A drum roll for a role model
Louis Rossi Williamson was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, and joined the Canadian Armed Forces Music Branch in Halifax in 1966. Lou was a featured soloist throughout his 29-year career, performing for over 20 years with the Black Watch in Montreal, followed by one year at Borden and four years with the Naden Band in Victoria, BC.
In Mr. Williamson’s honour, MusicFest Canada awards a $1,000 cash scholarship for the most outstanding jazz rhythm section (non-drums) player at the festival. Learn more about Lou Williamson at https://louwilliamsonscholarshipfund.ca/
2021 AWARD RECIPIENT
- Mason Jeffery-Off (Ottawa, ON)
2018 AWARD RECIPIENT
- David Cheon (Kitchener, ON)
Louis Rossi Williamson 1947 – 2009
Lou Williamson was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, and joined the Canadian Armed Forces Music Branch in 1966. Throughout his 29-year career, Lou was a featured soloist, performing for over 20 years with the Black Watch in Montreal, followed by one year at the Armed Forces School of Music, Camp Borden and four years with the Naden Band of Maritime Forces Pacific.
During his career as a military musician, Lou created and taught the curriculum for the Bachelor of Arts Music Performance in Jazz Drum Set at McGill University. Lou was also the drum set instructor and rhythm section clinician at Concordia University. As a clinician, adjudicator and conductor, Lou appeared in numerous music festivals, workshops, clinics and seminars across Canada.
From 1996 to 2009, Lou also assumed the position of President of AFM Local 247 Victoria and Commanding Officer / Conductor of the 5th (BC) Field Regiment, RCA Band. In his career as a performer, mentor, leader Lou earned the respect and admiration of all, young and old.
A featured jazz drum set soloist, vibraphonist and percussionist, Lou’s spectacular drum solos never failed to elicit standing ovations from his audiences, regardless of age. Lou performed in concert with Bill Watrous, Paquito d’Riviera and Houston Person. While in Montreal, Lou also performed with Ranee Lee, Vic Vogel and Denny Christianson big bands. In Victoria, Lou worked with the Tom Vickery Trio, the Dixieland Express, the Chris Millington Big Band and the Chris Millington Quartet. Lou was also a featured soloist in the Vancouver Arts Club production, Swing! If you were producing a show and you needed a closer, Lou was the call.
Lou’s versatility as a percussionist was also featured with the Victoria Symphony, the Palm Court Light Orchestra, Pacific Opera and the Victoria Operatic Society. He delighted in the opportunity to step out from behind the drum kit and appear in concert as a vibraphone soloist and group leader. In this setting, Lou performed in a four-mallet style. Lou was always a wonderful addition to any ensemble as he brought to the stage versatility, strong musicianship and a flair for entertaining audiences. Lou was always the consummate professional. Chris and Eve Millington honour Lou’s memory as trustees of the Lou Williamson Scholarship Foundation.
Watch Lou Williamson’s featured solo in Sing-Sing-Sing with the Chris Millington Big Band