2024 Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees Announced

Every year, Inspire Arts & Music recognizes two individuals for who have made a significant impact on the arts with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Special attention is given to those who have spent their lives influencing and impacting youth through the arts.

This year, Inspire Arts & Music is proud to recognize Gerry Dolan, Music Education Professor at Gordon College, and Barbara Gobbi DiRusso, Producer/Director of Plymouth's National Alumni Drum & Bugle Corp Concert, with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Dolan and DiRusso will be recognized at our 11th Annual Concert in the Park this summer in Downtown Boston.

Meet our honorees below!

Gerry Dolan – Music Education Professor at Gordon College

Gerald J. Dolan, Jr. serves as the Coordinator of Music Education Practicums and Director of the College Jazz Ensemble at Gordon College. After a thirty-six-year career serving the Ipswich Public Schools, Gerry recently retired as Fine Arts Director and Director of Bands having conducted the high school Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Pep Band, and Jazz Ensemble.

Mr. Dolan has studied conducting with Malcolm Rowell and Frank Battisti. He holds degrees from St. Michael’s College and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Currently the Music Director of the Northeast Massachusetts Youth Orchestras (NMYO), Gerry is Conductor of the NMYO Wind ensemble. He teaches Instrumental Conducting and Music Education at Gordon College Graduate Summer Degree Program. He also has served as a Visiting Lecturer in The Ithaca College Music Education Department. Mr. Dolan served as a conductor of the United States Youth Wind Ensemble, Assistant Conductor of the Metropolitan Wind Symphony, the University of Massachusetts at Lowell Youth Wind Ensemble, and Music Director of the Ipswich Community Band and Jazz Ensemble.

Mr. Dolan received the 2003 Olmstead Award for excellence in secondary school teaching from Williams College and was honored by the Massachusetts Music Educators' Association (MMEA) with the 2002 Lowell Mason Award. As a 1993 Fulbright Scholarship recipient, he served as Head of Music at the Speedwell School, in Bristol, England. Gerry received the 2015 Paul Smith Hall of Fame Award from the Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association and a lifetime Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Association of Jazz Educators. Mr. Dolan is also a proud member of the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps Hall of Fame.

He has been a member of the American Symphony Orchestra League, Fulbright Association, International Association of Jazz Educators, and Massachusetts Music Educators’ Association and is active as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator throughout New England and the United Kingdom.

Barbara Gobbi DiRusso - Producer/Director of Plymouth’s National Alumni Drum & Bugle Corp Concert

Lovingly known as “The Plymouth Lady,” Barbara Gobbi DiRusso has served as the producer/director of America’s Hometown Celebration’s National Alumni Drum & Bugle Concert for the past 22 years.

Born in Boston and raised in Allston, DiRusso grew up in local drum and bugle corps, an identity she would carry with her for life. First taking the field with St. Anthony’s of Allston in 1957, she eventually found her way across the city in Dorchester to join the Boston Crusaders in 1959. DiRusso spent nearly her entire adult life involved with the Boston Crusaders and alumni corps, Crusaders Seniors, holding positions such as performer, volunteer, board member, performer again, and eventually director of the Crusaders Senior Corps in 2001.

In 2002, DiRusso joined America’s Hometown Celebration as the Producer/Director of the Alumni “Reunion Concert.” Over the past 20 years, DiRusso has played a key role in the Plymouth, MA-based Thanksgiving celebration, coordinating the headline concert and scouring the country for new talent for the televised parade.

DiRusso has earned several accolades for her service to the music community. She was named the Mass Drum Corps Hall of Fame “Women of the Year” in 1999, named an Honorary Member of the Hawthorne Caballeros in 2012, inducted into to the Massachusetts Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 2015 and most recently, inducted into the America’s Hometown Celebration Hall of Fame in 2024.