Local resident enjoys playing in COM Jazz Ensemble

Posted on: January 18, 2012

Ted Williams made the most fortuitous sale of his career in 1983.

A music salesman, Williams delivered a flugelhorn to College of the Mainland Director of Instrumental Music/Jazz Studies Sparky Koerner.

“Sparky said come out and join the band and see how you like it,” Williams said.

Williams, who plays the flugelhorn and trumpet, has played in COM’s Jazz Ensemble continuously longer than any other member.

“I sign up for the class each semester,” Williams said. “I have a 4.0 average since 1983.”

The ensemble wasn’t full when Williams began, but he’s played a key role in building it into one of the best musical outfits in Galveston County. He’s encouraged other musicians to join the band over the years.
“Ted is a wonderful sight reader,” Koerner said. “When we put music down in front of us I can always count on him to play it perfectly the first time, and that helps guide the other players. He’s been a good-spirited person in the band and helps with the camaraderie.”

Williams, who lives in Dickinson, was born in Augusta, Ga. and grew up near San Antonio.
He was named after the baseball legend but quickly left the bat and glove behind to focus on instruments and music sheets.

“I got the name,” Williams said. “I just couldn’t live up to the batting average. I enjoyed music so much I decided to make a career out of it.”

Williams graduated from Texas A&I University, now known as Texas A&M-Kingsville, with a music education degree.

He was a band director in public schools for four years before joining Music & Arts, the nation’s largest retailer of band and orchestra instruments. He currently services nine school districts in the Houston area.

The ensemble has provided him with the perfect outlet to enjoy music and camaraderie.

Williams said he enjoys playing swing music and counts the ensemble’s performance with former Tonight Show band leader Doc Severinsen, in 1986, to be among the highlights of his time with the ensemble.

“I love playing in the band,” Williams said. “We’ve got to play with a lot of professional artists from all over the place. I like the camaraderie of all of the musicians, and the band keeps getting better and better every year. It’s a fine group of folks and I consider them all my friends.”

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