This week, LGSW teamed up with the LGBA (Lesbian and Gay Band Association) to put on a display of formation marching and playing at this year’s World Pride march in London.
The LGBA were represented by musicians from cities all over America (and one from Dublin) who flew over to join us for a week of events and rehearsals, culminating in Saturday’s march.
The week kicked of on Wednesday with a boat party on the Thames, where we enjoyed the sights of the London skyline and the sounds of the London Gay Big Band‘s excellent tunes. Then on Friday it was time for Michael Tolliver and Ron Hughes from the LGBA to show the UK players how bands from the USA put on a show. We spent an afternoon in Battersea Park lining up, marching in step and even incorporating some basic choreography into our playing – it was a totally new experience for many of the British players, but everyone was soon looking like a well drilled unit!
Saturday’s Pride parade started rather on the damp side, with a significant amount of rain as we gathered together, but it soon dried up and we even had some sunshine as we started the march. The repertoire on the day was a collection of gay anthems (Born This Way, YMCA, Bad Romance, We Are Family) and the crowds lining the route cheered us on and even joined in with the singing and actions. Probably the biggest cheers of the day came as we turned into Regent Street and the heavens completely opened – soaking the band to the skin in minutes – but we kept on playing and entertaining the crowds regardless. Fortunately the warm weather meant we were dry by the time we got to the end.
The day really was a fantastic experience for everyone, and it was wonderful to have the chance to make some new friends from the LGBA, and also put on such a great-sounding and good-looking show for the people who had come to support Pride.
And we even made the evening news! – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-18722279 You can hear us from beginning, and there’s about 5 seconds of us marching.