The performances of Sherwin Williams takes listeners on intricate musical passage by way of his favorite instrument – the saxophone. There really is no one who is not awakened when Sherwin commands his instrument with authority and grace and leaves his audience breathless with his musical delivery.
“Music was the only thing that brought me true joy,” Williams says, speaking of finding his niche from the onset of his junior high years. Suggesting that society has not quite come to terms with areas such as music as being mainstream and marketable careers, Williams confirmed his determination to pursue a music degree from as early as high school. “My level of talent spoke for itself and so despite their initial feelings, most persons encouraged me and had their hopes set high for me to be successful,”he says.
The senior music major, who feels that music is a part of his destiny, seems to be living out his dream. Currently, he forms part of some of St. Thomas’ most popular bands, including The “VI Jazz Collective” and “Milo’s Kings,” and has played with almost all the bands on island at one point in time.
In 2017, at the age of 20, Williams established himself as the founder and leader of “Shut Down Band,” which brought together a group of UVI students. His unwavering love for music surpasses all other interests and as such even his activism in the church is centered around music. Williams is the music director of music ministries in the Bovoni Baptist Church in St. Thomas.
His stage experience extends beyond the shores of the Virgin Islands. He has wowed crowds in New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Florida, Atlanta, Tennessee, Maine, Puerto Rico and Jamaica. “I’ve had a lot of great experiences performing, so I don’t know if I could pick a favorite. However, one that stands out in my mind as a truly memorable experience, would be getting to sit in with the 21st Century Band at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in Jazz at the Lincoln Center in New York.
“More so than money, music is spiritually and emotionally beneficial,” says Williams. Performing is “more of a calling and a duty than a job.”Sherwin Williams
“I strongly disagree with those who suggest that there is no money in the music business,” says Dion Parson, chair of the University’s Music Department. “There are a number of rare opportunities in music that many don’t know exist; we just imagine that being a teacher is the only option. You can be a music therapist, producer, writer, director, engineer and so much more.”
“My inspiration comes from my family and my faith in God,” he says. “Family can be extended even to friends and mentors. Seeing the interaction of life around me, whether it be positive or negative, beautiful or ugly, happy or sad, it all inspires the music and musician I am in some way.”
Williams credits the altruistic guidance of UVI professors Dion Parson, Calvin Jones and Dionne Donadelle for their exemplary careers that make his dreams appear attainable. He also credits his parents, Shermena and St. Laurence Williams, for their unrelenting support as he pursues a non-traditional major.
“UVI’s Music Department has served not only the Virgin Islands, but the Caribbean region,” says Parson. “Eighty-five percent of the music teachers in the Virgin Islands are products of UVI’s Music Department.”
Among the many things that he is proud of, the department’s chair said, “I am elated by the progressive direction in which we are heading.” The Music Department is expected to launch a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in music, theatre and dance in Fall 2019. Other offerings within the department includes a Music Industry Certification program and piano classes for senior citizens.
The department boasts of an all-inclusive music program, which caters to the musical interests of all students. Staunch believers that “knowledge is of no use unless you put it into practice,” music majors are provided endless opportunities to bring their talents to the stage. The Jazz Ensemble, Concert Band, Concert Choir and Steel Pan Ensemble are the gateways through which UVI majors make their way to stardom.
A member of UVI’s Jazz Ensemble, Concert Band and Sax Ensemble, Sherwin Williams is already a household name in the Virgin Islands who believes that, “If you take care of the music, the music will take care of you.”