Obituaries detail

Bill R. Crain

August 3, 1951 - February 14, 2021


Bill R. Crain passed away surrounded by family on February 14, 2021 in Kansas City, KS.  He was a highly respected musician, composer, educator, and recording engineer who made his home in the Kansas City area.  Bill founded BRC Audio Productions and the Institute of Audio Engineering Arts, and will be remembered through his many contributions to the lives of his students and the Kansas City musical community.   


As a professional woodwind player, Bill was proud to perform with famous acts including the Glenn Miller Orchestra, The Temptations, and Gladys Knight.  He also led his own small jazz ensembles, composed original music, and served as musical director of Kansas Citys prestigious Trilogy Big Band.


Bill had a lifelong passion for education, and he influenced the lives of many students through his genuine approach to teaching.  Among his major educational accomplishments were the design and inception of the Jazz Studies program at University of Central Missouri (formerly Central Missouri State University), the founding of the Institute of Audio Engineering Arts in Kansas City, KS, and his role as Associate Musical Director for Kansas City Area Youth Jazz.


Bill contributed to the world not only as a musician and educator but also as an accomplished and well-respected recording engineer.  As the founder and owner of BRC Audio Productions, Bill engineered and produced countless music albums, and produced dozens of musical compositions and arrangements for radio, TV, and film.


Bill was immensely proud of his children Will and Diana, and some of his favorite memories were of his musical performances with Will on piano and Diana on bass.  Bill was intensely loyal to his friends and never hesitated to come to the aid of someone in need.  He also enjoyed lively intellectual conversations with friends and colleagues on a variety of topics, which would include some of his favorite activities and interests such as science, cooking, cars, movies and TV shows, reading, and travel.


Bill is survived by children Will and Diana, former wife Claire, and siblings Amanda Leonard and Brad Crain.  He will be most remembered by his family as a loving and dedicated father.


In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to The Assistance Fund, which provides financial assistance for expensive life-saving medications: 


A memorial service will be planned for a later date. 

Additional Service:
Services at Later Date


Ray McDonald Feb 19 ,2021

Father-in-law ,Vacaville ,California

A talented and creative man has passed on. To the last, Bill fought for his life and "business as usual" against overwhelming odds. Claire, Diana and Will worked hard to help him during his last months. With love, Dad and Grandpa) and Rachel.

Wayne Hawkins Feb 19 ,2021

Friend ,Ballston Lake ,New York

I just wanted to express my regret in not calling Bill the last several years . He and I were pretty close friends for a long time, but grew apart. I was the pianist he called for many years and was always honored and grateful for that. He was truly one of a kind in that he could do anything he put his mind to. Im sending some good thoughts to him ! Wayne L. Hawkins

Bob Blount Feb 20 ,2021

Friend and sideman ,Kansas City ,Missouri

Most of my personal top 10 "all-time favorite gigs I ever played" were with Bill. Top of the list is probably a Trilogy gig we played in Maryville MO almost 20 years ago. It was just one of those exceedingly rare magical nights, and Bill made it possible. Thank you, Bill. In 30 years as a professional musician I never worked with a better woodwind player than Bill. I never worked with a better band leader than Bill. I never worked with a better recording engineer than Bill. And I never worked with anyone I trusted more than Bill. He challenged me musically like no other band leader I ever worked with and I loved every minute of it.

susan herold Feb 21 ,2021

Friend ,Kansas City ,Missouri

Will and Diana, I'm so sorry for the loss of your dad. I have very good memories of his playing, his kindness and meals Steve and I enjoyed at your house. Please also send condolences to your mom. This is a great loss to Kansas City's music community. Susan Herold

Mike Thompson Feb 21 ,2021

friend and colleague ,Olathe ,Kansas

Very sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. He was a very talented musician and educator with unmatched dedication to the art of recording. When I recorded my CD at BRC he went way above and beyond just being an engineer and acted as a co-producer with all of his valued input. Our local music scene is diminished as a result of his passing.