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Inauguration Announcer Back for an Encore

Courtesy U.S. Navy Band
Williams, a baritone and concert moderator for the U.S. Navy Band, again lends his voice to the presidential inauguration.

Williams has been the announcer for such events as the opening of the Bill Clinton Presidential Library, where he introduced all of the living presidents, and at high-profile events for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, lending credence to his title as the Voice of the Navy.

“It always makes me smile when I’m introduced that way, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually introduced myself that way,” Williams said of the moniker.

The highlight — so far — of his announcing career came in 2009, when he was selected to be the announcer of the 56th Presidential Inauguration, where his voice was heard by the 1.5 million people who traveled to Washington, D.C., to witness the inauguration of the first African-American president.

“It was nerve-wracking,” Williams said of the experience. “It was one of those things where you bury yourself into it, and it wasn’t till after it was over that I kind of was able to reflect back on it and enjoy the experience.”

Williams was given the script for the ceremony about a week in advance, and he’s been studying and practicing the pronunciations to make sure he gets everything just right. “I want to make sure the weight of the importance of the ceremony is conveyed in the way people are presented,” Williams said. “So I want to come across with some gravitas but not come across as a WWF announcer.”

But most of all, Williams said, “I really don’t want to mispronounce somebody’s name.”

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