Band Director Lawrence Williams Leaving McIntosh

Photo+by+Savannah+Hayes+Image+created+using+canva

Photo by Savannah Hayes Image created using canva

Savannah Hayes, News Editor

On Wed. March, 9, McIntosh Assistant Band director Lawrence Williams announced to all of his band classes that he would not be returning to MHS next fall semester. In an email sent by Barbara Baker, the McIntosh band director, she congratulated Williams on joining the Louisiana State University band program. He has gained the position as a TA (teaching assistant) at LSU to help him study conduction and has earned a full scholarship.
Williams said in regards to what drove him to apply to LSU, “I’ve known since middle school that I wanted to go to graduate school. The question was: when? Being originally from New Orleans, I would always see the LSU Tigers gear in the stores around town. I have memories as a child saying ‘One day I’m going to go to LSU…’ back then, I had no idea what I was saying but I believe I’ve always had a spot for LSU in my heart.”
In regards to his application process Williams said, “[It] was definitely a learning experience for me. I had to submit letters of recommendation, sample conducting videos, a Curriculum Vitae, and other materials. The best part of it was an event hosted by the LSU Bands Department called the Conductor’s Art. It’s a multi-day conducting and teaching workshop. During the event, I had an opportunity to conduct the LSU Wind Ensemble, LSU Symphonic Winds, and LSU Chamber Winds.”
When asked how he feels about moving from Peachtree City Williams said, “Looking for places to live can be stressful. This will also be the furthest I’ve ever been from my immediate family but I am excited to be able to spend more time with my family in the Baton Rouge area.”
Willams has been teaching for a total of five years and participated in band prior to starting his career in teaching. The school year of 2021-2022 is his second year teaching marching and concert bands at McIntosh. When asked about his accomplishments at MHS some he listed include creating a “Virtual Star-Spangled Banner” performance for the May 2020 VIrtual Graduation. He co-created a new McIntosh Band logo, the Marching Band received straight superior ratings in all competitions at “Superbowl of the South Contest” and the concert bands received straight superior ratings at their very first personally hosted Large Group Performance Evaluation (LGPE). All of these achievements were partially made possible by Williams’ efforts in the band.
Williams said, “Although there are many accomplishments we have achieved over the past few years, I would have to say the accomplishment I’m most proud of is the relationships I’ve built with the students here. My goal has been to share my passion for music and people through teaching. My favorite part about the job is the ‘normal days.’ Watching students become inspired through music is the reason I do what I do.”
When asked why he ended up making the decision to leave, Williams said, “Making the decision was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in a while. My decision to leave had a lot to do with timing. The opportunity to reconnect with my grandmother and other family in the Baton Rouge area and become a better teacher, conductor, musician, and overall person presented themselves at the same time. I was offered a full-ride scholarship as a Conducting Teaching Assistant which comes with free tuition and a stipend. That definitely helped my decision.”
Ava Cook, a freshman clarinetist and color guard member said, “I’m happy for Mr. Williams, it’s an amazing opportunity for him. As someone who has a class with him every day and who saw him so much outside of school for practices, it’s very sad seeing him leave so soon. The whole marching band family and the band family love him so much, and we’re so proud of what he will accomplish when he leaves. He has left a legacy here for our family.”
The end of Baker’s email mentions that though Williams will be missed, the band is very happy for the opportunity that he has been given. Williams said, “Teaching at MHS has shown me that students are capable of a lot more than we tend to give them credit for. I have learned that when challenged, students will rise to the occasion. Students at this school have inspired me to be the absolute best that I can be and I have gotten so much better because of it.”