The London Gay Symphonic Winds

Amateur music groups are an important part of any community, and London’s LGBT community is no different. Here, Chris Dicken talks us through the appeal of making beautiful music with his group, the London Gay Symphonic Winds.

The London Gay Symphonic Winds is more than just a music group – it’s become a really important part of my life.

LGSW is a ‘wind band’ which, at a basic level, is just like a regular orchestra but with no strings attached. The band is made up of about 50 musicians playing all sorts of wind instruments, from piccolos to tubas, plus percussion. Our members range from enthusiastic amateurs who hadn’t picked up their instrument since school right up to semi-professionals with careers in the music industry.

At our Seven Deadly Sins concert on Saturday 8 October you’ll hear a fabulous selection of show tunes from the likes of Chicago and Wicked, but you’ll also hear the band stretching itself with a bit of Prokofiev and Debussy.

But any old orchestra can put on a concert in a hall. Being a wind band allows us to do things that regular orchestras can’t, like performing in the open air. During the summer you may well catch us at one of our free bandstand concerts in Clapham Common or Hampstead Heath.

Furthermore, playing wind instruments also means we can march while playing, so you’ll see us leading off the Pride in London parade and entertaining the crowds with a bit of Lady Gaga and YMCA.

Aside from all the performing, we like to spend time together as a group and every year we head off for a weekend away, which we affectionately call Band Camp. And yes, there are plenty of stories among the band members that could begin with ‘this one time, at band camp…’. None of them involve intimate encounters with flutes though. Flute players, maybe. Flutes, no.

I love playing with the band, and over my five years with London Gay Symphonic Winds they have become much more than just a bunch of people I rehearse with: they’ve become like family.

To experience the band for yourself, why not come down to the Seven Deadly Sins concert on Saturday 8 October? I can guarantee great tunes and a fun evening.

The LGSW’s Seven Deadly Sins takes place at St. Sepulchre-Without-Newgate, Holborn Viaduct.

For more information and tickets, visit

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