Bandmaster of the Year

This award is presented annually to the member who has distinguished him or herself through developing consistently stellar performing ensembles. Nominations are received from the membership and forwarded to the selection committee.

Click on a name for more information:

• 1973 LaVerne Reimer

• 1974 Mark Hindsley

• 1975 Cloyd Myers

• 1976 Lawrence Fogelberg

• 1977 Warren Felts

• 1978 Robert E. Jorgensen

• 1979 W. C. Edwards

• 1980 Robert B. Allan

• 1981 Victor Zajec

• 1982 G. Jack Shuler

• 1983 Harold Luhman

• 1984 Jon Dugle

• 1985 Bernard Stiner

• 1986 Robert E. Gray

• 1987 John Janusek

• 1988 Lyle Hopkins

• 1989 Norbert Meier

• 1990 Anton J. Cerveny

• 1991 Richard A. Alderman

• 1992 Roman R. Palmer

• 1993 Steven W. Eggelston

• 1994 Randolph F. Kummer

• 1995 Gary R. Hillquist

• 1996 Donald S. Lewellen

• 1997 William C. Worra

• 1998 Rex E. Benson

• 1999 Daniel A. Gannon

• 2000 Edward E. Winkler

• 2001 James T. Conder

• 2002 George P. Foeller

• 2003 John A. Thomson

• 2004 David C. Vroman

• 2005 Hal Hokeson

• 2006 Gene Montgomery

• 2007 John Christie

• 2008 Donald Shupe

• 2009 Bernie Potter

• 2010 Raeleen Horn

• 2011 Keith Schmink

• 2012 James Hile

• 2013 Joseph Manfredo

• 2014 David Maccabee

• 2015 David Bean

• 2016 Brian Logan

• 2017 Scott Casagrande

• 2018 Thomas Birkner

• 2019 (none selected)

2018 Honoree:

Thomas Birkner

Dr. Thomas Birkner retired in 2016 as Director of Instrumental Music at Belleville West High School, leading the symphonic band, marching band, orchestra, and three jazz ensembles; his students and ensembles receiving recognition throughout the region, including international performances in Ontario, Canada, and Germany. In addition, he served as an adjunct faculty member of Southwestern Illinois College, teaching improvisation. Prior teaching assignments include the University of Illinois, Parkland College, and Terre Haute South High School in Indiana.

Named a Golden Apple Award Winner for Excellence in Teaching at the secondary level, he has served on the faculty of the summer jazz camp at Eastern Illinois University for over 35 years. Recognized as an outstanding soloist by the International Trumpet Guild and the National Association of Teachers of Singing, performances include the Chicago Jazz Festival, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, and major jazz festivals in Italy, Sweden, and Denmark.

Recorded performances can be found on Einstein records, Opus One, and the Seabreeze record labels. Among artist with whom he has appeared are Joe Williams, Clark Terry, Nancy Wilson, and Louis Belson. Dr. Birkner remains active as a clinician and adjudicator and is a past member of the I LMEA State Executive Board. He resides in Belleville with his wife Catherine and children Jon, Ryan, and Erin.