GFBLA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT with
JASON LO, DMA (@the.bearded.panda) (he/him/his)
a little about Jason...
I joined the Gay Freedom Band of Los Angeles in Fall 2017. I received a request asking for a pianist for the Fall concert, just a week after I played Carnegie Hall. I gleefully accepted. I needed to surround myself with gay people, and wanted to join an LGBT-centric instrumental ensemble. The fates aligned. Despite my DMA in Piano Performance, I became the Percussion Section Leader in 2019. I stay with the chromatic mallet instruments; they are just big piano keys.
Playing and performing with GFBLA is refreshing and rewarding. I get to utilize my music training in different capacities. In high school, I played the euphonium, and thus I was blessed that I could march with GFBLA during Pride parades. I remember an Animaniacs short in which playing piano in a marching band as a “Bad Idea.” Marching in a gay pride parade was always a bucket list item — done! Being surrounded by floats of shirtless men — also done.
Finding a wind ensemble to play and perform in can be rare. I am fortunate Los Angeles afforded me such an opportunity, and providing visibility for an accepting LGBTQIA+ environment of music-making. I see this as another facet to represent queer Asians/people of color in music and the Arts. Should anyone assume anything opposite about me, then I indubitably have not yet lived my maximum prideful potential.