If you ever wondered - “What was Roger Williams really like?” - Don’t be surprised when there still isn’t just one answer.
Roger Williams had many facets; Roger and music are synonymous, yes, but you just can’t say enough good things about him to this very day. His facets are shining out and shining in.
Those blessed to have been in Roger’s inner circle knew the gift of having the best friend, ever…he had a serious side spilling over with prideful things like loyalty, caring of family, impeccable ideals, love of country, living up to responsibilities, and being there for say, his granddaughter’s piano or dancing recital…he was a seeker and philosopher, but that twinkle in his eye was an effervescent myriad of mischief on the way to explosion, for he was a guy who loved good times…those in the know say he even had a secret love, and her name was a special brand of chocolate covered toffee!
Life as a young man was a monument to excellence with A pluses in school accompanied by superb piano studies at every education level…added to the usual hobbies of Boy Scouts and all-boy activities on the basketball court and in the boxing ring…to the unlimited boundaries of the Indian Guides at a camp up in Minnesota.
As a grown man, Roger’s spirit complemented many causes, including the thousands of young people he inspired and directed toward new beginnings… to his Marathons where he played all requests for fourteen hours at a time to focus on the importance of putting music back into the schools…and even though his accomplishments have been read into the Congressional Record, and included in various presidential diaries, the single proudest moment in Roger’s life was just after Pearl Harbor when he enlisted in the Navy, and 300 men of his Navy boot camp voted for him as their top man. It was a free election and he’d just won the boxing award. And then they chose him as their “Man of Warsman.” Here is the way Roger explained it: “Now, these were tough guys in the Navy. They had all kinds of tattoos, which was a really big thing at that time. But they voted for me. And I still have the certificate. It means so much.”
A melody unto himself, you’ll find Roger is a crowd pleaser, and a crowd mingler…he loved his fans, and he loved to know what songs they liked the best...he handled a raft of correspondence weekly, often writing his own personal notes…the son of a Lutheran minister who built the largest United Lutheran Church in the Midwest led Roger to become a member of the Crystal Cathedral where he was a regular performer.
To this very day, Roger inspires everyone and disappoints no one…you can play any melody from his gold or platinum albums, or see him on a video or on his own YouTube channel and remember from being there in person – but, to hear him once was to want to prolong the refrain, forever, because as soon as the moment ended, you’d find yourself wishing him back again.
Roger’s facets have shone on many, and as we individually listen to his CDs we realize that his gift of music will always be his very own light.