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"March Out Like A Lamb"@Lily Pad on 3/29/2016; to benefit the KWMS Fund
"March Out Like A Lamb": a night to celebrate the legacy of Cambridge-based anti-apartheid activist, ace photographer, avid golfer & local music enthusiast Ken Williams.
By: Ken Williams Memorial Scholarship Fund, Inc.
The late great Ken Williams, a Cambridge-based socio/political activist, visual artist, golf enthusiast, and local music promoter, left huge shoes to fill when he passed in 1998. Not long after his funeral, Williams' daughter Lisette Williams, along with his widow Caroline Hunter, established the Ken Williams Memorial Scholarship Fund, Inc., which will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2018.
The upcoming "March Out Like A Lamb" musical gathering at the Lily Pad is one of several intimate events planned throughout Cambridge during the next two years leading up to 2018. "March Out Like A Lamb" provides an opportunity to reflect on the many aspects of Ken Williams legacy, including his tireless advocacy for local music makers.
In the 1970's, Ken Williams was a published photographer and political activist who, without a doubt, was dismissed from his job as a staff photographer for the Polaroid Corporation due to his opposition to the company's direct connection to the apartheid practices prevalent in South Africa.
Then for 20 years until his retirement in 1992, Williams worked as an audiovisual technician at the Cambridge Public Library, where he compiled an impressive AV lending library. A self-effacing man with a gentle smile and kind manner, Williams was also a loquacious fan of local jazz. He shared his enthusiasm with the public by becoming the producer of the free weekly "Sounds of Jazz" concerts held at the Library. For 10 years, he championed local musicians, providing forums for such local artists as Rebecca Parris, Stan Strickland, the Boston Jazz Orchestra, Russ Gershon, and many more.
Cambridge-based musician and educator Paul Combs had this to say in a 2012 interview with the Cambridge Historical Society:
"In the late eighties, oh, there was this wonderful man, Ken Williams. Ken Williams was the media director at the Cambridge Public Library. A fascinating man. He’s a whole interesting story, himself; a photographer, social activist, he was one of four people who started the boycott against the apartheid government. Big jazz fan. There was an auditorium as part of the Cambridge Public Library, and the auditorium was sort of in his purview, and he made that auditorium available to all of us jazz musicians. There wasn’t any money, but you could at least put something on a stage and invite people and play for them. Once I managed to get some grant money for something that I did there. Then he started, and he ran for ten years, a Cambridge jazz festival, which he held there at the library. Some indoors, some outdoors -- it would be like a week-long event, just all local people, but he made [a plan]. When he retired, there was a Chinese restaurant in Central Square called the Lai Lai, and it was a rather large restaurant. There’s been several other restaurants in that space over the years. He started the jazz program there. A regular jam session, Wednesday night jam session. I think it was Wednesday night. That was a great jam session, I made a lot of friends who are still friends to this day there."
Ken Williams died in his home in Cambridge on January 5, 1998 at age 68.
Boston-area bands The Saxyderms, Hornography and Dirty Water Brass Band were all formed after 1998. But the work of Ken Williams is legend and continues to be recognized as mammoth.
All proceeds from the "March Out Like A Lamb" evening will benefit the Ken Williams Memorial Scholarship Fund, Inc. Since his passing, Williams' daughter Lisette, along with his widow Caroline Hunter, have hosted several benefit golf tournaments that have awarded scholarships totaling well over $30,000 to college-bound high school seniors from Cambridge and Martha's Vineyard Island. The fund provides inspiration as well to all those embarking on their own life path.
Further background information:
The Ken Williams Memorial Scholarship Fund, Inc. was created in 1998 upon the passing of Ken Williams, an anti-Apartheid activist, humanitarian, noted photographer, jazz promoter, and avid golfer. To date, the fund has awarded well over $30,000 to high school seniors from Cambridge and Martha’s Vineyard. The Fund's original Board of Directors includes: Lisette Williams, President/Co-
Event links: www.facebook.com/
The Saxyderms www.saxyderms.com
Dirty Water Brass Band www.dirtywaterbrassband.com
Mary Curtin (on behalf of the KWMS Fund, Inc.)