When she moved to Summerville in the 1970s, Edda Williams sought out opportunities to hear her favorite German composers; Johannes Brahms, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Johann Sebastian Bach, to name a few.
Born in Cologne, Germany, Williams grew up listening to classical music but after settling down in Summerville, she missed easy access to classical music concerts.
“I love good music..classical music by European composers..I like it all, I really do,” Williams said.
In 2003, Williams happened upon the Summerville Music Club- a group whose mission is to impact the lives of young musicians by providing summer study scholarships and to enrich the community by providing free monthly concerts with local musicians. She became a regular attendee to the monthly music programs which serve as a fundraiser for the club. Always eager to hear live music performed by talented, mostly local musicians, Williams was overjoyed to finally see an outlet for classical music in Summerville.
“After so many visits (to the monthly programs) they recognized my face and asked me to become a treasurer,” Williams said with a laugh.
For the next 15 years, Williams collected donations at each concert, mailed checks to colleges on behalf of the students who won scholarships, and personally called members to keep them up to date on scheduled performances. Williams said she was surprised to learn how the audition process worked for students seeking a summer study scholarships; an independent jury holds auditions to decide which three young musicians would receive a scholarship.
These auditions are often the first time that a young musician performs. The audition compels young musicians to overcome any initial stage fright, Williams said.
Williams kept up her duties as treasurer until recently when the process transitioned completely to a digital format. Her longtime friend and club president, Nancy Shows, also stepped down last year so Williams felt it was time to pass on the role to someone else.
“It was in the end, just the two of us,” Williams said in regard to the past few years with Shows and the club.
Williams will be recognized for her many years of dedication to the club during the upcoming performance, “A Victorian Christmas,” featuring soprano Laura Leigh Wilson-Owenby and pianist/organist Thomas Bailey at 7 p.m. on Dec. 10 in the Presbyterian Village Chapel. The free Christmas concert will feature little-known holiday repertoire and lyrics of the yuletide from the nineteenth century. To learn more about the Summerville Music Club, visit their website. https://www.summervillemusicclub.com