The Wilson Beacon

Beloved choir director Lori Williams to resign and pursue jazz career

Back to Article
Back to Article

Beloved choir director Lori Williams to resign and pursue jazz career

Courtesy of Lori Williams

Courtesy of Lori Williams

Courtesy of Lori Williams

Anna Dueholm

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






After 15 years of teaching and nurturing Wilson students, choir director Lori Williams has decided to leave Wilson next year. She plans to pursue her music career full-time.

Williams began working at Wilson in 2004. She was asked by then Wilson Assistant Principal Dr. Kenneth Dickerson to lead the choir at the graduation ceremony. That day, former Principal Dr. Tarason announced that Williams would be Wilson’s new full-time choir director. “That was a fun moment, especially since I hadn’t interviewed for the position,” she recalled. Williams already had 13 years of teaching experience under her belt at the time, having started her teaching career in Japan in 1991.

Outside of school, Williams is a professional jazz musician. Her recent album, “Out of the Box,” topped UK Soul Charts in September and was considered for a Grammy. Williams regularly performs throughout the DC area, around the country, and in Europe. Next year, Williams plans to focus on her new album and family. “My prayer is to pursue music full-time when I leave Wilson, and hopefully I’ll be successful in the jazz community,” she explained.

After one semester at Wilson, Williams began teaching choir. “I’ve enjoyed it ever since,” she exclaimed. She helps her students hone their vocals and prepares them for semi-annual concerts: the Holiday Splendor in December and the Spring Concert around March.

Her early days with the choir were some of Williams’ favorites. She fondly remembers one of their first trips: the Heritage Choir Festival trip to Philadelphia.“I had a very talented, lively bunch of students,” she explained.

Williams treats her choir as a family. “I come to the classroom knowing I’m a mom first,” she said. “I bring that approach to teaching, and I know I don’t take the place of people’s moms, but that’s just kinda my niche.” Her community-based approach is highly valued by students. “It’s a great feeling—being in a home environment and still being able to enjoy music,” Alum Carols Hood, class of 2015, said in a video commemorating Williams.

This familial atmosphere still holds strong today. “Ms. Williams treats all of her classes like a family,” junior Woodfen McLean said. “To her, we’re all her kids and she does everything she can to help us succeed.” Junior Sophia Kennedy agreed emphatically, explaining, “I don’t think I would’ve had the same experience if she weren’t here.”

Former Wilson substitute teacher Sharon Bell Mathis is a close family friend and has witnessed firsthand the passion Williams brings into the classroom. “She believes in the young people.”

A main source of Williams’ passion for teaching choir is the opportunity to witness student growth since students can take the class for all four years. “I try to empower a lot of my students to take the reins even if I’m not here,” she said. Her emphasis on growth has led to results. “She always pushed me and always saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself, which made me work even harder,” sophomore Avery Wright said.

Getting the chance to watch her students’ future is important for Williams. “Seeing my students excel beyond high school in any musical capacity is the best reward,” she said.

The loss of Williams’ presence will not go unnoticed. “Ms. Williams was a really, really big part of making my years at Wilson enjoyable,” Kennedy said, “I don’t think it’ll be the same if she isn’t here.” Sophomore Nikki Keating echoed these sentiments, “I’m really sad she’s going to be gone,” stressing,  “She was a really integral part of music and theater at Wilson.”

Unsurprisingly, the feelings are mutual. “I’ll miss working with my students in choir and observing their growth,” Williams said. For anyone interested in keeping up with Williams and her future professional accomplishments, her website is LoriJazz.com.

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • Beloved choir director Lori Williams to resign and pursue jazz career

    News

    DCPS terminates new School Without Walls admissions policy that promoted diversity

  • Beloved choir director Lori Williams to resign and pursue jazz career

    News

    Martin asks Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to speak at Wilson graduation ceremony

  • Beloved choir director Lori Williams to resign and pursue jazz career

    News

    House passes bill endorsing DC statehood

  • Beloved choir director Lori Williams to resign and pursue jazz career

    News

    Beefsteak joins Best Buy in Tenley exodus

  • Beloved choir director Lori Williams to resign and pursue jazz career

    News

    Wilson hosts international night

  • Beloved choir director Lori Williams to resign and pursue jazz career

    News

    Target replacing Best Buy in Tenleytown

  • Beloved choir director Lori Williams to resign and pursue jazz career

    News

    Wilson robotics team District championship qualification in contention after underperforming at tournament

  • Beloved choir director Lori Williams to resign and pursue jazz career

    News

    New Tenley Tuesday promotion provides restaurant discounts to students and staff

  • Beloved choir director Lori Williams to resign and pursue jazz career

    News

    PSAs featuring Wilson students to air nationally

  • Beloved choir director Lori Williams to resign and pursue jazz career

    News

    Latin teacher departs mid-year, ending program

  • Beloved choir director Lori Williams to resign and pursue jazz career

    News

    Wilson partners with Truth Initiative to combat juuling

  • News

    Mayor Bowser announces summer school improvement projects

  • Beloved choir director Lori Williams to resign and pursue jazz career

    News

    Acting Chancellor sits down with The Beacon

  • Beloved choir director Lori Williams to resign and pursue jazz career

    News

    Controversial legacy of Woodrow Wilson debated in name change forum

  • Beloved choir director Lori Williams to resign and pursue jazz career

    News

    BSU coordinates BHM celebration

  • News

    Mandated expenses undercut budget increase

  • Beloved choir director Lori Williams to resign and pursue jazz career

    News

    Anonymous payment saves mass media trip

  • Beloved choir director Lori Williams to resign and pursue jazz career

    News

    Lester Holt joins Wilson for assembly on fake news

  • Beloved choir director Lori Williams to resign and pursue jazz career

    News

    One Chavez school remains following recent closures

  • Beloved choir director Lori Williams to resign and pursue jazz career

    News

    Wawa still coming to Tenley despite delay

Navigate Right
The Student News Site of Woodrow Wilson Senior High School
Beloved choir director Lori Williams to resign and pursue jazz career