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Spotlight on Animation & Video Games

Sat, May 18, 7:00 pm PDT


The Band’s annual “Spotlight” gala show returns to San Francisco at the fabulously refurbished Grand Theater in the heart of the Mission neighborhood!

Music features will bring animated film, anime, and video games to life! You’ll enjoy selections from Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros, Aladdin, Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and many more, all performed by the Official Band of San Francisco. Bring your singing voice as there will be sing-along numbers!

There will be a no-host bar plus live and silent auctions. Enjoy an elegant evening of live music and fun while supporting local LGBTQ+ arts!

Read more about some of the artists highlighted at “Spotlight” by hovering over or clicking on the photos below.

Grand Theater
2665 Mission Street, SF

Saturday, May 18, 2024
7 PM, doors open 6:30 PM

The main theme from the first Kingdom Hearts video game, titled “Simple and Clean,” was adapted by composer Yoko Shimomura from the pop single “Hikari” (“Light”), by singer Hikaru Utada. Both Shimomura and Utada continue to lend their musical talents to the Kingdom Hearts series. In 2021, Utada became one of the first major Japanese media figures to publicly identify as non-binary.
Composer Koji Kondo intended to use Ravel’s “Bolero” as the main title theme for the original The Legend of Zelda, before discovering that the copyright would not expire until a month after the game’s release. In the final weekend before the game’s cartridges went into production, Kondo rushed to adapt the game’s overworld theme into the dramatic opening fanfare that we all know!
After collaborating together on several Broadway productions, Alan Menken & Howard Ashman were instrumental in launching the ‘Disney Reinsassance’ with 1989’s The Little Mermaid. Ashman in particular is credited for his intimate involvement with the story development & plot structure of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, & Aladdin, before his untimely death in 1991 from AIDS. Released months after his death, Beauty and the Beast is dedicated to his memory with the message, “To our friend Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice, & a beast his soul. We will be forever grateful.” Ashman’s partner posthumously accepted an Oscar on his behalf for the title song from Beauty and the Beast.
Joe Hisaishi is most known for his work with legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki (Studio Ghibli), composing the score for all but Miyazaki’s first film. For the fantasy epic Princess Mononoke, Hisaishi composed a sweeping, romantic score, evoking the scale of the conflict between the spirits who protect the natural world and a human settlement whose industry is sickening the forest. In Best Animated Picture winner Spirited Away, Hisaishi used the setting of an otherworldly bathhouse for lost spirits to create a melancholy, personal score underpinning Chihiro’s internal journey of growth.
While these days Michael Giacchino has seemingly composed for every major film franchise, including Star Wars, Star Trek, Spider-Man, and Jurassic Park, his first feature film was Pixar’s The Incredibles. The score’s throwback sound was heavily influenced by the film’s setting, an alternative retro-futuristic 1960s, with inspiration from John Barry’s scores for early James Bond films.
In indie video game hit Journey, players embark on a quiet, meditative experience about curiosity and community while traveling across vast landscapes. For the closing credits, composer Austin Wintory sought to convey those same emotions through the song I Was Born for This. The lyrics utilize quotes from historical figures and writers in their original languages, including Virgil, Homer, Bashō, and Joan of Arc, from whom the song’s title is derived.

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Silent Auction

Spotlight will feature an exciting assortment of live and silent auction prizes, which will help support the Band’s continuing mission as the first openly gay musical organization in the world. Donations will support our on-going programming as well as our innovative BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Color) Commission Program which provides opportunities for up-and-coming composers from underrepresented backgrounds to work with a full concert band on new compositions that will help diversify the wind ensemble repertoire and provides unique and exciting experiences for our members and audiences!

Can’t make it to the show in-person? You can still participate in our silent auction (bidding closes 5/18 at 9 PM Pacific). See some of the prizes below, but make sure to check out the rest, too!

…and many more!

Our Wonderful Entertainers


Donna Sachet is thrilled to join the Band once again for Spotlight on Animation & Video Games! For 30 years, Donna has called San Francisco home and has dedicated her talents as a singer, emcee, fundraiser, hostess, producer, and activist to the LGBTQ+ Community. As the 30th elected Empress of San Francisco, she has appeared all over the city and in locations in this country, Canada, Mexico and Australia. She is proud to have sung the National Anthem for the SF Giants at AT&T Park in 2009, co-anchored the live television coverage of the SF Pride Parade for over 15 years, starred in the weekly Sunday’s a Drag show at the Starlight Room for nearly 15 years, hosted her holiday cabaret Songs of the Season for 25 years, and co-chaired Pride Brunch with Gary Virginia for 24 years. Donna currently writes a bi-weekly column Donna’s Chronicles for the Bay Times and serves as President of the Rainbow Honor Walk Board of Directors.


Leanne Borghesi is a vivid and fierce New York / San Francisco performing artist who has performed in major Concert Halls, Theaters and Nightclub Venues with her vocals a Brassy & Comedic style that has entertained audiences over the past 2 decades. Hailed “A Sumptuous Feast of Outrageousness” Leanne has performed lead roles in musical theater, supporting roles in feature films and created original cabaret and nightclub acts (Showbroads, Mood Swings, Borghesi’s Back, Lush, Bazazz, and Divalicious) that have garnered her sold-out shows and recently the recipient of the 2022 New York Manhattan Association of Cabaret MAC Award for Best “Musical Comedy Performer” for the pandammit nightclub hit “Borghesi’s Back!”. Leanne has worked with the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Freedom band frequently in the past. She has sung at the Pink Triangle Dedication for the past 10 years, as well as numerous previous Spotlight concerts and fundraisers.

Artistic Director

Appointed Artistic Director of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band in August 2013, Pete Nowlen is one of Northern California’s busiest musicians. Faculty at both Sacramento State and UC Davis, where he is Director of Concert Bands, Pete currently holds Artistic Director posts with Camerata California Chamber Choir, the Rancho Cordova Civic Light Orchestra and is Artistic Advisor of Music in the Mountains in Nevada County, California. He is the founder and driving force behind Sacramento’s VITA Academy, dedicated to revitalizing classical music through innovative community and audience engagement and school music programs. Other conducting credits includes the Sacramento, Auburn, Camellia, UCD and CSUS Symphonies and more than a dozen major productions ranging from La bohéme to the Rocky Horror Show.

Guest Performer

Ken Dulay is an up-and-coming countertenor currently in his senior year at California State University, Sacramento, with a double-major in Vocal Performance and Music Education at Sacramento State. Ken’s journey with music started at a very young age, both singing and eventually playing the organ for the church he was part of at the time. Now, Ken performs with groups in the Sacramento area including Camerata California, the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra, and with Music in the Mountains under the direction of Ryan Murray. Ken was awarded first place at the 2022 Robert S. Dinsmore Opera Competition and was also the recipient of the Sacramento Renaissance Society Scholarship and the Shields-Baugh Music Scholarship for the 2022 school year. Aside from his love for performing, he has a passion for teaching new musicians and is a private voice and piano instructor at the Natomas School of Music.

Photos from Past Spotlight Shows

About the Venue

We encourage all guests to take public transportation. The elegantly-restored Grand Theater is located in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District, just one block from 24th St BART and directly on the 14 and 49 Muni bus lines.

If you choose to drive, the nearby Mission-Bartlett Garage is run by SFMTA and is open until midnight on Saturdays.

The Grand Theater is fully ADA accessible There are two all-gender single-stall restrooms on the ground floor. Additional multi-stall restroom facilities are on the second floor of the lobby.

Special Thanks

Spotlight on Animation & Video Games is generously supported by:

SF Bay Times logo
Betty's List logo
SF Grants for the Arts logo

Health and Safety Information

The San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band takes Covid-19 seriously. See the band’s full Health & Safety Plan for more information.

For Spotlight on Animation & Video Games, the SFLGFB follows California Department of Public Health guidance for the current community transmission level at the venue.  At time of writing, recommendations are as below; they are subject to change as the situation and guidance evolves.

  • MaskingIt is strongly recommended that all audience members are vaccinated against COVID and up-to-date per eligibility criteria for COVID vaccination. Audience members can wear a mask based on personal preference, informed by their own personal level of risk. Members of vulnerable populations should consider masking with a mask that provides the best fit and filtration.
  • Symptom StatusProspective audience members who are symptomatic are asked to stay home until 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
  • Post-Concert NotificationAudience members are encouraged to notify the Band at covid@sflgfb.org if they experience COVID-like symptoms or test positive for COVID within 7 days after attending.


Sat, May 18
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Tickets Start at:
Performance Category:


Grand Theater
2665 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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