The Al & Gladys Wright Band Lifetime Achievement Award

About Al & Gladys

It is impossible to overstate the impact Al and Gladys Wright have had on the American band movement of the 20th Century. In addition to being outstanding conductors and music educators, the Wrights have been influential leaders in several important national music organizations including the American Bandmasters Association, the National Band Association, the American School Band Association, and most especially, the John Philip Sousa Foundation. In searching for meaningful ways to honor Al’s legacy after his death in 2020, Gladys decided to create an endowment through the John Philip Sousa Foundation to recognize outstanding lifetime contributions from leaders who have devoted themselves to the cause of band music in a manner that honors the legacy of the Wrights. 


This award recognizes lifetime achievement in the band profession, in areas including professional leadership, teaching and/or conducting, service, and additional pertinent experience.

Eligibility Criteria

Nominees should have a minimum of 40 years of distinguished service to the profession, in a manner that is consistent with the mission and goals of the John Philip Sousa Foundation.

Application Procedure

Each submission will be supported by a letter of nomination, the nominee's resume, and three letters of recommendation that speak to the nominee’s distinction in the identified categories. The nomination letter and letters of recommendation should be formatted in a 12-point font with one-inch margins, and all the documents should be combined and submitted via email ( no later than 11:59 PM EST on September 1. No mailed or faxed copies will be accepted. Nomination materials may be resubmitted in subsequent years if the candidate is not selected. Nominations may be withdrawn by the nominator at any time.  

Additional Guidance

Letter of Nomination: The letter of nomination should include the nominator's name, address, daytime telephone number, and signature, as well as the names of the authors of the letters of recommendation.

Resume: The nominee's resume should detail education; work experience; service at the district, state, national, and international level; significant performances; and service to the John Philip Sousa Foundation or other professional organizations. The resume should not exceed two pages in length. 

Selection and Award Process

The John Philip Sousa Foundation Executive Committee will review nominations and select the recipient(s). More than one award may be selected annually; however, not more than two awards per year will be given. The award(s) will be presented at the annual John Philip Sousa Foundation reception held at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. Travel and expenses for recipients will not be funded by the JPSF or the Endowment. Questions concerning the award should be directed to Michael Colburn, JPSF Vice President – Project Enhancement ( 


2022    John R. Bourgeois, Colonel USMC (Ret.)

2023    Robert E. Foster, Edward S. Lisk