Washington Illinois Historical Society - Washington, Illinois - Founded 1825

Announcing our 2016 
Washington Roots Award Recipient   
 Gene Thrailkill

Marching to a beat of his own, we are pleased to announce our 2016 Washington Roots Award recipient, Gene Thrailkill! Famed for his half-time shows in Oklahoma, Thrailkill is an award-winning marching band director, enjoying a full career with The Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band. He is a 1956 graduate of Washington Community Highschool and will be returning to his beloved home town in September for a reception in his name on Thursday, Sept 22nd, at 6:30pm at St. Marks Church in Washington.

Touting 30-year tenure with The Pride of Oklahoma, Thrailkill half-time shows were regularly featured on national television during college football games because of the skill and intricacy seen within the shows. His hard work and dedication to the program is often cited as the reason for such success. And while under the direction of Thrailkill, the University of Oklahoma marching band were the recipients of the prestigious Sudler Trophy for most outstanding marching band in the nation in 1987. This is just one of the many honors bestowed up Thrailkill in his career.

An all-round musical guy, Thrailkill’s career history consists of a 5-year tenure at Ohio State University, recruitment by Oklahoma with a 30-year tenure, and prestigious titles of Director of Bands Emertis, Regent’s Professor Emeritus, Professor of Music Emeritus, and Gene A. Braught Chair Emertius. As a professor of music, he taught instrumental music education and served on numerous education committees nationally and in Oklahoma. He is also a decorated director, being the recipient of the Prestigious Alumni “Medal of Merit for Achievement in Music” (Ohio University), the Associates Distinguished Lectureship (University of Oklahoma Board of Regents), Administrator of the Year, and the Walter Neustadt Award, given by the University Student Council for his outstanding service to the students of Oklahoma. And now he’s adding Washington Roots Award recipient to that list!

Thrailkill is very involved in giving back, and has helped raise significant funds for the Washington Community High School marching band. The Marching Panther's band pavilion is named about Thrailkill.

We are so thrilled to be naming Thrailkill as our 2016 Washington Roots Award recipient, and honor him for his grand accomplishments in the music field. Please join us on at 6:30pm on Thursday, Sept. 22, for a reception and presentation at St. Mark’s Church in Washington. You won’t want to miss this!

Already thinking about next year's award? 
Check our the official 2017 rules and guidlines below. Nominations open in early spring!

1. The annual Washington Roots award recognizes a person with “roots” in Washington who has made a significant contribution to society. 
2. Nominations not selected will be held and considered for a three year period. 
3. ELIGIBILITY:  Nominees must have spent a portion of their childhood in Washington, and made a significant contribution in one of the following areas: science, government, arts, sports, or charitable work.  
4. The recipient will be honored on Homecoming weekend and must be available to attend an awards ceremony, and to present a program (45 min – 1 hr in length). 



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