Watch CBS News

Miami Proud: South Florida's oldest LGBTQ+ organization creates beautiful music and community

Miami Proud: Pride Wind Ensemble has been premiere LGBTQ+ musical group for 40 years
Miami Proud: Pride Wind Ensemble has been premiere LGBTQ+ musical group for 40 years 02:37

MIAMI - Once a week the gym at St. Mark's Episcopal School in Fort Lauderdale is filled with beautiful music from the South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble.

Led by Dan Bassett, the artistic director, they are rehearsing for their 36th season. The orchestra of every instrument except strings began as the Flamingo Freedom Band.

"It was a real fun little group that rehearsed in the back of the church and since then it's just grown and grown," said Bassett.

Made up of over 60 active performers from ages 20 to 80, they perform live concerts to audiences of all ages. It's a non-profit with a mission beyond great music.

"This is a safe space for all people, not just LGBTQ, but all people and allies," said Bassett.

The performers say it's like a family. Ken Beauchamp joined last year and drives over an hour, up from South Miami-Dade, for the rehearsals and the camaraderie.

"Everyone is very welcoming and everybody goes out to eat afterward. We just have a good time and everyone is really laid back," he said.

Alicia Larrea is an oboist who is impressed by her fellow musicians.

"I think it's amazing! We play incredible music and we keep it fun," she said.

Trumpet player Tracey Weaver, who first joined 20 years ago, has made it a regular commitment for the past 11 years. She said the 'level of musicianship has just gone up over the years and it's a great organization to be a part of.

The organization is blessed to have star power on its board of directors including a seven-time Grammy Award winner. Gary Burton has been a successful jazz vibraphonist, composer, and educator for the past six decades. He has retired since and loves his role as advisor and admirer.

"It thrills me every time I see a concert of the group, I'm so proud of them," said Burton.

For more information and future performances, check out their website or call (954) 667-9228.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.