North  Carolina

2015 Hall of Fame Nominees

James "Jim" Crayton

Nominated by Felicia Warren MacNaught and Michael Williams

James Edward "Jim" Crayton, Jr., began his musical career in 1959 at Smithfield High School under director Lee Rogers. While there, he earned first chair percussion positions in both All-State Band and Orchestra. After attending East Carolina, he began teaching in 1967. In 1972, he became the director of a fledgling Cape Fear High School program where he began the feeder programs at both Stedman and Armstrong Jr. High Schools. A few years later, his Armstrong Band became the first junior high band in the Southeastern District to receive ratings of "Superior" in Grade V followed quickly by numerous ratings of "Superior" and first place rankings by all of the Cape Fear Bands in both concert and marching competitions while consistently placing large numbers of students in district and state bands.

His bands have performed at both the NCAE and the NCBA state conventions. In 1995, the Cape Fear Band and Chorus were named by Governor Jim Hunt as North Carolina's official delegates to help celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the end of World War II with a 15-day concert tour of France and England. He has served on the NCBA Board of Directors, as Chair of the Southeastern District Bandmasters Association, and as a judge and clinician at numerous local and regional clinics. He is a recipient of the NCBA Award of Excellence.

After "retiring" from Cape Fear in 1997, he served as Conductor of the Cape Fear Regional Band and worked part-time as director at both Methodist University and The Fayetteville Academy, finally really retiring in 2009 after 42 years teaching music. A large number of his students have pursued some form of music as a profession. He has been a mentor to many young band directors, some twenty of them his own students who followed in his footsteps becoming band directors themselves. He has served on many civic boards including the United Way and is currently serving his 43rd year as a volunteer choir director at Cokesbury United Methodist Church in Stedman. He presently resides at Bay Tree Lakes in Bladen County where he is an EMT and Captain in the local fire department.

Wynn Justice

Nominated by Robert Johnston and Chad Higdon

Wynn Justice is a retired career music educator with more than 30 years of experience. He currently lives in Nebo, NC, where he is an active guest conductor and clinician with many high school and middle school band programs throughout Burke, McDowell, and Avery counties.

After graduation from Glen Alpine High School, Justice attended Appalachian State University and began teaching in the Burke County Public School system. He then began working with his former band director Martha Thomason and realized his calling as a music educator. He continued his education at Western Carolina University where he studied music education wit tuba as his primary instrument. After graduating from WCU, he accepted a position as Director of Bands at Andrews High School and Middle School.

Under his direction, the band program membership tripled. The Andrews Bands performed at many local, regional, and state competitions, festivals, and clinics with both marching and concert bands. Justice returned to his home in Burke County to teach at Oak Hill Junior High School. Under his leadership, the Oak Hill Band grew to become a superior-rated concert band with a tradition of excellence.

in 1990, Justice was chosen to be the Director of Bands at Freedom High School where he would teach for the remainder of his career. During his time at Freedom, the band grew to more than 300 members with over 200 members in the Marching Patriots. The FHS Marching Band competed at many local and regional competitions and is known for their awesome sound and size. They performed many classical music based shows. It was Justice's philosophy that it was not only important to expose students to wonderful music but also important to educate the audience and community through performance. The Freedom High School Band program consisted of four concert bands that attended concert band MPAs and earned over 40 superior ratings in grades III through VI. The FHS Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Wind Symphony performed and traveled to music festivals, competitions and performances in Tennessee, Florida, Missouri, New York, and Hawaii.

Justice is a member of Phi Mu Alpha and Kappa Kappa Psi music fraternities. He was awarded the 1997 Award of Excellence by the Northwest District Bandmasters Association and was selected for membership into the American School Band Directors Association. He served as Middle School MPA Chair for the Northwest District of NCBA for many years.

His biggest contribution to our activity is the love of music he instilled in his students. Many of his students and student teachers are currently teaching music and performing throughout the United States in all levels of music education. No one who performed under his baton will ever forget the passion and love he gave to his students and music on a daily basis.

Ed Whitener

Nominated by Terry Reid

Ed Whitener was educated in the Lenoir City Schools and graduated from Appalachian State University with honors in 1971. He began his teaching career with the Surry County Schools serving as Band Director in the East Surry School District from 1971 to 1976. He became Band Director at William Lenoir Middle School in 1979, where he served until his retirement in 2005. 

During his tenure, his bands earned 23 ratings of "Superior" at the Northwest District Concert Band Festival with his Eighth Grade Band earning 21 consecutive superior ratings. His students consistently placed high in the All-District Honors Band, frequently earning first chair. He credits his mentor in this distinguished profession for giving him the foundation and desire to teach instrumental music. Among them are: John D. Miller, Bernard Hirsch, Madeline Mullis, Camilla Graeber, Phillip Paul, Bob Love and Charles Isley. Numerous former students have gone on to be successful band directors in their own right.

Whitener was the Educator of the Year for the Caldwell County School System in 1997, and was a regional semi-finalist for the Northwest District of North Carolina for State Teacher of the Year in 1998. He was the recipient of the State Human Relations Award for the North Carolina Association of Educators for 1998. He is a Past Chairman of the Northwest District Bandmasters Association and served on the North Carolina Bandmasters Board of Directors from 1990-2002. He is also a recipient of the Award of Excellence from the Northwest District Bandmasters Association.

He is in constant demand as a clinician, adjudicator, and consultant in North and South Carolina, as well as Virginia and Tennessee. He was inducted in to the prestigious American School Band Directors Association in July, 1999. He is currently serving as an adjunct instructor at Appalachian State University and is a conductor and participant with the James C. Harper School of Performing Arts Concert Band.

Whitener is chairman of The Whitener Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to serving many needs and causes through North Carolina. He is also very active in his church serving as host team leader and life group participant. He and his wife, Karen, have been married for 46 years and have a son and a daughter, five grandsons and one granddaughter.