Kingdom of the Sun Concert Band

Come Share the Music

Van Williams

A 5th generation Ocalean, Van Williams began playing flute, trumpet, saxophone, and clarinet in the Kingdom of the Sun’s own David Norman’s (percussion) 6th grade band class at Osceola Middle School. It was during this time that he attended his first KoS concert with his grandmother in 2006, and they have been fans ever since. After dabbling in as many instruments as he could get his hands on in middle school, the clarinet was chosen for him when he entered Forest High School, simply because there were only two other clarinet players in the program at the time. Looking back, he is very thankful that such a versatile instrument with a wide range of repertoire was chosen for him. During high school he pursued many interests, from the track team to the Latin club all while practicing during any spare moments between studying for his AP and dual-enrollment classes, sometimes practicing so much that his (non-musician) older brother and sisters would make him go out in the garage to play because he was too loud.

After graduating from Forest in 2013 (and winning the superlative “Most Likely to Never Leave Ocala”), Van followed in his grandfather’s, aunts’, father’s, cousins’, and sister’s footsteps up the road to the University of Florida in Gainesville with a major in Classical Studies focusing in Roman History and Latin Translation. Throughout his four years at UF, Van participated in the Gator Marching Band, where he immediately joined Kappa Kappa Psi Honorary Band Service Fraternity and then also served as section leader in the marching band for three years; Symphonic Band; Volleyball Pep Band; Concert Bands, where he got to play flute and even French horn; and the UF Clarinet Ensemble, where he learned a great deal about the more obscure members of the clarinet family and got to play the Basset horn and alto clarinet for four semesters, even in a professionally-recorded album, Christmas Clarinets (2017). It was his time in the Clarinet Studio that convinced him to pursue a minor in Clarinet Performance.

After graduating cum laude from UF in 2017, Van used the patience he learned from countless hours of Latin translation during his studies to begin an apprenticeship in instrument repair at Hoggetowne Music in Gainesville, Florida in the repair shop of Dave Hutchings, whom Van had met during a lecture in Clarinet Studio class. During his time as a repair technician, Van collaborated with other members of Gainesville’s community bands and formed the Gainesville Community Clarinet Choir, supplied with auxiliary instruments he himself had brought back from disrepair. The clarinet choir recently premiered an original work composed by KoS’s own Kay Hoff (bass clarinet), Scenes for Clarinet Choir (2021).

Van joined the Kingdom of the Sun Band in 2018 and is very appreciative to play in the band he grew up coming to see on the weekends with his grandmother. While still working in Gainesville, Van began serving on the band staff at Forest High School in 2018, and loves working with students as they hone their musical skills both on the marching field and concert stage. After leaving the instrument repair business and a brief stint as a substitute teacher, Van has settled back on his original goal of teaching Latin at his alma mater, and he will be restarting the Latin program at FHS this coming fall.