James Arthur Williams

College of Arts and Sciences: Music

  • Location: CPC 482
  • Phone: 937-229-3936

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Over the past forty years, James Arthur Williams has made extensive and impressive contributions to choral and vocal music as a conductor and vocal instructor. His students are teaching at universities and performing all over the world. He was educated at Allen University, University of Illinois, Columbia University and Ohio State University. Alma College awarded him the Doctor of Letters, honoris causa. In 1974 he spent six weeks studying in Poland as a member of a select team of eighteen Alabama professors. In 1994 Alabama Public Television produced a documentary on him entitled "Lift Every Voice." For twenty-five years, he was chairman of the Department of Fine Arts, vocal instructor and conductor of the internationally acclaimed choir at Stillman College. In 1994, he became a professor of vocal music and the choral director at Wilberforce University. The Wilberforce choir appeared on the "Today Show" and recorded with the late Ray Charles. In February 1999, the Wilberforce Choir was invited to tour Egypt for ten days and received an unprecedented encore invitation from the US Embassy to return for a July Fourth performance at the Cairo Opera House. He is listed in Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities (1960); Who's Who Among Black Americans; The World's Who's Who of Musicians; and Who's Who in the South and Southwest.

Faculty Perspective

I firmly believe that every human being who is willing to practice and work hard can sing the greatest music ever composed. My greatest joy is hearing and observing singers develop and mature.


  • M. S. in Music Education, University of Illinois

Research Interests

  • Vocal techniques in singing spirituals and art songs