(by Roving Reporting Marcia)
This is the second in a series of articles designed to help us get to know our very talented musicians. This month I got to know pianist Laura Williams. I had breakfast with Laura, her husband Loren (yes, Laura and Loren), and their 17 month old son Max. Laura told me she comes from a very musical family, who totally supported her interest in learning to play the piano 27 years ago. Her parents are both musical (they sing). Turns out, her grandparents paid for her piano lessons because of their love of music. There are other professional pianists in her family including aunts who love and play music.
Like her parents, Laura is a singer, but she also dabbles with the viola. I knew Laura is a teacher but I found out at our breakfast that she teaches music and the choir at Mira Mesa High School. “I’ve been teaching for 10 years, the last 5 of which have been at Mira Mesa.” I asked her about her education and Laura told me, “I have a BA in Musical Education from Fresno State. I also have a Masters degree in Music from Colorado State.” She and her husband met while in college at Fresno State. They moved to San Diego from the Fresno area in 2005.
How did she find out about PB UMC and how long has she been one of our pianists? “How I got connected to PB UMC is a long story. Back in 2008, my husband was playing flute in concert band at Grossmont College (and he still does!), and I came in when a pianist was needed to play a few pieces. The concert band is directed by Russ Sperling, who directs the orchestra/band accompaniment for PB UMC Christmas musicals. When PB UMC needed a pianist, Russ gave Ron Jessee my name, and later that year, I joined the “brand new” rotating roster of pianists — I’m the only one left of the original four.”
When I asked her where, besides PB UMC, she plays the piano, she told me “I occasionally play for the Presbyterian Church in El Cajon, and still fill-in for the Grossmont College Concert Band.”
I asked Laura if she had anything else she’d like to share with us, and she answered, “An interesting fact is that I’ve been playing piano for churches since I was 12 years old, when I started playing at my family’s Southern Baptist church in the Central Valley. I was the fulltime pianist there for nine years, and then played at a Covenant church for three years (all before I even moved to San Diego). I love PB UMC and I also enjoy the flexibility of playing just once a month! Thank you to Ron Jessee for dreaming up this great system!”
As I said, I really enjoyed getting to know Laura, and I hope you did, too. I know we all look forward to enjoying her piano playing at future church services. She is certainly one of our very talented musicians!