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US and Canadian Open Mikes - by musicians, for musicians

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Nancy Williams has a four-and-a-half octave range and sings a wide variety of music. Her favorite genres are big band, showtunes, movie themes, and Disney music.

Nancy was born in New Orleans to a father who played accordion and piano but could pick up any instrument and play it by ear. Both her parents dabbled in acting, and her maternal grandmother received an award as a teenager for being the best Shakespearean actress in New Orleans---a discovery that surprised Nancy's family, since she "never struck us as the type who wanted to be up on stage."

Nancy began singing at the age of 3 and joined the church choir at 8. Her chief musical influences were Jeanette MacDonald and Julie Andrews. Nancy sang in the sixth-grade chorus at W.C.C. Claiborne Elementary School and was in the opera club at Capdau Junior High. She performed with the Glee Club at Riverdale High School. Having begun private voice studies at age sixteen, Nancy appeared in My Fair Lady and other New Orleans Recreation Department musicals from age eighteen and performed musical theater with various churches.

She performed with NORD at nursing homes and sang for Rainbow and Eastern Star installations. Nancy was consistently cast as Gabriel in the Christmas pageant at Grace Episcopal Church because she could hit the high note on "Angels We Have Heard on High." Nancy sang "Oh, Holy Night" and Gounod's "Ave Maria" in a Christmas video that was sent to the troops serving in Operation Desert Storm. In 1986, she was a semifinalist on Star Search singing Gershwin's "Summertime." In 1992, Nancy sang "Be My Love" at her own wedding. She and her husband David were married at St. Luke's Methodist Church by a friend who had appeared in musical productions with Nancy.

Nancy moved to Rockport, Massachusetts, in 1992 with her husband, a former sculptor and the son of Thomas Williams, one of the architects of the Pentagon. She has sung with the Cape Ann Symphony Chorus and the Rockport Chorus (now Chorus North Shore). She has appeared with the Annisquam Village Players in Oliver!, My Fair Lady, Carousel, The Music Man, and The King and I (when she received a standing ovation for her portrayal of Lady Thiang and her rendition of "Something Wonderful"), acted in The Man Who Came to Dinner and J.B. for Nan Webber's Theater in the Pines, and performed in musical revues with the Neverland Theater in Hamilton, under the direction of Andy Diskes.

"One of the things that impressed me the most is that he took suggestions from anybody about improving the show," Nancy says of Diskes. "He had an entire file of my suggestions and he took a lot of them too." She also played Mrs. Cratchit in Scrooge and Marley, Israel Horovitz's adaptation of A Christmas Carol, at the Gloucester Stage Company in 1994.

Nancy currently sings in the choir at Trinity Congregational Church, Gloucester, performs once a month at the open mike in the King Hooper Caf