HenryFest founder named executive director of Yarmouth music center
YARMOUTH — The new executive director of 317 Main St. Community Music Center is a music enthusiast, mandolin student, parent of a music student, previous chairman of the board of directors and founder of the HenryFest summer musical gathering.
John Williams, a North Yarmouth resident, has been involved with 317 Main St. since its inception in 2004.
As executive director, Williams said he will be responsible for a little of everything. He said he is looking forward to expanding the current programs, creating more group lessons and building the music curriculum for all ages and abilities.
Williams will also be responsible for outreach and development, fundraising and promoting events.
"317 is a great environment where the people are happy and pleased to be here," he said. "I am very happy to part of it all."
Williams and his wife Holly started the HenryFest acoustic music festival in 2004 to thank friends, neighbors and family for their support during their son Ian's five-year battle with cancer. After Ian's death in 2003, the Williams held the back-yard party as a way to celebrate community in a time of great sadness.
This year the event attracted nearly 600 people. Proceeds go to a scholarship fund so that anyone interested in music lessons regardless of their financial situation can take part in the classes at 317 Main.
In addition to HenryFest, Williams said he wants to expand the Groundhog Day concert, which will take place at the North Yarmouth Grange Hall this year. It is the fourth annual concert, and is also a way to raise money for the scholarship fund.
"This event is a way to celebrate the teachers of 317 and all they do to promote and share their gift of music to others," he said.
Williams will act as the 317 Main St. executive director four days a week and will work at Woodard & Curran as a senior sustainability consultant one day a week.
"The people here are just amazing," he said. "All of what community can and should be is represented here and it is remarkable. The peace people feel here and the joy they experience is evident on their faces and in their smiles."