George Williams Music Legacy
George Mitchell Williams was a young musician of just over 30 years of age when he accepted the call in 1967 to serve as the Organist/Music Director of Northfield Community Church.
The sanctuary of the growing north shore congregation had been built seven years earlier but lacked the sort of instrument that might entice a young person of talent to come all the way to the northern suburbs from his home on the far south side of Chicago.
A vision was cast, along with a promise to assist and support Mr. Williams in the selection of a new pipe organ and in building congregation's music program. While the discovery and design phases went fairly quickly, there was a two year waiting period before construction could begin. By 1973, the Schlicker organ was in place. Before a note was played on the new instrument, a musical legacy was already in the making.
"George," as both young and old referred to him, carried his musical passion with dignity and a kind of subdued, but contagious, joy. Soon after George arrived, he started a children's choir, a handbell choir and a variety of musical offerings at the church. A number of young people mentored by George have gone on to become outstanding musicians in their own right.
George's deft touch extended far beyond Northfield Community Church and included a 34 year tenure teaching at the City Colleges of Chicago, serving as a Trustee at the Music Institute of Chicago, working as a classical music critic for the Chicago Crusader, being a member and dean of the North Shore Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and serving as a conductor, organist and performer for a variety of venues.
The legacy built over George's 42 years of music ministry at NCC continues and is in good hands under the leadership of Organist/Music Director James Brian Smith.
"We neither walk in the footsteps of those who have gone before us nor do we strive to fill their shoes, rather we stand on their tall and broad shoulders, reaching higher and higher because of them."
AN ONGOING LEGACY
The Williams Fine Arts Fund
This fund exists to continue to promote the musical arts at Northfield Community Church. Since its inception in 2009, a number of vocal and instrumental recitals have been sponsored by this fund. In addition, choruses, ensembles and choirs from various parts of the United States and Europe have performed at NCC.
The Williams Organ Scholarship at the Music Institute of Chicago
On the occasion of his fortieth anniversary in 2007, the church raised funds that established an organ scholarship at the Music Institute of Chicago where Mr. Williams was a trustee.
Williams Organ Scholarship Recipients:
2010 Katie Minion
2011-16 Bart Upart
2011-12 Laura Kempa
2011-12 Rae-Myra Hilliard
2014 Rudolph Gartner
2014-16 Suyoun Lee
2016-17 Susan Chappell