Past Directors of the Ohio University Marching 110

  • 1967-1971:  Gene P. Thrailkill
  • 1971-1973:  Dr. Thomas Lee
  • 1973-1990:  Ronald P. Socciarelli
  • 1990-1996:  Dr. Sylvester Young
  • 1996-Present:  Dr. Richard Suk

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Gene P. Thrailkill, 1967-1971

After arriving at Ohio University in 1966, Gene Thrailkill made drastic changes to the Ohio University Marching Band.  While there were some controversial changes having to do with membership, he ultimately hoped to increase the band's size from approximately 85 members.  The following fall, 112 marchers were chosen to march in the new band.  Other changes included new traditional uniforms and a new style for the band.  With popular music of the day, hard-driving marching and a great "esprit-de-corps," the 110 Marching Men of Ohio began "The Most Exciting Band in the Land."  Thrailkill was also the originator of the 110's "Diamond Ohio" formation.  Thrailkill pushed for the "Diamond Ohio" formation to give the band its own trademark.  Thrailkill was director of bands until 1971.

Prior to his arrival to Ohio University in 1966, Thrailkill served as director of instrumental music for the New Lebanon Public Schools (Ohio).  He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Michigan and a Master of Music degree from Ohio University.  In 2000 Coach Thrailkill retired as Regents Professor and Professor of Music at The University of Oklahoma where he took over in 1971.  He also served as Director of University Bands and headed the extensive OU band program.

The Marching 110 was honored to have Mr. Thrailkill speak and guest conduct the 110 at Homecoming 2001.  Mr. Thrailkill attended the Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning practices of the Marching 110, as well as the new OUMB Society of Alumni & Friends Display Case dedication ceremony in Memorial Auditorium.

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Dr. Thomas Lee, 1971-1973

Dr. Lee received his education from Drake University and the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.  Later, he was the Assistant Director of the Drake University Marching Band and then came to Ohio University in 1971 to conduct the Marching 110.

Lee was also the founder and conductor of the Ohio University Wind Ensemble and received a research grant to develop an innovative approach to teach conducting.

In 1985, Lee became the director of the UCLA Wind Ensemble which he has raised to a level of national prominence.

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Ronald P. Socciarelli, 1973-1990

The Ohio University Marching 110, under the direction of Professor Socciarelli, as well as the wind ensemble, toured extensively throughout the east and Midwest.  The wind ensemble was selected to perform several times at the Ohio Music Educators Association conferences and at the national meeting of the College Band Director's National Association Convention and at the National Music Teacher's Association Conference in Washington, DC. 

Professor Socciarelli earned degrees from Ithaca College and the University of Michigan, and he is an active guest conductor and clinician.  Presently, he holds the title of Professor Emeritus of Music, teaching the fall quarter of each year in the areas of conducting and literature.  He now resides in Aiken, South Carolina.

In 1997, members of the Ohio University Marching 110 were honored to hear Professor Socciarelli at their annual band banquet.  Then, in 2003, Socciarelli returned once again to conduct the Marching 110 and over 200 Alumni during the annual homecoming game during the celebration of Ohio University's Bicentennial, as well as speak at the annual Alumni Banquet.

Ronald Socciarelli passed away on February 2nd, 2012, in Aiken, Georgia, where he had resided since retiring from Ohio University.  Shortly after his death, Ohio University adopted his quote "Better Than the Best Ever" as the official theme for the 2012 Homecoming Celebrations.  On October 13th, over 600 Marching 110 Alumni returned to Ohio University to pay tribute to "The Man."  The largest Alumni band in the history of Ohio University took to the streets of Athens in a homecoming celebration that was undoubtably Better Than the Best Ever.

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Dr. Sylvester Young, 1990-1996

Dr. Sylvester Young, a Florida native, received a bachelor's degree in music education from Florida A&M University in 1969, and in 1986 was recognized as one of that institution's "100 Most Outstanding Graduates." He earned his master's degree in music from Bowling Green State University in 1973.

Young completed all course work for the Ph.D. program in music education at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.  While at Missouri, he performed in select ensembles, including the famous MOSSPAC Symphony (Missouri Symphony Society Performing Arts Center).  Young has also taught music in several states, including South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, and Virginia where he conducted the Marching "Force," a 220-piece band.

The Marching 110 was under Young's direction from 1990 through 1996. Currently, Young is a member of the instrumental music education faculty of the Ohio University School of Music.  The 1997 members of the Ohio University Marching 110 were also honored to hear Mr. Young speak at their annual band banquet.

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Dr. Richard Suk, 1996-Present

Dr. Richard Suk is serving his seventeenth year as Director of the Marching 110.  He is also the conductor of the Symphonic Band and Varsity Band.  A native of Mobile, Alabama, Dr. Suk received his bachelors and masters degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and his doctorate in music education from the University of Illinois.

Prior to his appointment at Ohio University, Dr. Suk taught in the public schools in Mississippi and Alabama for ten years where his bands received consistent superior ratings on the district and state levels.

Dr. Suk is a member of various professional and honorary societies including Kappa Kappa Psi, Tau Beta Sigma, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Ohio Music Educators National Conference, College Band Directors National Association and Pi Kappa Lambda.  He is a recipient of the National Band Association's Citation of Excellence and is active as an adjudicator and clinician.