Vi Le

Looking back, I think the moment I decided I was going to play an instrument was when I saw my school band play in 6th grade. I remember they played Under The Sea from The Little Mermaid and I immediately asked my parents if I could join the band. Unfortunately, at the time we were living in a small apartment and my parents said it just wouldn’t be practical. Funny enough, the following year my family moved to a different city, into a house, and I immediately checked the “band” box for my elective when I enrolled in my new school. I honestly don’t know why I was so determined to join the band or what made me choose saxophone, I just knew it felt right. It was an impulsive move and I definitely struggled at first, but, eventually, band became a huge part of my life. I played in the school band all through middle school, high school, and at my community college before I transferred.

For me, band is community. It was always a place where differences/quirks were not just accepted, but celebrated. In the hustle and bustle of middle and high school, it was the one constant, my anchor. Life pulled me away from playing music for a few years. I don’t think I truly realized how big a loss that was until I found the Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band. I still remember the first time I saw the band, at Pride. Up until then, I just kind of accepted that I wasn’t going to play anymore. I was never going to be a professional musician and I wasn’t interested in joining a traditional community concert band. Enter the SF Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, marching in their beautiful black and red overlays; I was sold.

I’ve been in the band since 2017 and am active in both the concert and pep/marching bands. I’m honored to have previously served on the Board of Directors as a Co-Director of Marketing. By day, I work as a Speech Language Pathology Assistant in Oakland. I love what I do, and working with kids is truly my passion. Although my work is fulfilling, it’s still chock full of its own challenges. Once again, I find that band is what grounds me. It’s my network of friends, my community, my second family. It has pushed me to grow in ways I didn’t think possible. But more than what I personally gain from being in the band, I love that we give just as much back to the community. It’s so rare these days to see something as simple as music bring so much joy to people. My absolute favorite memories are seeing the kids’ faces light up as they twirl around to our music during the annual Dance-Along Nutcrakcer. I am nothing but grateful to be a part of this amazing group.

  • #Baritone Saxophone