Magnificent musician

LHS senior ready to tour Europe

Tyson Williams, 18, has been chosen to participate in a two-week tour of Europe, where he will perform and visit sites. Williams began playing the piano at age 8 and has moved on to performing and teaching music at various churches. Although Williams enjoys music, he aims to have a career in business and acting.

Eighteen-year-old Tyson Williams is a dreamer and a doer.

In May, his years of studying piano and organ will take him on a two-week tour of Europe, where he and three other young Kansas musicians will perform and visit the sites in London, Paris and points in-between.

“I will be the featured player on an 800-year-old pipe organ at the Cathedral of Notre Dame,” he said. “I’m not sure what I will play. I’ve done a rearrangement of ‘Art Thou Troubled,’ but (we’re) still discussing different literature.”

The tour is being sponsored by the Genesis Music Foundation, Topeka, where Williams studies with the foundation’s owner, Linda Smith. His parents, James and Dylyn Williams, will be going on the trip as chaperones.

Williams, a senior at Lawrence High School, took an interest in music at a young age. He was particularly fascinated with his grandmother’s piano and organ playing at church. His grandmother, Lawrence resident Irene Tyson, taught him to play by ear and read simple literature.

“I wouldn’t be playing if not for her,” he said. “We often play together. She has a piano and organ in her basement.”

By age 8, Williams was playing piano at church. By 10, he had taken up the organ and was playing for church choirs, the citywide Martin Luther King Jr. celebration and at weddings, workshops, banquets and recitals.

At 16, he became minister of music at St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church in North Lawrence, where he plays piano and organ, teaches music and co-directs five choirs. He is also the A.M.E. Church youth conference director for the Kansas-Nebraska Conference.

“Music is a sanctuary that’s always open for me. It’s the only place I can travel that I don’t have to pay airfare for,” he said. “I can feel music. It comes alive and the rest of the world is on its own. It sends me to a different place.”

While music brings him a mountain of joy, Williams knows that is not what he wants to do for a career. He wants to be an actor and a real estate financier and investor. And just like with his interest in music, Williams is taking steps to reach his goals.

Several fund-raising activities are being planned to help pay expenses for Tyson Williams’ trip to Europe next spring. Williams, a pianist and organist, will be the featured performer at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.If you are interested in making a donation, contact Linda Smith at the Genesis Music Foundation, (785) 232-9175, or Williams, 843-8079.

Williams has signed with the Hoffman International Model and Talent Agency in Kansas City, Mo., and plans to participate next summer in the American Model and Talent Convention in Orlando, Fla.

He is an intern at TeamOne Real Estate and is hoping to be re-elected president of Lawrence High School’s DECA club, an organization for students interested in business and marketing. He is co-manager of the Lions Dens, the convenience and book store at LHS, and vice president of Youth Entrepreneurs of Kansas.

He plans to attend Washburn University in Topeka, where he will major in business finance and real estate. He then wants to enroll at Thunderbird University, an international school of business management in Glendale, Ariz., to get his master’s and doctorate degrees in corporate business finance and global trade.

“I live for tomorrow. I live for the future,” Williams said. “You can only plan for the future. I am able to set goals and accomplish them.”