YORK -- York Comprehensive High School has chosen a successor for band director Fred Stewart.
Last week, the school board voted to hire Craig Davis, an assistant band director at Byrnes High School in the Spartanburg school district, for the position.
Davis is a graduate of Furman University and the University of South Carolina. He has worked with music programs at USC, Lexington High School and Easley High School. Along with his work at Byrnes, he also is director of bands at Florence Chapel Middle School.
Davis clearly stood out above all the other candidates, said Principal Diane Howell.
"He just really has a genuine interest in our students, and again the vision for the program of where he would like to see the program continue and to grow," Howell said. "We believe he's got the ability to continue the rich tradition here and continue to keep us up in the forefront of where we want to be."
His contract officially starts July 1, but he plans to work with Stewart in June to help make the transition smooth, Howell said.
Davis said he was attracted to the job because of the school's success record.
"I'm real excited about the opportunity to come in there and just continue the success that the program has enjoyed," he said.
Davis has been involved with band music since his own junior high days.
"Band was something that just made sense to me," he said. "I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the challenge that it gives you and enjoyed working on it. I just wanted to keep doing it."
He's made it his goal to share that enjoyment with students and loves seeing them progress in their own musical abilities, he said.
"It's a very rewarding activity," he said.
Superintendent Russell Booker, who also came to York from the Spartanburg school district, said Davis' passion for music stood out during the interview process and he comes with good recommendations.
"We talked to the people over (in Spartanburg) and they said he has just done a fabulous job with the students," Booker said. "We always want to bring people in who are going to work well with our students, so we saw that as being one of his strengths."
Davis also has a strong background in concert music, Booker said.
"We are very strong with our overall band program, not just in marching band, but in concert and all the different ensembles," Booker said.
Davis said he's looking forward to growing the concert side of the band program.
"I want the York Comprehensive band program name to be a name that everybody across the state knows," he said. "I want it to be an icon of South Carolina bands."
Stewart said he hasn't had the chance to meet Davis yet, but looks forward to working with him in the upcoming months.