Playing in Williamsport at the "Liberty Classic Community Band Festival," a Really Great Experience!- 2015
My wife Karen and I played in a "community" band composed of musicians from Pennsylvania (many from the Repaz Band that sponsored the event for the 5th year), New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Iowa, Colorado. Virginia, Missouri, Ohio, and Connecticut. These were really talanted adults of all ages who came together to play under the direction of Col. Arnald Gabriel, former conductor of the USAF Band in Washington, DC. The event took place from a Friday evening through Sunday afternoon when it concluded with a concert in a beautiful local Arts Center in Williamsport. The festival was organized by Judy Schellinberger who was the principal organizer of the American Association of Concert Bands National Convention in Allentown back in March of 2014. She is a truly amazing person at getting things done in a way that kept over 100 musicians happy over the entire weekend.
But the highlight of the weekend was Col. Arnald Gabriel. This amazing musician conducted the rehearsals and concert totally from memory. I've played under an occassional conductor who conducted a concert from memory, but Col. Gabriel knew every note of every part and could tell you to things like, "start two measures before measure 420 where the clarinets have the Bb chord on beat three." I marveled at the mental concentration of this very amiable man. NOW FOR THE "KICKER." HE WAS 90 YEARS OLD! He was a soldier in WWII and took part in the Normandy "D Day" landing. (Seventy years later he returned to conduct the 70th D-Day Anniversary Band at the Normandy and Omaha Beach Memorials) After the war he went to Ithaca College where he earned a BS in Music and an MS in Music Education as well as being awarded the honorary Doctor of Music degree in 1989. His list of accomplishments is long and I believe he will add many more in his lifetime.
If you want a truly great musical experience, plan on attending the Liberty Classic Community Band Festival where you will get to play with many fantastic musicians AND play under the baton of Col. Arnald Gabriel.
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