Atlanta Freedom Bands is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

An affiliate of the Lesbian and Gay Band Association (LGBA).

The MetroGnomes began in 2001 as a saxophone quartet eager to expand their repertoire into jazz. Since then, the 'Gnomes has developed into a premier performance band in and for the Atlanta community. 

Who are We?

The MetroGnomes is a ~ 18 piece community “Big Band” jazz/stage band; if you played in your high school or college band come play with us! You don’t have to audition. There is always room on the stage for more musicians. Our mission is to promote a positive image of the LGBT community by sharing our musical talents in and for the Atlanta community.  

 

What’s our Sound?

The band is composed of saxophones, trumpets, trombones, vocals and a rhythm section with bass, piano, guitar, and drums. We play a variety of genres like traditional jazz standards, swing, and bossa nova, plus newer music arranged for big band.  Most of us play in other AFB groups because we love a variety of musical genres - so it’s ok if you enjoy playing “Uptown Funk” with the Marching Band, an Aaron Copeland piece in the Concert Band and a Count Basie tune with the 'Gnomes!

Meet Our Directors

 

 

Justin Varnes – along with being our Director, Justin is a jazz percussion professor at Georgia State University, a great jazz history storyteller, and a highly sought after performing drummer in Atlanta and beyond.  We hit the jackpot with Justin.  Just do an internet search and you’ll see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Opitz - a recent graduate in jazz saxophone performance from Kennesaw State University, Michael is as our Assistant Director, and also plays with the band.  He is a very talented professional musician and also teaches private lessons.  He has a great sense of humor and loves to say the band is “awesome –cool!”

What’s our Vibe?

Because the 'Gnomes are a smaller group, we all have a voice and help each other play our best. We thrive on constructive critique and positive feedback from one another and our Directors. We enjoy highlighting each other's contributions and encouraging our growth as musicians. 

 

Our members work in the community as professionals in various professions, and we all share a goal to have fun and to play fun music.

 

Where are we Gigging?

The MetroGnomes present two major performances each year (“Spring Swing” and “Swing into the Holidays”) where we rent out a restaurant/dance hall and create an entertaining evening of music, dance, food, and friends. We also perform for several charity events each year such as Charish (Atlanta Furniture Bank) and LGBTQ-related conferences and events.

 

The MetroGnomes are available to perform for any event that supports the mission of the AFB. Performance fees are fully reinvested in the band program to continue to fulfill our mission.

 

When and Where are Rehearsals?

We rehearse weekly on Mondays 7-9: 30 pm (except the first week of each month is typically on Tuesday), and we take some time off during the summer. 

Our rehearsal location is Central Congregational United Church of Christ:  2676 Clairmont Rd NE Atlanta, GA 30329.   

 

We typically rehearse as a full band and sometimes add in sectionals during or outside of the regular schedule. Rehearsals are an important part of honing our sound so we do ask that everyone make the MetroGnomes a priority on rehearsal days. We understand that occasionally life pulls you in many directions...but you’ll miss us when you’re gone, so hurry back!

 

If you'd like to know more,come check out a rehearsal, or book us for an event, click the "email us" button below or give me a call at 678-827-2326.