Mile High Freedom Bands

A nonprofit organization

0% complete

$3,000 Goal

For 40 years, MHFB has served the Denver community through music. Donations allow us to continue to entertain audiences, serve as positive role models for the LGBTQ+ community, and provide musicians of all abilities and identities with a safe and fun environment to express themselves musically!

Testimonials

Robert F. Brown, founder of the Mile High Freedom Bands; "So, this crazy idea I had to start a gay band in Denver 34 years ago (and then directed for 10 years) became one of the best things i ever did in my life. And NOW,...100 members?!?! 100? Really? I remember when we were thrilled to have 32.
Could not be more proud of YOU Mile High Freedom Band. You are obviously doing it right."

Giving Activity

Mission

The Mile High Freedom Bands are committed to making positive contributions to the LGBTQ+ community and allies through musical events and activities that engage, excite, educate, and entertain audiences while supporting performers of all abilities.

Background Statement

In April of 1984, local Denver musician Robert Brown brought a small group of musicians together to form the Denver Gay and Lesbian Community Band. Bob’s goal was to provide a forum for people of all backgrounds to create music together, educate the community, and meet new friends. Shortly after getting started, the name was changed to the Mile High Freedom Band.

MHFB’s inaugural performance was at the 1984 Denver Gay Rodeo. We went on to present ten performances in that first season. Our major public debut was in the 1985 Denver St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Although the band made no explicit attempt to hide the sexuality of our members, it came as a bit of a surprise to parade organizers that there was a ‘gay band’ in the parade and garnered a fair amount of media attention. In subsequent years, the organizers attempted to dissuade us from performing through various means including placing us as far back as they could!

From challenges of acceptance, living through the early days of the AIDS crisis, discriminatory statewide legislation, and hate crimes on LGBTQ+ people across the region and the country, our organization and our members have persevered. Through each new challenge, we have never lost sight of our original vision and purpose and we have continued to perform regular concerts, parades, and pep events, and twice hosted the Lesbian and Gay Band Association’s annual conference.

As we celebrated our 25th anniversary in the mid-2000’s, we began to experience a resurgence. MHFB Swing was founded, several annual events were started including Spooktacular! Spooktacular!, the Carnival Ball, and Melodies of Pride, and member participation reached all-time highs as audiences continued to grow. In 2018, we expanded the MHFB umbrella and for the first time welcomed students in the organization with MHFB Youth. In just a three short years, the program has already found great success and has given out $4,500 in scholarships to LGBTQ+ youth.

In 2020, MHFB, like the rest of the world, had to adjust to life with the COVID pandemic raging. This global catastrophe hit arts organizations of all types, big and small, across the world. We immediately pivoted to virtual performances and developed methods to rehearse, perform, and present our concerts. In the end, our entire 37th season was presented virtually. The ingenuity and determination of our members ensured that we did not have to cancel a single event and we continued to perform for the entire year. In fact, with our new globally-available concert broadcasts, we had viewers from around the world and ended the season with our concerts being viewed by some of our largest audiences to date!

As the Mile High Freedom Bands enters our 40th anniversary season, the organization is as strong as it has ever been. With over 200 members on our rosters, over 30 performance events each season, thousands and thousands of audience members at our events, and the launching of our fifth core ensemble MHFB Strings, MHFB is thriving. Day in and day out, we are always focused on living up to our mission to make positive contributions to the LGBTQ+ community and allies through musical events and activities that engage, excite, educate, and entertain audiences while supporting performers of all abilities.

Organization Data

Summary

Organization name

Mile High Freedom Bands

other names

MHFB

Year Established

1984

Tax id (EIN)

84-1236292

Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities, Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy

Organization Size

Small Organization

Address

216 S Grant St
Denver, CO 80209

Service areas

Denver County, CO, US

Phone

720-515-6432

Social Media