This week, all of us left-footed riser guys, can get better acquainted with our twinkle-toed choreo-master Kendall Williams.
Kendall is a home-town guy, born in Seattle. Except for a four-year stint in the college town of Pullman, where Washington State University awarded him a BS in humanities in 1985, he has always lived in the Puget Sound area.
One of seven siblings (three brothers and three sisters), Kendall was involved in music from an early age. Singing in church got the music going for him. By fourth grade he had taken up the clarinet and in junior and senior high school, he added the alto and baritone sax. He not only played in the Mountlake Terrace High School jazz band, he also sang in their jazz choir. Well now that explains some things, doesn’t it?
But perhaps the best explanation for his fancy moves is his two-year role as “Butch the Cougar.” Butch is the Washington State Cougar’s mascot, responsible for keeping the crowds entertained and “in the game,” especially in those *rare* (Kendall made me say that) moments when the Cougar teams themselves failed to do that. I asked him how you learn to do something like that and he said “I just sort of made it up as I went along. Kinda fun,” he admitted, “to be able to make a fool of yourself and nobody knows who you are.”
After two seasons “in the suit,” the college tradition was to reveal Butch’s real persona at half-time of the final basketball game of the season. With the Cougar head off and standing at center-court, Kendall received a standing ovation from 10,000 very entertained Butch fans. Wow, hard to top that experience.
By the time he graduated from WSU and returned to the Seattle area, Kendall had been out of the music scene too long, he thought. By this time a sister and his mother, were well established in the Sweet Adeline’s. He had been favorably impressed when the Lake Washington Skippers sang on a joint show with his mom’s Jet Cities Chorus, so he was familiar with the barbershop style. He choose to affiliate with the Seattle Seachordsmen. That was 1986, his first year out of college.
That “out of college” status apparently didn’t sit well with him. By 1987, Kendall began what turned out to be nearly three more years of schooling, earning a Master’s of Architecture degree from the University of Washington, when it was all over. (No, he never wore a dog suit, that I know of.) During that schooling he kept his job as a Night SortSupervisor at a local UPS facility, but it did not leave much time to get involved in barbershop chapter leadership or service. But that came later, as you’ll soon see.
In 1990, with school now behind him, Kendall got a (day) job as a “junior architect” at Streeter & Associates Architecture where he remained for fourteen years. For the last seven years he has been one of the Costco Project Managers at MulvannyG2 Architecture, working Costco’s remodeling and new building projects on the east coast and Canada.
In 1989 he moved his BHS membership from Seattle to the Skippers and sang in his first quartet, the Rain City 4; and in 91 to Northwest Sound and singing in his second quartet, the Travelling Companions. He was finally able to take on more responsibility in chapter leadership by this time.
Now this is where I usually list two or three notable things that our more senior guys have done in the chapter over the years. You know the drill: Show Chairman one year, Chapter Board a couple of times, that sort of thing. With Kendall, space on the page becomes a problem. Because I asked, he modestly began to list things he has done in the chapter, the district, and the society at the national level.
I soon had to stop him and suggest a different approach: “Why don’t I just list what you haven’t done?” I said, “I think that would be easier.” I mean really, it is rather astonishing:
Presentation Team, Show Committee, Show Chair multiple times, Music Committee, Chapter Bulletin Editor, Chapter President, Division II Events Coordinator, District Convention Chairman, District Vice President of Music and Performance, District Vice President of Contest and Judging, District Executive Vice President, District President (two years), Society District President’s Council Chairman, Society Membership Committee, 2002 Portland International Convention Team, Standing Ovation Certified Trainer and Reviewer, Outstanding in Front Certified Trainer, Chapter Counselor, Chapter Board Award recipient, Chapter President’s Award recipient, Chapter Barbershopper of the Year, and Evergreen District Barbershopper of the Year.
See what I mean?
But for me, I like the fact that Kendall is tall. From my position, somewhere up back in the bass section I can see him, steady and confident there in the front row and I know I’ll always make the correct move at the correct time. It’s simple: I just do what Kendall’s doing.
Hmmm…given the level of service, dedication, preparedness and all that he brings to Northwest Sound, that’s not a bad strategy for the whole chorus: Just do what Kendall’s doing.