Fred Stewart will leave one of the best band programs in the state when he retires as band director for York Comprehensive High School at the end of the school year. He'll also be leaving a legacy of hundreds of grateful students.
Stewart, who has taught for 28 years, including the past 12 at YCHS, always has been passionate about music. And he has managed to convey that passion and devotion to excellence to hundreds of band members over the years, some of whom, he says, now are 45 years old.
Under his tutelage, from 2000 to 2003, the YCHS band won four state championships in the 3-A division. This year, York placed second in the 4-A division behind rival Clover.
"It would be a dream to win one state championship in your lifetime, but to win four in a row is a neat experience," Stewart said.
Students speak fondly of Stewart's caring nature, his sense of humor and his ability to inspire them to be champions. Those qualities helped the school's band program grow to be one of the largest in the area with strong student interest. That will be quite a gift for his successor.
Stewart may be leaving, but he will be taking music and memories with him, not to mention the affection of students and all those who have been associated with the band over the years. We wish him well.
Long-time YCHS band director Fred Stewart will leave behind many grateful students.