Influential Missouri instrumental music teacher Danny Watring is the latest inductee into the Smith-Cotton Activities Hall of Fame.

A member of Smith-Cotton High School’s Class of 1981, Watring was inducted in absentia as the induction and band concert scheduled earlier this month was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sadly, Watring passed away on May 24.

Watring taught instrumental music for 30 years before his retirement in 2016. His teaching career started and ended with Grandview schools. In between, he led or helped lead band programs at Liberty School District and Oak Park High School in the North Kansas City School District. He most recently served as adjunct professor of percussion and music education at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville.

During his days at S-C, Watring earned All-District Band recognition three times and a Superior rating at the state Solo Festival twice. He received both the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award and the John Philip Sousa Band Award during his senior year, when he also was a class officer.

Watring served as the jazz vice-president for the Missouri Music Educators Association; vice-president for the Missouri Association of Jazz Educators, and vice-president for both concert and jazz bands in the Kansas City Metro #3 District. He was inducted into the National Honor Society of America's High School Educators in 2004. In 2019, he was recognized as the Missouri Association of Jazz Education’s “Outstanding Jazz Educator.”

Grant Maledy, Smith-Cotton’s director of bands, said Watring’s reputation as a fantastic educator was well known.

“I had heard about Danny from several friends in college,” Maledy said. ““When I moved to the west-central part of the state in 2012, I soon became familiar with his fantastic bands at Grandview and his outsize personality as a master teacher and mentor. He often provided me with great advice and direction, he told me delightful stories about growing up in Sedalia; he was particularly pleased when one of his mentors, Bob Cummings, was inducted to the S-C Activities Hall of Fame."

When Maledy called Watring to let him know of his induction, “He told me that he was very honored. I will miss seeing him at state conventions and festivals but know that his memory is an inspiration for Smith-Cotton students.”