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Indy LGBTQ Band to Come Marching into Pride Fest

June 7, 2018
        Pride of Indy Band at Indy Pride Fest
Indy Pride Festival. Photo : prideofindy.org

For people in the LGBTQ community, their allies, and more, June is a month of celebration, history, and most importantly, pride. For the Pride of Indy Band, June means it’s almost time for one of its most important annual events.

The Indy Pride Festival is not only the largest gathering of LGBTQ people in Indiana, but also an annual event for the Pride of Indy Band. Indiana’s only instrumental ensemble comprised of LGBTQ people and their allies that offers a safe space for people of any experience level to make music in a welcoming environment.

Born out of a conversation in 2005 with the President of the Indy Pride Festival, The Lesbian and Gay Band Association and a willing community, the band formed and marched in its first parade.

Since 2005, the Pride of Indy Band has been turning up the volume at each annual parade at the Indy Pride Festival. For president Laura Blake, the buildup to the event makes the performance much more rewarding.

The excitement peaks “when all the logistics are done and everyone is in their seats,“ Blake said, “and you’re like, ‘Okay, we got here and now we are going to have a great performance.’”

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The band is well aware that people’s expectations are high for the upcoming event. The group has been practicing since April for the parade in Indianapolis June 9.

Pride of Indy Band Practicing. Pride of Indy Band. Photo : Prideofindy.org

The yearly parade is just one of many events that the Pride of Indy Band participates in. Blake is looking forward to a performance in Garfield park on Thursday, August 2nd. After Labor Day, the ensembles will participate in fall performances and holiday concerts.

Blake mentioned, “Anybody can be a part of the organization, whether you are LGBT+ or not, and support the community at large.” With a group of about 50 members, ages range from 18 to late 60s.

In many ways, the Indy Pride Festival is a tradition that brings the band closer together year after year.

“I think we are a pretty close-knit group,” Blake said, “You really don’t know until you get there that this is really an embracing community and an ensemble that will really welcome anyone into their arms.

Pride of Indy Band Practicing. Pride of Indy Band. Photo : Facebook.com

“We present a diverse face. When people actually get in front of us and see that we’ve got all kinds of different people playing for us,” Blake said, “we have the opportunity for a silent impact for change.”

For more stories about gender identity and sexuality, explore First Person, a PBS Digital Studios weekly forum on LGBTQ-related issues, topics, and news.

The Pride of Indy Band plans to continue to generate change through educational initiatives. The band plans to implement a volunteer lesson program and a potential relationship with the Indiana Youth Group next summer.

With plans for next year already in the pipeline, this year’s educational initiatives are already in the works.

“We do a good job educationally from just being a presence in the community. We can get out there and really just show the community that anybody can play an instrument,” Blake said.

June is not only a month for pride, it can potentially be a month of new experience. Whether you are a professional or haven’t played in years, The Pride of Indy Band welcomes you.