Click Banner for Larger Image



The spring of 1979 was busy in Montrose, the heart of gay Houston. The National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights was announced for October 14th, and it was time to strike up the band. Nevermind that Houstonians did not have a band to strike up - they formed one.

Clint Moncrief* was already leading an informal band of merry men just for the pleasure of playing together, and with news of the March, they got serious. Intending to organize just for the March, they quickly got sponsorship from the Montrose Activity Center and began rehearsals in April. They first performed in public that June as a pep band for the Police vs. Gays softball game.

A few weeks later, they were an immediate crowd hit when they marched in the first Houston gay pride parade sporting red tennis shoes, blue jeans, white shirts, bandanas and hard hats. And now it was time for the March. As Houston was the location of the organizing meeting for the March, it got to lead the Parade, as the first contingent in the Prairie region. So, this time dressed in cowboy drag, the band got immediate whoops and hollers from the huge crowds and touched some heartstrings by showing that, yes, there were gay cowboys in America.

Back in Texas, the band was ready to dissolve when Andy Mills (founder of the Montrose Singers and manager of the bar Mary's Naturally) stepped up to lead. They changed the name to the Montrose Symphonic Band, and the revitalized group grew quickly, participating in numerous community events, including their own hit concerts in Montrose's Tower Theatre.

In 1989 they became the Lone Star Symphonic Band, and in 1995 adopted their current name, Houston Pride Band. They also endured the greatest challenge for many parts of our community, the devastation of losing many musicians to AIDS. Today, the Pride Band continues to run a full concert schedule locally; nationally, many members also joined the Lesbian and Gay Band Association in January 2013 to march in President Obama's inauguration parade.

*Clint Moncrief holds the unfortunate distinction of being the first gay Texan to die of AIDS, in March, 1982.