James "Jim" Crayton, Jr.
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 fifteen-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.