Guest Conductor Spotlight: Colonel Arnald Gabriel

Among the many guest artists joining us for our “Hail to the Heroes” concert Sept. 8 is guest conductor Colonel Arnald Gabriel, who was the Commander and Conductor from the United States Air Force BandUnited States Air Force Symphony Orchestra, and Singing Sergeants from 1964 to 1985. In 1990, he was named the first Conductor Emeritus of the United States Air Force Band and the 29th Div. Band of the Virginia Army National Guard. Aside from his distinctly musical background with the armed forces, Col. Gabriel was a combat machine gunner with the United States Army’s famed 29th Infantry Division in Europe during WWII.

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Colonel Arnald Gabriel and his wife Renee Channey attend his retirement ceremony

During “Hail to the Heroes,” Col. Gabriel will conduct William Steffe’s classic “Battle Hymn of the Republic” (arr. by Peter Wilhousky) and an Armed Forces Salute, both featuring our longtime artistic partners Pacific Chorale. He will then conduct John William’s beautiful Hymn to the Fallen, again featuring the Chorale, and finally, the military standard, Taps.

Here he is, conducting the Old Timers Band of Cortland, New York, as they perform the wonderful march, “Caderna”:

After leaving the Army, Col. Gabriel worked at a canning factory, unable to go to college. Everything changed, however, when his old high school band director decided that Gabriel was too talented to waste his days in a factory. The band director paid for the Colonel to attend Ithaca College in 1946, and he earned both Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Music Education at Ithaca. Colonel Gabriel is also a Professor Emeritus of George Mason University. The rest, they say, is history.

We hope that you’ll join us for “Hail to the Heroes” Sept. 8, where we can all gather together to celebrate our veterans and first responders, the brave heroes who make our communities and this country truly great. Remember, there are FREE tickets for active-duty military, veterans and first responders! Call our Box Office at (714) 755-5799.

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