Carolina Crown Hall of Fame Selection Committee,
This letter is more than 20 years in the making. It is a great honor and privilege to write this letter of nomination supporting the candidacy of Ralph Stewart III for the 2017 Carolina Crown Hall of Fame Class. I could not be more enthusiastic about Ralph’s candidacy for this honor.
Ralph joined Carolina Crown in 1991 and after 3 years in the brass section, served as the drum major for 3 years (1994-1996). He has since gone on to have both administrative and instructional appointments (brass and visual staffs) with Carolina Crown and other organizations such as the Magic of Orlando, Crossmen, Boston Crusaders, Blue Stars, and Teal Sound Drum and Bugle Corps. He is currently the visual designer for the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps, a position that he has held for the past two seasons. I had the distinct privilege of meeting Ralph during the summer of 1994 at my hometown Cary, NC show. I was interested in marching with Carolina Crown and a close friend from my high school marched with him in 1994-1995. Ralph visited my high school during this period many times and after talks with him and his active recruitment, I was sold on joining Carolina Crown.
During the entire 1996 season, my first year in the brass line and Ralph’s age-out and third year as drum major, I witnessed on a daily basis an individual that gave all he could to the organization and continuously strived for Carolina Crown to be the best it could be. Ralph truly made everyone feel a part of the Crown “family”. He was always available to all members and led by example in all that he did. An attribute I admired the most about Ralph was that he never asked more of the organization or members than he did of himself. It is safe to say that this attribute also pushed the instructional staff to be the best they could be as well. Behind the scenes, Ralph actively recruited new members, assisted with all aspects of the corps’ day-to-day operations, and gave unselfishly of his time to maximize the potential of the organization. At shows, I continually observed Ralph handle himself with utmost professionalism. This was even more apparent when I became drum major in 1997. The level of respect that Ralph received from show coordinators and drum majors and staff from other corps was immense. This made me extremely proud that he had been the drum major of my organization and a major influence on me. In total, Ralph has served to this day as an exemplary ambassador for the organization.
Once I became drum major in 1997, one of the best things about Ralph was his support as I had two very big shoes to fill. However, one of the things I will always respect about him was that he let “me be me” but was always approachable, providing superb wisdom and guidance when needed. During my final year as drum major in 1998, even though Ralph was with another organization, he was continuously a mentor and was always there to discuss things at shows.
In summary, I am confident that many of the reasons Carolina Crown is where it is today is because of Ralph’s on and off the field contributions and sacrifices. Being familiar with who is on the selection committee, I know that many of you can agree with the above statements about Ralph. Ralph Stewart III’s name will be synonymous with the organization in my mind and most likely the minds of everyone he has influenced, forever.
Since Ralph is a part of the Hall of Fame Committee, I am not including his contact information. Please do not hesitate to contact me at any time about Ralph’s candidacy for this prestigious distinction.
Blake “Eason” Hildreth III
Soprano bugle (1996) and Drum Major (1997 & 1998)