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Ireton Music Director Retires

After 33 years as Director of Fine Arts, 27 international concert tours, 24 world premiers of commissioned works and 29 combined concerts with university and professional ensembles, Dr. Garwood Whaley will retire from Bishop Ireton High School at the end of January.

Whaley came to Ireton in 1966 while a member of The United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” to give percussion lessons to students of the fledging Ireton program and became director of bands in 1971. During his tenure, the Wind Ensemble has been the subject of several articles in national music journals including a feature article in the May 2000 “Instrumentalist” entitled, “From Struggling Ensemble to a Band of Distinction.” The music program at Ireton is considered a national model of comprehensive music education.

Whaley was educated at the Juilliard School of Music and at The Catholic University of America where he earned the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree. He has been the recipient of the “Outstanding Secondary Educators of America Award,” “Outstanding National Catholic Bandmaster,” The National Band Association’s “Citation of Excellence,” The National Federation Interscholastic Music Association “Outstanding Music Educator Award,” the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s “Legion of Honor Award” and has been included in Who’s Who in American Music and the International Who’s Who in Music.

IN 1994, he received the “Alumni Achievement Award” in the field of Education from The Catholic University of America. This award, which is presented annually by the Board of Governors Alumni Association, recognized his accomplishments and honored him for his life’s work in education.

In 2002, he was invited to join the “American Bandmasters Association,” the distinguished organization founded by Edwin Franko Goldman. For the past five years, Dr. Whaley has received a “Grant In The Arts” from the Washington Post Educational Foundation for his “Commissioned Work and Composer-In-The-School Project.” In 1998, Bishop Ireton High School named its new performance hall after Whaley.

Replacing Whaley at Bishop Ireton is Dr. Randall Eyles, former Superintendent of the United States Air Force Band and former Executive Director of the Percussive Arts Society. Eyles has a long-standing relationship with school as both a commissioned-work composer and, beginning in 1974, as percussion instructor. His work “Freckles Rag” was commissioned and premiered by Garwood Whaley and the Bishop Ireton Wind Ensemble in 1982.