I met Col. Arnald Gabriel in December, 2012, just a few months prior to our trip to Chicago to perform at the 4th Annual Percy Grainger Festival. I have seen him before, and I have heard recordings when he conducted the US Air Force Band, but meeting him was special.
This picture was taken just after he guest conducted the Air Force Band (he is retired now) at The Midwest Clinic in 2012. He led them through a powerful performance of Verdi's "La Forza del Destino". We talked about the upcoming Grainger festival and he said he was looking forward to working with my students.
It was a thrilling moment for me to hand over my students to Col. Gabriel in Chicago. We had prepared "Children's March" and I thought we had prepared thoroughly. Well...maybe we did, but the Colonel still had a few things to say! It was an incredible hour or so that he spent with my students. He took them through a phrase, talked about the phrase, defined an accent, asked questions about accents, and then played accents. Always beginning with a verbal "1,2" to start them on their way. Each time he stopped them and worked a section, they played it better.
I still am not sure which I remember more fondly, our time with Col. Gabriel or our amazing performance in Orchestra Hall the following day. Many of the students who went on the trip said it was the best school trip ever. For me, all of it is a cherished memory that I will never forget.