Col. Arnald D. Gabriel '50 -- three-time winner of the Legion of Merit, the country's highest peacetime honor -- will return to his alma mater to guest conduct two performances by ensembles from the Ithaca College School of Music. He will conduct the wind ensemble on Wednesday, December 7, and the concert and symphonic bands on Thursday, December 8. Free and open to the public, both concerts will begin at 8:15 p.m. in Ford Hall in the James J. Whalen Center for Music.
Gabriel will lead the ensembles in performing the music of Arthur Sullivan, Claude T. Smith, Alfred Reed, and others. Stephen Peterson, Mark Fonder, and Elizabeth Peterson -- the ensembles' regular conductors -- will conduct the balance of the programs.
Gabriel retired from the United States Air Force in 1985 following a distinguished 36-year military career, at which time he was awarded his third Legion of Merit for his service to the Air Force and to music education. His previous Legion of Merit awards recognized the success of a goodwill tour of Latin America and his efforts to improve international relations through music among nations in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.
During his military career, Gabriel served as commander/conductor of the internationally renowned U.S. Air Force Band as well as the air force's symphony orchestra and the Singing Sergeants. After his retirement, he was conductor and music director of the McLean Orchestra in Virginia and chaired the music department at George Mason University.
Gabriel is a holder of the Ithaca College Alumni Association's Lifetime Achievement Award, which is presented annually to a graduate who has achieved exceptional professional success. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the College in 1989.