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[ARSCLIST] A Visit With Fred Williams

Pardon the cross posting, but I want to get the story out to Fred's
friends who inhabit one list and maybe not the other.  

Leah and I spent a great afternoon and evening in Philadelphia visiting
Fred Williams for five hours on Sunday.  Many of you know Fred
personally and know of his health problems, but I want to assure you
that although he is a bit shorter (pardon the very bad joke) his mind is
sharp and clear, and he is the same Fred that you have known for years. 
He is still writing articles and discographies, in fact there will be
two articles published in band journals in the coming months.  He is now
85 and said that he plans to live to be 107.

He was one of the subjects interviewed by Leah for her documentary, and
since Fred couldn't be in Washington to see it, we brought it to him. 
He said he loved seeing all the guys, sends a special hello to Joe
Salerno, and was very touched by the kind things that Kurt Nauck said
about him. And Kurt, he also appreciates the visits that you have made
to him.  Which brings up another point.  He wants to hear from his old
friends and talk records.  The best time to call is between 7 and 9 PM
Eastern.  I don't want to give out his phone number on an open posting,
but email me off-list and I'll give it to you.  We left him with a DVD
player so he can play CDs and DVDs.  He is in a very nice care facility
just five minutes from his house, so Barbara is there every day.  She
can receive mail and phone calls at the address and number listed in the
ARSC Directory, but they are not on email.

Those of you who saw the introduction Leah gave to her documentary at
ARSC remember that she showed some out-takes of our tour of Fred's
house, and mentioned that he will probably not be able to return to his
collection because his house is just too dangerous for him.  Well, that
is just partially true.  He surprised us by saying that Barbara has
reported that the house has risen several feet in recent months because
HE HAS SOLD HIS COLLECTION!!  Two large tractor trailers shipped it out
to Univ of Cal Santa Barbara!  I don't know how I missed hearing about
it -- hasn't it been announced?  Actually it is not the complete
collection.  They got his band cylinders and 78s, and maybe all of his
78s.  His band LPs are still there.  That is ironic because the scene
that Leah used to show the difficulties of moving thru his house -- Leah
had to hold onto the wall to pass thru -- was taken in the second floor
hallway where those band LPs still reside.  But the famous third floor
is empty, I believe, and there is more space in the basement and garage,
I believe.  (We need to get there to take some "after" pictures.)  So
the band LP collection is still for sale, and he also has 26 of his most
prized rarities that he hopes to eventually get big bucks for.

In separate threads on both lists, there have been discussions of what
to do with our collections.  On ARSCList Jack Palmer just mentioned the
sale of his specialty collection of Vernon Dalhart records, and said
that specialty collections have the best chance of being sold.  Well,
Fred's collection was a world famous military band collection, one of
the best if not the best in the world.  But he has had a heck of a time
getting it sold.  He had been trying for at least ten years, and it had
been discussed in past years on these lists.  Many of us have been
surprised at some of the institutions that should have been eager to get
this specialized collection that would have melded with their fields of
interest, which have not moved to take it.  Santa Barbara, of course,
mainly wanted the cylinders, but will now be able to offer access to a
military band collection that is not equalled by any institution in the
world.  I hope that we will hear of its plans.

I hope this has been good news to his many friends on these lists.  Fred
was a mainstay of the ARSC Conferences since 1972 (just one meeting less
that me) and we miss not having him (and his cigars) there in the last
few years.  And yes, he still has an occasional cigar -- they wheel him
outside, far, far, far, away from everyone else!!  He still is the same
old Fred.

Mike Biel  mbiel@xxxxxxxxx    

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