USAF Band Commander Joins Mason Faculty

Posted: June 24, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: June 24, 2009 at 9:04 am

By Catherine Ferraro

Col. Dennis Layendecker

Col. Dennis Layendecker

Col. Dennis M. Layendecker, commander, music director and principal conductor of The United States Air Force (USAF) Band, will join the Mason faculty this summer as the Heritage Chair in Music and director of University Orchestras in the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA).

“We are thrilled to welcome Col. Layendecker to the faculty of the Music Department and know that he will be a vital asset to the college, the department and our students,” says William Reeder, dean of CVPA.

“His extensive leadership and management backgrounds coupled with incredible artistic abilities will allow Col. Layendecker to bring resonance to the department and help its faculty reach even higher levels of professional success.”

The Heritage Chair in Music was established in the 1980s by former Mason president George Johnson and his wife, Joanne, to promote the arts on campus and within the community.

In this new role, Layendecker will use his artistic and management skills to address the specific needs of each individual faculty member in the Music Department.

Layendecker assumed command of the Washington, D.C.-based USAF Band, recognized as “America’s International Musical Ambassadors,” in July 2002.

He will retire this summer after a 26-year career in the USAF, having served as a commander, conductor, artistic director, performing musician, public spokesperson, educator and diplomat.

“I am honored to be joining the faculty of George Mason University and excited to be working in the Music Department with some of the most accomplished artist faculty members in the country,” says Layendecker.

“I believe there is a very bright future ahead for music and the other fine arts at Mason, and I look forward to teaming with my colleagues and our students to make a great program even better.”

Layendecker has provided direct musical and ceremonial support to the president of the United States and his cabinet, members of Congress, and other high-ranking civilian and military leaders nationally and internationally.

In addition, he has led the USAF Band and overseen policy for 12 Air Force musical units. He has also directed more than 6,000 musical performances worldwide in support of public outreach, community relations, troop morale, welfare, and recruitment and retention programs for the Air Force.

Layendecker holds a doctor of musical arts in orchestra conducting from the Catholic University of America and a master of music in orchestra conducting from Northwestern University.

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