Professor inducted into Kansas Music Hall of Fame

Washburn jazz instructor Craig Treinen blasts out a sax solo at the 2015 Kansas Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony last weekend. Treinen was one of 12 musicians honored at last Saturday’s event.

Ryan Ogle

Since 2004, the Kansas Music Hall of Fame has held an annual ceremony to honor Kansas-born musicians whose contributions to the arts deem them worthy of Hall of Fame status.

This year, one of those musicians was Washburn University Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies/Music Education, Craig Treinen.

“It’s very humbling,” Treinen said of being among this year’s class of inductees. “You do music your whole life, so for someone to recognize you like this, it’s crazy. I never expected this.”

Aside from spending the last decade teaching Washburn music majors the finer points of jazz, Treinen has contributed his soulful saxophone playing to a wealth of internationally renowned recording artists, such as The Temptations, The Shirelles, Lee Greenwood and many others. He has also served as Education and Scholarship Director at Topeka Jazz Workshop and is currently the jazz chair for the Kansas Music Educators Association. While his list of accomplishments is impressive to say the least, having the opportunity to carry on the tradition of passing knowledge down to his students is what keeps Treinen motivated.

“My professors and high school teachers were very important in my life,” Treinen said. “I got started in jazz at a very young age. My high school teachers really pushed me in this direction because they saw how much I loved playing my sax. They’d make me stay after school for extra practice and give me tapes to study. Those guys were very influential.”

After his induction speech, Treinen took to the stage with his backing band – guitarist Wayne Goins, drummer Keith L. Mallory and stand-up bassist Gordon Lewis, who serves as an adjunct music instructor at Washburn – for a set of jazz standards and improved soloing.

Also honored at this year’s ceremony, which took place at Liberty Hall in downtown Lawrence, Kan., was renowned Topeka guitarist Dan Falley.

Falley, who owned Dan’s Guitar Shop, passed away after being involved in a car accident in January 2008. Falley’s induction was accepted by his daughter, Jennifer, and Joel Edison and Danl Blackwood of Jam4Dan, a non-profit organization that raises money for music scholarships in Falley’s honor.

Rejuvanated prog-rockers Proto-Kaw, featuring Kansas guitarist Kerry Livgren, were inducted as well. Though the band never acheived notariety until recently, Proto-Kaw was comprised of the original lineup of musicians that became Kansas and reached legendary status with hits like “Dust in the Wind” and “Carry on my Wayward Son.”

Other names inducted into this year’s Kansas Music Hall of Fame class included Lawrence-based blues band The Lonnie Ray Band, singer/songwriter Gary Winston Apple and popular ’50s revival act The Benders.

For a full list of inductees, visit