Robert L. Grace, age 79, passed away at his home in Baton Rouge, LA, on September 25, 2019, with his wife, Jan, by his side. Bob was born in July, 1940 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. His family moved to St. Louis, Missouri where he attended Brentwood Public Schools and Washington University. He received his Bachelor an…read more
Robert L. Grace, age 79, passed away at his home in Baton Rouge, LA, on September 25, 2019, with his wife, Jan, by his side. Bob was born in July, 1940 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. His family moved to St. Louis, Missouri where he attended Brentwood Public Schools and Washington University. He received his Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Music and Music Education from North Texas State Univ (now the University of North Texas), with a major in woodwind instruments. Post Graduate work was done at the University of Iowa and University of Texas at San Antonio. He was a member of the Texas Bandmasters Association, Texas Music Educators Association, Music Educators National Conference, and Audio Engineering Society, and the American Bandmasters Association, among other professional organizations. As a youth, Bob studied clarinet and received numerous awards for his talents including the Young Artist 1959 Award from the St. Louis Symphony. Band directing was his passion and he spent 22 years teaching music to middle and high school students in the Fort Worth/Dallas and central and south Texas public schools beginning in Killeen, TX and including Burleson High School. He had a reputation for being able to turn around troubled band programs and raise them to the highest levels of achievement. He looked with pride on the accomplishments of his former students in their professional lives, many of whom have risen to national prominence in their chosen fields. To his final days, many of his former students kept in touch, much to his great enjoyment. Concurrent with his teaching career, Bob pursued a strong interest in learning to accurately record live performances of musical ensembles and in keeping with that calling, he founded Vestige Custom Records which evolved later to Vestige Audio/Video. He was concerned that live recordings available at the time did not give a proper representation of the actual performance. He studied audio recording techniques with nationally recognized experts throughout the country and as a free-lance video producer, he was the musical director and video editor for a time with Third Coast Studios located in Fort Worth, TX. After retiring from teaching in1985, his reputation as an expert in live recording brought him to the Louisiana State University School of Music to establish a Recording Studio and create a curriculum for recording techniques aimed at senior and graduate level students. He left LSU in 1990 to become a full-time Recording and Mastering Engineer with his own Vestige label. He specialized in live recordings of both classical and jazz performing groups and soloists. His clients included high school musical organizations, major universities across the southern U.S. (LSU, Southern Miss, TCU, SMU, Arkansas to name a few), and professional performing groups both large and small (Ft. Worth Symphony, Schola Cantorum of Texas, Baton Rouge Symphony, Van Cliburn Piano Competition, NPR and PBS broadcast series, National Symphony Orchestra League, and Voice of America among others. One of his proudest recording accomplishments was associated with the North Texas 1:00 Jazz Lab Band albums. His live tracks on the “Lab 76” and “Lab 80” albums were nominated and reached final consideration for Grammy Awards. With his growing reputation as an expert in live on location recording and mastering, Bob was invited to bring Vestige Audio/Video into Associate Membership of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association in 1995. This was an honor he never anticipated. He devoted his talents to the organization by volunteering to record concerts at the annual conventions, a labor of love he continued to 2015 when his health began to decline. He also prepared new member audition CDs for the membership committee until an online process was inaugurated. In 2012, Bob was awarded an Honorary Life Associate Member of ABA, one of only four since the organization was founded in 1930. He and his wife, Jan, were completely overwhelmed with this supreme honor. He cherished his friendships with both the Active and Associate members of ABA and valued their input as his career progressed, both as a band director in earlier years when they judged his bands, and later as colleagues in ABA. Bob continued to share his thoughts for continuing and strengthening the many great purposes of ABA to his dying day. It was truly regarded as a privilege above all privileges to him. Bob is survived by his devoted wife of 39 years, Jan L. Grace. He was preceded in death by: his father, James Ralph Grace; his mother, Beulah Mae Grace; and his brother, James Earl Grace. He loved life and cherished his friends. Those who knew him well described him as having a notable reputation for excellence as measured by performance of major band works as a band director and the outstanding audio quality of his recordings. He had the ability to influence students, friends and colleagues alike to improve in all their endeavors. A visitation will be held on Saturday, October 19 at Rabenhorst Funeral Home, 825 Government Street from 9:30 am until a memorial service to begin at 11:00 am. Bob will be laid to rest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at a later date. Jan gives thanks to all his former students, friends, and associates for their friendship, caring, and support over the years. In lieu of flowers, he and Jan have expressed the wish that memorial donations be made to the American Bandmasters Association Foundation or a charity of choice in Bob’s name. Those donating to the ABA Foundation may want to earmark the use of their donation for a specific purpose under Bob’s name.
Date: Saturday, October 19, 2019
Time: 9:30 am - 11:00 am
Rabenhorst Funeral Home
Date: Saturday, October 19, 2019
Time: 11:00 am -
Rabenhorst Funeral Home