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PRIDE-bannerMore than 60 talented high school musicians from Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties are rehearsing for the second annual Youth Pride Band concert on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 6 p.m. at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.  

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More than 60 talented high school musicians from Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties are rehearsing for the second annual Youth Pride Band concert on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 6 p.m. at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

The Youth Pride Band, founded after a rash of high profile anti-gay bullying incidents across the country, was organized last year by the South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble as a way to use music to promote understanding and fight bullying. Participation has more than doubled from 25 students in the first year to 63 musicians this year. “The Youth Pride Band was a huge success last year and we’re thrilled to have twice as many students for our second year,” said Adam DeRosa, coordinator of the project for the Pride Wind Ensemble, “Obviously, word has spread across South Florida—both about the band’s mission, but also the excellent musical opportunity for the students.”

The concert will be conducted by Neil Jenkins, conductor of the Broward Band and executive director of the Florida Bandmaster’s Association; Brian Worsdale, artistic director of the lesbian and gay Big Apple Corps in New York City; and Dan Bassett, artistic director of the Pride Wind Ensemble. The concert program, entitled “Taking Flight,” will include standard band repertoire, showtunes and popular music. Five outstanding students will each receive $1000 scholarships to continue their musical studies.

Some of the students are openly gay or bisexual, but many are straight allies, performing to support their classmates and family members. Nearly every member of the Youth Pride Band has a story, says Alain Ortiz, president of the Pride Wind Ensemble.

“I was moved by the stories the kids shared last year,” Ortiz recalled. “One girl had a gay friend who broke both his legs jumping from the roof of a building in an unsuccessful suicide attempt. A bisexual girl was verbally abused and bullied at her school every day. And, on the other hand, we had a gay saxophonist who performed in the band because his school had discontinued the marching band program.” 

Several Youth Pride Band students will share their stories at the Broward Center concert. 

Following the Youth Pride Band performance, the students will be joined on stage by members of the Pride Wind Ensemble for a massed band that conductor Dan Bassett promises will be a musical experience audiences won’t forget soon.

Last year’s concert was a sell-out and audiences are encouraged to purchase their tickets early.

Youth Pride Band and Pride Wind Ensemble
Sunday, February 24, 6 p.m.
Amaturo Theatre, Broward Center for the Performing Arts
Tickets $25 at BrowardCenter.org

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