Home » Uncategorized » Bill Craig, Musician and Teacher: A friendship that began with a drum lesson

Bill Craig, Musician and Teacher: A friendship that began with a drum lesson

Bill Craig

Bill Craig, band director at Barton Junior High in El Dorado, stayed after school one day to give a snare drum lesson to a third-grader. The student was to play Little Drummer Boy in his church choir program. Though saxophone was Bill’s primary instrument, he easily gave fundamental instruction and encouragement to this beginner.

A few years later, Mr. Craig directed the district-wide beginner band, and that kid, now in 6th-grade, was in the back playing snare.

Around twenty-years later, that kid, now a music teacher, played drum set with Bill’s jazz band in El Dorado. A most memorable gig was playing drums at a birthday party Bill organized for his wife, Dorothy. Seeing Bill Craig’s commitment and love for his family was inspiring.

Over the years, Bill and I exchanged Christmas cards. We shared our books with each other, his (The Tall Pines of Union County) about significant people in Union County, and mine (Five Star Trails: The Ozarks) about hiking trails. On several occasions, I picked up classic jazz recordings from Bill, and on a couple of occasions, he sent me CDs of jazz he performed and recorded.

I’m thankful that Bill was willing to stay after school that afternoon. I doubt that either of us had an inkling of the friendship that would develop from that snare drum lesson. Through his example, Bill Craig taught the importance of building positive relationships with students. I’m thankful for his life and positive influence on our community and countless former students.  ~ Jim Warnock



  1. Nettia Hale says:

    What a specially sweet remembrance Jim. Thank you for being so well spoken
    and allowing us to be a little part of those precious times.

  2. Deb Crawford says:

    Jim, what an amazing tribute to Mr. Craig. I only met him about 2 yrs ago, but instantly could tell he was a very caring person. Thank you for sharing how he influenced your life.

  3. Lynn Craig Rambo says:

    Thank you, Jim, for your sweet tribute to my dad! I knew you two were friends, but I didn’t know, how your friendship began! What an amazing story and it truly touched my heart.
    Lynn Craig Rambo

  4. Doug Brown says:

    My first music teacher and he inspired me to play more than one instrument. I recorded one of my original songs at his home in 2015. He later used that on his “The Musicians of El Dorado” CD. Our family was close to he and Dot and we lift them up in prayer now.

  5. Courtney Rambo says:

    Thank you for the kind words and sharing your memories of my grandfather. He was an exceptional husband, father, and the best grandfather anyone could ask for. He touched so many lives throughout the years and was the most thoughtful and sincere person I’ve ever known. He was truly an amazing person and I’m so thankful that I was blessed with a grandfather like Bill Craig. I will miss him terribly.

  6. Lucy Douthitt Arnold says:

    I was a seventh grade student that was usually found seated in the back of most classes due to being quiet. Me. Craig noticed my inability to read the notes without looking extremely close to the music. He informed my mother who had already taken me to an ophthalmologist. Next, she took me to an optometrist where I was given corrective lens. I had no idea of all the things I could now see. I am so grateful for him. I begin to learn at a more rapid rate. I ended up getting my Master’s of Education Degree at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas. I owe my success and love of teaching to Jim Craig. He was the best teacher.

  7. Dona Moore says:

    Our prayers are with you all. Bill Craig was a special man and touched people with is music and kindness. The world has lost a one of a kind.

  8. Brenda Compton says:

    I was privileged to meet Mr. Craig once at a winter concert with his daughter, Fran. What a wonderful gentleman he was! He sure loved the holiday music and seemed to really enjoy it with his beautiful adoring daughter.

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I'm a retired educator. I enjoy learning and sharing with others. If you like the outdoors, check out my other blog: ozarkmountainhiker.com

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