Col. Arnald D. 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 United States Air Force and to music education throughout the country.
He served as Commander/Conductor of the internationally renowned U.S. Air Force Band, Symphony Orchestra, and Singing Sergeants from 1964 to 1985. In 1990, he was named the first Conductor Emeritus of the USAF Band at a special concert held at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. Col. Gabriel served on the faculty of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia,from 1985 to 1995, as Conductor of the GMU Symphony Orchestra and as Chairman, Department of Music for eight of those years. In recognition of his ten years service to the university, he was named Professor Emeritus of Music.
A combat machine gunner with the United States Army’s famed 29th Infantry Division in Europe during WW II, Gabriel received two awards of the Bronze Star Medal, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and the French Croix de Guerre.
Following his separation from the Army in 1946, Gabriel enrolled in Ithaca College, where he earned both Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Music Education. In 1989, his alma mater conferred upon him an Honorary Doctor of Music degree and in 1997, he was further honored with its Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2012, the Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic presented Col. Gabriel its first ever Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2015, he was elected Honorary Life Member of the American Bandmasters Association.
He is also listed in the International Who ‘s Who in Music, 7th edition. Col. Gabriel’s professional honors include the very first Citation of Excellence awarded by the National Band Association, the Mid-West National Band and Orchestra Clinic’s Gold Medal of Honor and its Distinguished Service to Music Award, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia’s New Millennium Lifetime Achievement Award and its rarely presented National Citation for “significant contributions to music in America”, Kappa Kappa Psi’s Distinguished Service to Music Award, Phi Beta Mu’s Outstanding Contribution to Bands Award, and the St. Cecilia Award from the University of Notre Dame.
Col. Gabriel was inducted into the National Band Association Hall of Fame of Distinguished Band Conductors, becoming the youngest person ever to have received this honor, and was an inaugural inductee to the Distinguished Alumni Wall of Fame of Cortland High School in Cortland, New York. He is also a Past President of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association. In 2008, the US Air Force Band dedicated the Arnald D. Gabriel Hall in his honor, and Bands of America inducted Col Gabriel into its Hall of Fame. Col. Gabriel has performed in all 50 of the United States and in 50 countries around the world.
In addition to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, among the hundreds of major orchestras and bands he has conducted are the Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, Memphis, Florida, Glendale (California), Green Bay (Wisconsin), York and Williamsport (Pennsylvania), Fairfax (Virginia), Puerto Rico, and Tatui Sao Paulo (Brazil), symphony orchestras, the Carabiniere Band and the Air Force Band (Italy), the Band of the Royal Netherlands Marines, the Royal Hellenic Band (Greece), the Staff Music Corps (Bonn, Germany), the National Band of the Canadian Forces (Ottawa), The Dallas Wind Symphony, the Gamagori Band and the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra (Japan).
Col. Gabriel was named Music Director Emeritus of the McLean (VA) Orchestra for his outstanding leadership from 1986 to 2002. Col. Gabriel continues to appear as clinician at major state, regional, and university music festivals and guest conducts outstanding school, college, municipal, and military bands as well as orchestras around the world.