State grant leads into gay Atlanta band finale

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This story beats most that start, “One time, at band camp…” The LGBT members of Atlanta Freedom Bands have a cold hard cash injection to celebrate as the group heads into its last concert this season.

For its 19th season finale for the group and an eighth-year wrap-up for its concert band, Atlanta Freedom Bands presents “Vive la France” on July 28 at Saint Mark United Methodist Church. It’s a program that AFB President Cliff Norris says takes the audience on a musically guided tour of France.

“We have assembled quite a variety of music to perform for the audience,” Norris says. “The show includes music transcribed from the orchestra, pulled from the operatic stage, and created specifically for wind band. We even have a rare, early wind band piece from 1794, a time before several of our modern instruments had been invented.”

What makes a season grand finale even better? How about a big fat grant from the state, a first for AFB. A matching grant was awarded to produce one of the group’s concerts next season from Georgia Council for the Arts. Every dollar of community and corporate support that comes in will be matched up to $1,600.

In a prepared statement, the council says the grant goes to AFB as a “large, diverse group that maintains a high standard of excellence” and for its “partnerships with LGBT groups of all ages.”

Now that’s something for the group to toot their horns and bang their drums about.

“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,” Norris adds. “We are looking to our community for support in meeting the goal, whether through ticket sales, program ads or donations to the band.”


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