Kennedy Fine Arts Building

Welcome New Director of University Bands

Savannah State University has named Gabriel Arnold, Ph.D., assistant professor of music and director of university bands, effective July 1, 2021. 

In this role, Arnold will direct the Savannah State University Band Program including the Powerhouse of the South marching band, pep, jazz and symphonic wind ensemble bands in rehearsals and performances. He will provide leadership in recruiting band members and music majors, coordinating auditions and scholarships, and maintain active and collaborative relationships with university Athletics, Advancement, Student Affairs, Academic Affairs as well as public schools and band programs throughout the state of Georgia and beyond. Arnold will provide quality instruction, vision and leadership for all aspects of a traditional Historically Black College or University band program repertoire. 

Get to know him in the interview below, and be sure to welcome him to campus when you see him in Tiger Nation!


What led you on your career path?

The person who influenced my career path the most was my high school band director, Mr. Sumner Smith.  Mr. Smith provided the necessary discipline and supportive guidance for his students to succeed in life and in the classroom. Similarly, I have always wanted to positively influence my students, many of whom were future teachers, with those same leadership skills that I learned from Mr. Smith. 

Tell us about your experience with music.

My experience with music started with singing in the youth choir at church. I enjoyed the beautiful gospel melodies and soulful rhythms. After singing in the youth choir, I wanted to imitate those same melodies and rhythms through playing an instrument.  As a tuba player, I have participated in many high performing organizations such as the Quantico and Okinawa Marine Bands, Georgia All-State Band and the Florida State University Wind Orchestra. One of my most rewarding experiences as a musician and performer was serving as Head Drum Major of the world-renowned Florida State University Marching Chiefs, where I led a 400+ member ensemble. 

Who is your musical influence?

What are you most looking forward to at SSU?

I am looking forward to presenting exciting halftime shows and outstanding concert band performances. I will always maintain high expectations for a quality product while working with the students and bringing outstanding musical performances to the Savannah community. 

What do you hope to accomplish with the Savannah State University Band?

I would like to build a culture where the students can perform at their highest level, achieve academic excellence, foster lasting social bonds, and create lifelong memories.  In addition, I plan to be active in our school, community, state, and region.  The Savannah State University Band will work hard towards gaining national and international recognition and acclaim in ways that will empower students and bring additional community support to Savannah State University.

What can Powerhouse of the South fans and alumni expect this season?

Is there anything else you want to add/ or let our Tiger family know about you? 

I am a proud Marine Corps veteran and graduate of the Armed Forces School of Music and am currently a quarterfinalist for the 2021-2022 Grammy Award for Excellence in Music Education. 

I have successfully worked with several award-winning bands, including: