BANDING TOGETHER | The Oak Lawn Band, shown at Dallas Pride last year, was among the founding members of the Lesbian and Gay Band Association in 1982. (John Wright/Dallas Voice)

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer

The national Lesbian and Gay Band Association will celebrate its 30th year with a conference that begins Sept. 13 in Dallas. The group will hold workshops, stage a concert and participate in the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade.

The main concert takes place at the Majestic Theater on Sept. 15 with about 150 musicians expected to participate. Dallas comedian Paul J. Williams will emcee. The 55-member Oak Lawn Band will be joined by members of LGBT bands from across the country, the Turtle Creek Chorale and the Texas Gay Rodeo Association Honor Guard.

LGBA General Manager Adam DeRosa said he expects about 150 musicians plus twirlers and flaggers to march in the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade.
Oak Lawn Band president Tim Stallman said they’ll play popular Western and Latin music in the parade, as well as the theme from the TV show Dallas.

For the concert at the Majestic, LGBA commissioned a new work called “City Trees” by composer Michael Markowsky.

Markowsky will also present a workshop for conference attendees at the Melrose Hotel on Friday.

TCC Artistic Director Trey Jacobs said his group will perform three pieces with the band at the Saturday night concert. One will be Anne Albritton’s arrangement of “Moon River.” Albritton, who was the chorale’s principal accompanist from 1991–98, died in 2006.

Jacobs called the collaboration with Oak Lawn Band and the visiting musicians a fantastic opportunity, though somewhat daunting. Music was sent to out-of-town musicians while Oak Lawn Band and TCC have rehearsed separately.

“We have one rehearsal — the day of the concert,” he said.

Oak Lawn Band member Diane Treider, who attended a previous conference, wasn’t worried about successfully blending the various groups and musicians. But she called the rehearsal schedule for the concert brutal.

“These are really great musicians,” she said. “They want to be challenged. People come prepared.”
DeRosa agreed.

“When you get such a large wind ensemble, it blends easier than you’d imagine,” he said.

He said the intonation balances but there could be volume and instrumentation problems.

“You might end up with 50 clarinets,” he said, “but our instrumentation is quite balanced.”

Oak Lawn Band was one of the seven founding members of LGBA in 1982. The organization has grown to 38 groups.

The Dallas band, which formed in 1980, regularly performs in Pride parades in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and Houston. With LGBA, Oak Lawn Band has performed at the inaugurations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. According to Stallman, LGBA was the first LGBT organization to march in an inaugural parade.

“Celebrating our 30th anniversary, this conference is very special,” DeRosa said.

Stallman said the Oak Lawn Band usually performs in cowboy hats, T-shirts and khaki pants. For this year’s parade, the combined band will wear black and white with a red, white and blue sash.

The musicians decided on the more formal uniform because LGBA will film the marching band. That video will be submitted to the inaugural march committee.

Stallman said that no matter what the outcome of the election in November, he hopes to be in Washington in January participating in the inauguration.
LGBA conference at the Warwick Melrose Hotel, 3015 Oak Lawn Ave. Sept. 12–16. Concert at the Majestic Theater, 1925 Elm St. Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets at OakLawnBand.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 7, 2012.