. 

This is the only lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group in history to be invited to march in a Presidential Inaugural Parade. Their first appearance in the Inaugural Parade was in 2009.

Click here to view the video entry submitted for the 2013 Inauguration parade and see footage of the band at the 2009 parade.

Learn more about the Lesbian and Gay Band Association here.

Other coverage of LGBT representation in this inaugural event:

photo courtesy lgba.org

Our American Journey with host Melissa Carter
The Atlanta Freedom Bands’ Concert Band kicked off Atlanta’s Stonewall Week in music with a concert program which visited significant landmarks in the history of the LGBT civil rights movement.  The musical itinerary included New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and points in between.

The audience was treated to  FM 106.7’s Melissa Carter as a tour guide and host for the evening!

The concert  took place on Saturday, June 22, 8 PM at Saint Mark United Methodist Church, 781 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30308. (Directions)

Under the baton of Music Director Dr. Kathleen Nicole Fallin and Associate Director Kurt Wackerly, the concert program included:



"American Overture for Band" by Joseph Wilcox Jenkins
"City Trees" by Michael Markowski
"Give My Regards To Broadway" by George M. Cohan
"In Memoriam" by Mark Camphouse
(presented in memory of Matthew Shepard and all who have fallen)
Selections from "Chicago" by Kandor and Ebb
"Hooray for Hollywood" by Warren Barker
"Silence Overwhelmed" by Brian Balmadges
(presented in celebration of Harvey Milk)
"Saddle Up!" by Clifton Jones
"Blues for a Killed Kat" by Jack End
"America The Beautiful" by Samuel Ward with words by Katherine Bates

Funding for this program was provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners under the guidance of the Fulton County Arts Council. The Atlanta Freedom Bands proudly presented this program as a community partner with the Atlanta Pride Committee.

Atlanta Freedom Bands Hosts the 2013 LGBA Conference
At the 2011 Lesbian and Gay Band Association (LGBA) conference in Seattle, Washington, the Atlanta Freedom Bands was selected to host the 2013 conference.  This will be a milestone event for the Atlanta Freedom Bands it will also coincide with the organization's 20th anniversary as a member of the Association and will also take place during the 2013 Atlanta Pride celebration.

Planning and other preparation is already well under way for this global conference.   Visit2013.lgba.org for more details! 

MetroGnomes Invite You to a Spring Swing!
Grab your dancing shoes and travel back in time for a night of big band swing classics! 

Our MetroGnomes Stage Band has favorites from Glen Miller, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and more in store. 

Start the evening by learning a few swing steps from our dance instructor at 7:30 PM. 

Live music starts at 8:00 PM. 

You can dance the night away, or enjoy the show from your table. We also have drinks and desserts to keep you in a festive mood.

The Spring Swing! will take place at the 


Free street parking is available.

Tickets for the event, including two drink coupons, are $20 and may be purchased at the door on the day of the event.

"Spring Swing" raises funds for Atlanta Freedom Bands as we prepare to host the Lesbian and Gay Band Association's international conference this fall. We look forward to seeing you there!

Join this event on Facebook, invite your friends to the Spring Swing and show your support for the MetroGnomes and Atlanta Freedom Bands.

Fantastic Holiday!
Atlanta Freedom Bands began its 20th performance season with "Holiday Fantasy", bringing together the AFB Concert Band and the MetroGnomes Stage Band for an evening of fantastic takes on holiday favorites. 

The concert also featured the debut of AFB’s newly named Music Director, Dr. Kathleen Nicole Fallin.

A record audience for an Atlanta Freedom Bands concert performance filled the sanctuary and balcony of the North Decatur Presbyterian Church and enjoyed a program that explored some of the more fantastical elements that make the holidays such a magical time. The evening featured pieces evoking toys coming to life, a meeting 
between Saint Nick and James Bond, a mixup when Halloween discovers Christmas, and a special visitor from the North Pole. The audience also joined in the music making with  a swing-along sing-along!

The program included these selections performed by the AFB Concert Band:
A Christmas Fantasy by Roland Barrett
March of the Toys by Victor Herbert
Greensleeves Fantasie by Anne McGinty
Selections from "A Nightmare Before Christmas" by Danny Elfman
The Eighth Candle by Steve Reisteter

These selections performed by the MetroGnomes Stage Band:
It's the Holiday Season by Kay Thompson
Santa Baby by Joan Javits
Big Band Holiday, arranged by Carl Strommen

And, these selections performed by both groups together:
Good Swing Wenceslas, arranged by Sammy Nestico
Grown Up Christmas List by David Foster & Linda Thompson-Jenner
Secret Agent Santa, by Jeff Simmons
Christmas Pop Sing-A-Long, arranged by James Ployhar

2012 Pride
The Atlanta Freedom Bands marching season reached it's peak with the 2012 Atlanta Pride Festival parade.  

Leading the marching band was the Atlanta Freedom Bands Color Guard which drew raves and applause from onlookers who enjoyed their routines and eye catching costumes, colorful flags, pom-poms and a fierce, masked baton twirler.

The Marching Band and Color Guard will close the 2012 marching season with performances at the AIDS Walk and the Little 5 Points, Grant Park and Decatur Halloween parades.

Check out our Upcoming Events for information on when and where you can enjoy an Atlanta Freedom Bands ensemble performance.

Vive la musique!  Vive l'amour! Vive la France!
On Saturday July 28, Atlanta Freedom Bands led a record breaking audience a guided musical tour of la belle France with music from favorite French composers.  

The voyage stretched from Paris to Provence and from the Révolution to modern times.  

The program featured favorites and lesser-known gems by Hector Berlioz, Camille Saint-Saëns, Jaques Offenbach, François Gossec, Serge Lancen, Darius Milhaud and Claude Debussy, who celebrated his 150th birthday this year.  


Atlanta Freedom Bands Receives First-Ever Grant from the Georgia Council for the Arts!
On July 3rd, the Georgia Council for the Arts awarded Atlanta Freedom Bands a $1,600 matching grant to assist in the production of its planned concert for March 2013.  In awarding the grant, the review panel commended the organization for being a “large, diverse group that maintains a high standard of excellence” and its “partnerships with LGBT groups of all ages.”
 
Atlanta Freedom Bands President, Cliff Norris remarked, “We have worked very hard over the past several years, steadily improving our musicianship and constantly striving to be a source of pride for the LGBT community in Atlanta and in our state.  Receiving a grant from the Georgia Council for the Arts is a great honor and recognition for our band.”
 
The grant provides a dollar-for-dollar match of community and corporate support.  “We are looking to our community for support in meeting the goal,” said Mr. Norris, “whether through ticket sales, program ads or donations to the band.”


¡Una Fiesta Musical!
On Saturday May 19, the Atlanta Freedom Bands guided an audience on a musical journey South of the Border.  

With a repertoire which included pieces by composers hailing from Mexico to Argentina, the concert program featured the full concert band as well as six different chamber ensembles.  

Together the groups performed selections which invited the audience to dance the tango and huapango, savor a samba from Brazil, engage in the music of indigenous peoples, and high-step through lively marches.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!
On Saturday December 17, the Concert Band delivered a holiday performance entitled "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year".  The repertoire included selections spanning multiple cultures and beliefs and included some familiar and popular pieces as well.

This was the first Concert Band performance under the baton of Kurt Wackerly our recently appointed Associate Director.

The audience also enjoyed an Atlanta Freedom Bands Wind Quintet performance of "March of the Toys" from Babes in Toyland.  

Adding to the festivities was a quartet of dancing elves, also known as the Atlanta Freedom Bands Color Guard, who choreographed festive dance routines to a recording of "Funky Christmas" by Nicholas Caldwell and an encore performance of "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" by the Concert Band.  

Atlanta Freedom Marching Band Plays a Part in History 
The Atlanta Freedom Marching Band was invited  by the American Veterans for Equal Rights to perform at a Retreat Ceremony celebrating the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" prohibition on openly gay soldiers.  The ceremony took place on Monday September 19, at Piedmont Park.
(photo courtesy of thegavoice.com)

Soul of the South Summer Concert

On Saturday evening July 23, 2011 the Atlanta Freedom Bands Concert Band delivered a summer concert entitled "Soul of the South".  This was a successful event for the organization.

The program included 
music that reflects the traditions, history and spirit of the southern United States from American composers including George Gershwin, Julie Giroux, David Holsinger, John Philip Sousa, James Swearingen and Frank Ticheli.  

Under the baton of Music Director Dr. Patrick Carney, the repertoire was one of the most challenging the Concert Band has performed to date.

The Concert Band was pleased to have several members of the Charlotte Pride Band join them for this performance.

This was also an inaugural event for the Atlanta Freedom Bands Woodwind Quintet which performed an eclectic assortment of movements from pieces composed by Scott Joplin and William Grant Still.

Taking it to the streets!
The Atlanta Freedom Bands started the 2011 marching season at the Inman Park Festival parade on Saturday, April 30.  

There are a number of Marching Band events planned for this year, culminating in the Atlanta Pride celebration in October. 

The Marching Band is actively looking for musicians eager to  play fun and "moving" music.  If you are interested in joining us for this marching season contact us immediately.  

The marching band performs at numerous events throughout the season.  Many performances are stand still and some are true parade performances.  Musicians and Color Guard are invited to join us to "Come Out and Play!"

Check the Upcoming Events to learn when you can enjoy a performance by one of the Atlanta Freedom Bands ensembles.

BRAVO!
On Sunday afternoon April 3, 2011 the Atlanta Freedom Bands Concert Band delivered a spring concert entitled "Bravo! A Night at the Opera".  This was a milestone event for the organization.  

The music was some of the most challenging the concert band has ever performed. The program included overtures from opera classics and favorites such as Turandot, The Marriage of Figaro and The Bartered Bride.

Other LGBA organizations from Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia and Phoenix joined the Atlanta Concert Band for this performance.  This was the largest number of musicians the concert band has ever had on stage. 

Under the baton of Music Director Dr. Patrick Carney, the Concert Band delivered an emotional and energetic performance.  

This was also an inaugural event for the Atlanta Freedom Bands Saxophone Ensemble which performed familiar selections from the opera Carmen.  This group is the newest ensemble in the Atlanta Freedom Bands organization.

John Lemley from WABE 90.1 FM, was the special guest host for this performance.

Hope for the Holidays 
On Saturday, December 8, 2010 the Atlanta Freedom Bands concert band delivered a performance entitled "Hope for the Holidays".  This was an evening of music dedicated to the Emory Hope Clinic and the Evolution Project.

The performance repertoire included titles and scores with themes of remembrance, spirituality and hope with works by Frank Ticheli, James Swearingen, Johannes Brahms, James Curnow, Sean O’Loughlin, Leroy Anderson and more.

In addition there were a few traditional holiday tunes in keeping with the spirit of the season.

Each year, World AIDS Day offers a time to remember those whom we have lost, reflect on ways to improve the lives of people living with HIV and organize the community to take action.  Atlanta Freedom Bands has partnered with Emory’s Hope Clinic and AID Atlanta’s Evolution Project to wrap these ideas in a sense of hope for better prevention, treatments and possibly even a vaccine in the future.

2010 Pride
The Atlanta Freedom Bands ended it's 2010 marching season with the Atlanta Pride parade and several stand still events including an on stage performance at the opening ceremony for the 2010 AIDS Walk and a final performance at the Halloween showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Historic Plaza Theater in midtown Atlanta.

The 2010 Atlanta Pride parade was the highlight of the season with the Marching Band sporting new uniform shirts.  A newly formed Color Guard drew raves from the crowds along the parade route as well as at performances in Piedmont Park following the parade. 

Check out our Upcoming Events for information on when and where you can enjoy an Atlanta Freedom Bands ensemble performance.