Kevin Williams’ message to Envision musicians: Don’t let fear drive you

Angela Cato - Jun 08, 2017

Tags: Music    Programs    Youth   
Horns musician Kevin Williams has performed with international celebrities that include Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson, Bruno Mars and Michael Jackson. He recently added a few more names to that list – Charlie Wilks, Rich Yamamoto, Luke Scheibmeir, Matt Mitchell, all budding musicians from Envision who are visually impaired. They may not be household names, but they are certainly superstars in Kevin’s book.
Kevin, a member of the Los Angeles-based Regiment Horns group, traveled to Wichita for Envision’s 4th annual The Beat Goes On music workshop on April 22. As the special guest instructor, Kevin was there to mentor participants and inspire them through his own story. Legally blind since the age of 4 and growing up in the inner city, Kevin knows a thing or two about overcoming challenges and finding confidence from within.
“I was scared to death that if people found out I couldn’t see, they’d kick me off the bandstand,” Kevin said. “After a while, I started losing that fear because I’m like, ‘I can play and my music is going to speak for itself’ – and it did.”
“The fear of me not being accepted was almost going to hold me back,” Kevin continued. “I wish I knew a long time ago that people would really help me out. What I thought was my weakness was also my biggest strength.”
With Kevin’s words energizing the crowd, the workshop’s 75 participants couldn’t help but take their music and personal expression to another level as they made their way around the INTRUST Bank Community Services Hall. Rotating stations that focused on performance, theory, composing, rhythm and drumming and other instruments were led by primary instructor Dave Herrick and station leaders Trevor Turla, Marla Weber, Charlie Wilks, Ashley Reichenborn, Terecia Miller, Regina Henderson, Audrey Thomas and Terese Goren. It’s worth noting, Trevor was the reason his friend Kevin chose to participate in The Beat Goes On, and we’re forever grateful for that connection.
Kevin, who frequently alternated between his flute and trombone to “jam out” with the group, gained an equal amount of inspiration from the people he met at Envision. In fact, he plans to come back next year – that is if he’s not on tour with Justin Timberlake or one of the many other performers who are competing for his time.
The Beat Goes On Workshop is open to all youth and adults who are blind or visually impaired. If you would like to get involved in the program, contact Support Services Director Bonnie Cochran at or 316-550-1510.