Patriarch of CSU Music School Pledges $1 Million

Columbus, Ga. --- Hal Gibson, patriarch of the band program at Columbus State University, and his wife, Marie, have made a $1 million bequest to CSU to support the continued growth of the Schwob School of Music into national and international prominence.

This gift will establish The Hal and Marie Gibson Endowment for Musical Excellence and will support various special projects and initiatives, including equipment, faculty development, music scholarships and stipends for attracting faculty of national stature.

'Col. Gibson made an indelible mark on our school of music, and this university, when he came to CSU as our director of bands. This generous gift from Hal and Marie Gibson to the CSU capital campaign will ensure his impact and presence are felt here in perpetuity,' said CSU President Frank Brown.

Gibson was a world-class musician internationally recognized as a leading conductor, adjudicator and clinician when he came to CSU in 1976 after retiring as a U.S. Army colonel and conductor of the U.S. Armed Forces Bicentennial Band, the nation's most elite military band.

His career as a military musician began when, after returning from serving in the South Pacific during World War II, he was selected to become the bandleader and commander of the band of the newly formed 49th Armored Division of the Texas National Guard. This band quickly became known as one of the finest line bands in the Army of both the active and reserve forces. It received the highest honor that can be bestowed on a National Guard organization when it was twice awarded the Eisenhower Trophy, which is annually presented to a state's most outstanding unit.

Gibson was later recalled to active military service and conducted a number of Army bands stationed both in this country and overseas. While serving in Germany with the 4th Armored Division Band his group was selected to represent the United States in the prestigious Erlangen International Band Festival. Competing against 80 bands from 22 countries his band won first prize in both the concert and marching competition. He also served with the Military Academy Band at West Point, and conducted the nationally acclaimed Cadet Glee Club. He was then assigned as the commander/conductor of the Army's 'showcase' traveling Musical Ambassadors from Washington D.C. - The United States Army Field Band. It was during the bicentennial of the United States, that his career culminated when he was selected from the band leaders from all of the armed services to form and conduct the Department of Defense Band that toured the country in 1975-76. This band later became known as the Bicentennial Band and was the only band ever to be comprised of member from all five of our uniformed services.

He has led premier bands in presidential inaugural parades and has conducted in virtually every major concert hall in the U.S. Gibson has conducted thousands of concerts for millions of people throughout all of the fifty states and in 36 foreign countries.

While at CSU, Gibson gained regional and national acclaim for the CSU band program and developed CSU's Symphonic Wind Ensemble, which became one of the finest wind ensembles in the Southeast. Upon his retirement from CSU in 1991 he was named Professor of Music Emeritus by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents.

In 1993 the Gibson's moved to Florida where he hosted the American Bandmasters Association. For this event he decided to establish and conduct the Space Coast Winds and the Amadeus Camerata, which remain as popular regional ensembles. And he continues his music contest adjudication on a national level.

In 2001, CSU honored him by naming a rehearsal hall The Gibson Wind Ensemble Rehearsal Hall. More recently Gibson was unanimously voted to be installed in the National Band Association's Hall of Fame for Distinguished Band Conductors.

Marie Gibson, who received a master's of education at Columbus College, spent a career in the classroom as an elementary teacher in grades K-4. She taught for many years in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Prince Georges County and after moving to Columbus taught at St. Anne's Elementary.

The Gibson bequest will count toward CSU's 'Investment in People' capital campaign, which seeks to raise $80 million to establish a learning environment more advanced than at any institution of similar size.


For more information contact Rex Whiddon at (706) 568-5185 or by e-mail at