With nearly 10 years under his belt as artistic director of the South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble, Dan Bassett has not only raised the profile of his organization, but brought national attention from the LGBT band movement.
A native of upstate New York, Bassett came to Florida after completing his music education degree at Ithaca College. He served as the band director at Boca Raton High School and now is on the faculty of St. Mark’s Episcopal School in Fort Lauderdale.
During this time, he began performing with the Flamingo Freedom Band. In 2005, he was asked to audition to be the director, and after being selected, he initiated sweeping changes.
At his suggestion, the name was changed to the South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble and Marching Band, an effort to emphasize the artistic nature of the organization, beyond marching in local Pride parades. Bassett also revolutionized the concert programming, adding guest performers, dancers and gymnasts and introducing innovative lighting and video effects to accentuate the music.
“I did have a pretty clear vision of what I wanted to see on stage. The other was the freedom to change from a more serious concert to a more visual and entertaining approach to meet our audiences where they are,” Bassett explained. “I think it’s worked.”
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