Dear GFBLA Members and Community:
GFBLA is starting its 45th year of providing music, opportunity, community, and friendship to anyone in the Los Angeles area wanting to make music. The traditional 45th anniversary gemstone is sapphire, representing a deep, endless love. GFBLA would not exist today without the deep, endless love from its members and its supporters. There is no amount of gratitude that can be shown to our long-time supporters and members who have stood by our side over the last 44 years.
GFBLA has gone through many changes over the last few years: adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic, returning to in-person rehearsals and performances, relocating to a new rehearsal space, our Artistic Director of ten years stepping down, and new leadership on the Board of Directors. Through all of this, GFBLA continues to be supported from within and by our community.
Last year, we had news outlets wanting to spotlight our ensemble, we overhauled the website which increased the number of inquiries we receive, and we saw a considerable increase in the number of first-time donors. Those signs, among others, highlight how important it is to capitalize on the momentum GFBLA has generated in 2022 through this coming year.
On Sunday, January 9th, 2023, the GFBLA Board of Directors held its board retreat to select its leadership and prioritize goals for the 2023 season. I firstly want to welcome all of the new folks who have stepped up and joined GFBLA’s Board of Directors. Bringing on new people introduces new ideas that foster creativity and growth, and I am very excited to see this new board in action, especially as we introduce two director positions: Director of Operations and Director of Production. In our discussions, some of the goals we set include:
Formally introducing GFBLA’s Jazz Band
Recruiting a Jazz Director and Marching Director to start in 2024
Identifying new performance venues to engage new audiences
Hosting more social events to increase our sense of community
Developing branding guidelines to present a consistent GFBLA image
Continuing to apply for grants to provide funding for GFBLA concerts and events
Leveraging a revitalized donor tier program to recognize our supporters
Implementing a GFBLA Member app
Growing our social media following across all platforms
Speaking personally for a moment, I am incredibly honored to have been selected to serve this amazing organization as President. I also want to thank my predecessor, David Doan, with whom I’ve worked on this board for the last four years. David has done so much in his time as President to ensure that whoever followed in his footsteps would have an easier time, and I would not feel nearly as comfortable stepping into this role if not for David.
When I walked into my first rehearsal in the basement of FCCLA, I certainly had no plans to be on the Board, let alone aspirations to become President. Over the years with this ensemble, I have seen what this organization means for so many different people, and I was extremely lucky to have participated in the 40th Anniversary Concert to experience some of that first-hand. At the LA Pride event last year, people came up to our booth and indicated how happy they were to still see GFBLA engaging in our community. This ensemble has a rich and colorful 44 years of history that has touched so many lives, and I hope that I am able to leave a positive mark on this wonderful community that has welcomed me since I joined GFBLA five years ago.
This year promises to be a busy year as we revitalize and debut GFBLA’s Jazz Ensemble, honor our history by marching in Pride parades, search for additional artistic staff, and continue to provide engaging concert programming. Our first concert is planned for early April, where we will be performing folk music from around the world. Be on the lookout for more information from us about our upcoming concerts, performances, and events. To stay up to date, follow us on Instagram @GFBLA or Twitter @GFBLA, or go to our website: gfbla.org.
I am looking forward to all that 2023 will bring for GFBLA as we celebrate our 45th Anniversary and the talents that have been brought to our new Board. If you are interested in helping support GFBLA in any way this year or simply want to share a story or your perspective about GFBLA with me, please reach out. I would love to hear from you.
Appreciatively and with pride,
Joseph DiLiello Pronouns: he/him President, firstname.lastname@example.org Gay Freedom Band of Los Angeles