Behind the Uniform: Jonathan Myers

Looking for the inside scoop on the latest concert or musical here at Williams? Well, luckily, you have Jonathan Myers, the Williams College music department concert and event manager, to help you out. Myers has been instrumental not only in spreading the word about the hottest musical attractions here at the College but also in making music accessible to just about anyone and everyone within the purple bubble and beyond.

Reading between the ledger lines can be tricky; however, Myers harmoniously interacts with the College’s musicians and staff to infuse music into this campus’s vibrant culture. His goal is to share his passion for music with others through conversation and dialogue. After all, to quote Myers himself, “There’s nobody on the face of the planet who doesn’t like music.” Myers emphasized the importance of music as an almost sacred medium of transcendence. He highlighted music’s role as the great unifier, particularly when he stated its effect on an audience: “We may differ wildly in our opinions about any number of topics but for an hour or two, everyone is on the same page. It’s such a beautiful thing. So much of music is communal.”

On a communal note, Myers eloquently expressed his wishes for everyone attending last Friday’s jazz ensemble concert: “I hope that, for this performance or any performance, it brings them connection because, as human beings, what else is there? That’s what we seek. This is the way I see it. People seek connection, and the thing about music is that it connects you if you open up to it.” If this statement didn’t resonate with you, then you probably need to check the acoustics on those eardrums of yours.

Myers has always exuded passion for music, ever since he walked into his classroom with his own trombone and asked to join the school band in sixth grade. “From there on out, that was it for me. I was all in,” said Myers, describing the moment he became hooked on the tunes.

In terms of major influences, Myers was most inspired by his peers. Surrounded by a lot of people who shared his interests in music, Myers took to the discipline from a very young age. His brother was an accomplished musician, and his parents were incredibly supportive of his musical passion. Presumably, his affinity for music dates back to gestational time well spent in the womb, as Myers himself mulled, “it must have been prenatal.”

For Myers, with music, there’s never a flat or dull moment. When asked about the sensation he experiences when playing, Myers explained, “It’s like you are pure oxytocin. It’s a very blissful feeling.”

As a Dartmouth undergraduate, Myers majored in both music and German and later, went on to become a linguist. Ever the adventurer, Myers would go on to live in Egypt, England, Saudi Arabia and Germany. With these experiences and skills under his belt, Myers brings both worldliness and a linguistic flare to the milieu here at the College.

Myers was a professional trombone player, and he played for over 20 years in Germany.  Moving back from Germany to the United States, Myers wanted to settle somewhere close to his roots in Albany, so he opted for Vermont. According to Myers, they did it all backwards: “Most people have a job or a lead and they go somewhere. We thought, ‘Let’s move to Bennington, Vt.’ Bennington was cool, affordable, three hours from New York, Boston and Burlington, so we did that, kind of not knowing what we were going to do.” After moving to Bennington, Myers soon joined the music department here at the College. Interestingly, the first time Myers heard of the College was during his time overseas in Cairo, where he met many Williams students studying in one of the school’s year abroad programs.

Given his many successful aforementioned career paths, Myers provided a couple of tips for College students on happiness and success. “My advice is the classic disclaimer: Don’t listen to advice,” he said. “Follow your interests whatever they are. Even if they’re minor.”

In addition to his prolific career as a linguist, professor, businessman and musician, Myers also prides himself on his role as both devoted father and husband. “My life is very centered around my family at this point. It’s all about that,” he affirmed when talking about his personal life. An avid reader, Myers also asserted that he loves to read not only sheet music but also just about anything. In addition, Myers described his love for the outdoors, divulging several of his hobbies, which include skiing and hiking.

Myers, ever the purple cow enthusiast, gushed about the dynamic here at the College and why this environment feels so right to him: “The one thing I like about this place and the people here is that I know that every person that I meet – the students, the people I work with, every student that I talk to – I can learn from. Everybody here has something going on, and it’s interesting to find out what that is with every person. It’s sort of like being in a world of possibilities.”