Lonnie Hamilton III has been awarded the 2012 the prestigious arts award for mentoring young artists. The award was created
in 2011 by South of Broadway Theatre Company (SOBTC). Anita Zucker, Charleston philanthropist and InterTech Group CEO was the inaugural recipient.
James Braunreuther, Charleston County Fine Arts Coordinator, who Chaired the Summey Barkley Rucker Medallion Selection Committee stated that the award had been an unanimous decision based on the life-long body of work that Lonnie has created in the lowcountry, and the mentoring of countless youth during his long career in music.
The medallion is named for North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts Founding Chair Nella G. Barkley and
Hootie & the Blowfish Lead Singer Darius Rucker. The award will be presented at the annual Summey Barkley Rucker Medallion Gala on May 8th, 6:00 – 8:00
at The South of Broadway Theatre Company, 1080 E. Montague Ave., in the Park Circle area of North Charleston.
MassMutual Financial Group – The South Carolina Agency donated the medallion in 2011 to serve SOBTC’s annual presentation needs far into the future, and continues their involvement and support as part of the Selection Committee for the award.
Lonnie Hamilton III has been an educator, politician and professional musician in Charleston, South Carolina for more than fifty years. He toured with the Jenkins Orphanage Bands during the mid-1940s, and played with his own band, Lonnie Hamilton and the Diplomats, which was the house band at “Henry’s, a very popular jazz nightclub from the 1970s through the early 1990s. He was also the band leader at Bonds-Wilson High School from 1955 to 1976. At a Bonds-Wilson reunion in 2002 hundreds of people gathered to award Lonnie the “Order of the Palmetto:” the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a civilian.
In 2003, and at Lonnie’s urging “to give something back to the community,” a scholarship fund in his honor was formed to fund local high school band students in the pursuit of their dreams. To date more than $20,000 has been awarded to Lowcountry youth for assistance in pursuing their musical dreams through this fund.
Lonnie Hamilton’s career as a public official paralleled his musical and education activities. In 1970 he was elected as the first African American to Charleston County Council since the reconstruction. He served until 1994 and was the author and administrator of many initiatives: Including: Emergency Medical Services for Charleston County, directed appropriation of funds for the Charleston Museum’s state of the art facility. In 1991 a comprehensive waste management and recycling plant broke ground for which the city of Charleston received a national award celebrating its leadership in this field. Lonnie also served on the Ad hoc library committee which handled bond referendums to build more libraries in Charleston county. Lonnie was also responsible for establishing a nine-week Summer internship for High School juniors and seniors to introduce them to the workings of county government. A testament to his legacy, The Lonnie Hamilton, III Public Services Building now stands at 4045 Bridge View Drive, North Charleston, SC 29405.
South of Broadway Theatre Company and the namesakes for the Summey Barkley Rucker Medallion are delighted to be able to recognize Lonnie Hamilton III’s contributions to the community on every level, and in particular his commitment to mentoring youth. Charleston is indeed fortunate to have such a man as Lonnie Hamilton III as a powerful force in the community.
SOBTC is a not-for-profit arts organization producing professional opera, musicals, comedy and drama productions plus classes in the theatre arts since 2004.
For more information contact: Mary Gould, director, at 814-4451.