D-Day 75 Memorial Wind Band Tour

The D-Day 75 Memorial Wind Band Tour will be a highlight of the D-Day 75 Memorial Concert at Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial on June 6, 2019.

 

Wind bands and individual band performers from across the United States are invited to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Conducted by COLONEL ARNALD D. GABRIEL – Conductor Emeritus of the United States Air Force Band, and member of the United States Army’s 29th Infantry Division that fought in the Battle of Normandy and COLONEL DENNIS M. LAYENDECKER – Director of the George Mason University School of Music– the mass band will rehearse in Paris, and present a concert there, in advance of the June 6 performance in Normandy.

Perform on the Beaches of Normady under D-Day Veteran and Retired Conductor of the United States Air Force Band, Col. Arnald D. Gabriel

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Artistic Director: Col. Arnald D. Gabriel

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,

 

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.

 

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. 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.

Artistic Director: Col. Dennis M. Layendecker

Dr. Dennis M. Layendecker holds George Mason University’s Heritage Chair in Music and is the Director of Orchestral Studies for the School of Music within the College of Visual and Performing Arts. From June 2010 through May 2016 he served as Director of the School of Music. He now serves both as George Mason University Symphony Orchestra conductor and as a classroom instructor. A native of Springfield, Illinois, Dr. Layendecker was raised in a family of musicians and began formal musical studies at age 7. He is a United States Air Force full colonel (retired) who honorably served 26 years on active duty. Prior to joining the faculty of the School of Music Colonel Layendecker was the senior commissioned officer/musician in the Department of Defense. During his final assignment on active duty – July 2002 through June 2009 – he served as the Commander, Music Director and Principal Conductor of The United States Air Force Band, Washington, D.C. Later he continued to serve in that role concurrent with additional duties as Chief of Music for the Air Force from December 2007 until his retirement in September 2009.

 

Commissioned in October 1983, then Lieutenant Layendecker was selected by Colonel Arnald D. Gabriel to join The United States Air Force Band, in Washington, D.C., as Director of The Air Force Strings and Associate Conductor of The Air Force Symphony Orchestra. In 1988, he was selected as Commander / Conductor of the Fifteenth Air Force Band of the Golden West at March Air Force Base, Riverside, California. In 1993, he was promoted two years early and competitively selected to attend the Air Command and Staff College (ACSC) at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama as a unique honor offered exclusively to the top 10% of commissioned officers in his peer group worldwide. Upon graduation, he served on the ACSC faculty as a certified Air Force instructor, teaching Theater Operational Warfare, winning superior accolades from faculty and students, and rated in the top 1% of teaching staff by the school’s Commandant. In July 1995, then Major Layendecker assumed command of the United States Air Forces in Europe Band at Sembach Air Base, Germany. In 2002, he returned to the United States promoted to full colonel four years ahead of his peer group and appointed by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force to lead that service’s premier musical organization.

 

Throughout his conducting career, Dr. Layendecker has performed across America, the United Kingdom, Western and Eastern Europe, and Japan—from Los Angeles to New York, Vienna to London and Oslo to Tokyo. As a participant in U.S. diplomatic efforts overseas, he has guest conducted the most prestigious foreign military ensembles from Great Britain, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium, and Japan. He has conducted top flight American and foreign musical units in such notable venues as the Semper Opera, Dresden; Neues Gewandhaus Leipzig; Royal Albert Hall in London, Beethovenhalle in Bonn; and The Cirque Royale in Brussels. He has conducted for numerous world leaders including seven American presidents, Queen Elizabeth of England, Pope John-Paul II, U.S. Cabinet Secretaries and members of Congress, American Ambassadors and other senior government and military officials around the globe. His radio and television broadcast and recording credits include appearances on BBC, German Radio and Television, Polish National Radio, Radio Luxembourg, RAI Italy, public radio, American Public Television, PBS, national television stations from coast to coast, and Armed Forces Radio and Television (AFRTS) globally, and 40 plus CD recording productions, many of those commercially distributed on the Altissimo label. A few of his more notable ceremonial appearances included conducting all music for the official dedications of the United States Air Force Memorial, the Pentagon Memorial honoring the victims of 9/11, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, and Mount Rushmore … 50 years after the originally planned ceremony was superseded by America’s entrance into World War II.

 

Dr. Layendecker is a graduate of the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago where he completed a Bachelor of Music Education degree in 1975, including applied studies in piano and instrumental emphasis in lower brass. During the 1976/77 academic year, he served on the music faculty of Glenbrook North High School, Northbrook, Illinois under the supervision of Dr. David Walter and Peter Herr. Through Herr, Layendecker met John Paynter and was soon playing euphonium in Northwestern University’s summer band program. Inspired by this introduction and experience, he returned to the American Conservatory in the autumn of 1976 to begin conducting studies in earnest with Steven Larsen, orchestration with William Ferris, and piano studies with Miss Grace Welsh. Subsequently, in autumn 1977 he was awarded a two-year Belgian State piano scholarship to attend the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels where he studied with renowned pianist Robert Staeyaert … and conductor Ronald Zollman. Following Zollman’s encouragement, he pursued summer master classes in conducting with Maestros Witold Rowicki at the Vienna Academy of Music and Franco Ferrara at the Academia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy. In 1980 Layendecker was awarded a full conducting assistantship to attend Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois where he earned a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting in 1981 under the tutelage of Frederick Ockwell. In 1988, he completed the Doctor of Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting mentored by Maestro Donald Thulean and Dr. Robert Garofalo at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Interspersed throughout his collegiate career Dr. Layendecker studied composition with composers Raymond Keldermans, Irwin Fischer, Stella Roberts, Alan Stout and Eugene O’Brien.

 

Beyond his civilian collegiate credentials, Dr. Layendecker is a graduate of the United States Air Force’s Air War College, a distinguished graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, and a graduate of the Air Force Academic Instructor’s School and Squadron Officer School at the Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. His military decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with three oak leaf clusters, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award with oak leaf cluster, National Defense Service Medal with bronze star, and the Global War on Terrorism Medal.

 

Prior to his Air Force career, Dr. Layendecker served on the conducting and piano faculties of The American Conservatory of Music, Chicago; as Orchestra Director, Eastern Washington University in Cheney; and as Music Director/Conductor of the Spokane Junior and Youth Symphonies, Spokane, Washington. In addition to both his official military and civilian duties, he has remained active as a choral conductor, church musician, and pianist both in America and in Europe, and he currently serves as Music Director of Our Lady of Victory Catholic Parish in Washington D.C.

 

Following a courtship begun during a Dutch language class at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Myriam Tartari of Brussels, Belgium kindly married Denny Layendecker in the summer of 1979. Celebrating 38 years together, they continue to raise the last two of six children and are very proud grandparents.

Tour Itinerary

Day One: Monday, June 1, 2019

Depart via scheduled air service to Paris, France

 

Day Two: Tuesday, June 2

Arrive in Paris
Meet tour manager who will give orientation of the logistics and schedule
Transfer to hotel
Evening welcome dinner and overnight

 

Day Three: Wednesday, June 3

Breakfast at the hotel
Morning Rehearsal
Lunch, on own
Tour of Paris artistique, including entrance to the Louvre, the world’s largest and greatest art museum
Evening Dinner at local restaurant
Evening Rehearsal

 

Day Four: Thursday, June 4

Breakfast at the hotel
Morning guided tour to Versailles Palace. This palace is the creation of the French monarchy at the moment of its greatest splendor. Consisting of the great palace, the gardens and the Trianons, it is a wonderfully harmonious composition of building and landscape, the definitive monument of French classicism
Lunch, on own
Afternoon at leisure
Evening Dinner at local restaurant
Evening Concert

 

Day Five: Friday, June 5

Breakfast at the hotel followed by checkout
Morning at leisure
Lunch, on own
Transfer to Caen region
Late afternoon check in, followed by dinner and overnight

 

Day Six: Saturday, June 6

Breakfast at the hotel
Morning at leisure
Lunch provided
Afternoon Concert
Evening dinner and overnight

 

Day Seven: Saturday, June 7

Breakfast at the hotel
Morning excursion to Coleville and participate in a wreath laying ceremony
at the American Cemetery, site of the June 6th Normandy Invasion
Lunch, on own
Afternoon transfer to Paris
Evening farewell dinner and overnight

 

Day Eight: Sunday, June 8

Breakfast at the hotel
Transfer to Paris Airport for return flight

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D-Day Memorial Wind Band