Glenn R. Williams Sr. was let in on a little secret along with hundreds of others at a recent Civitan Club of North Columbus concert in the Park of Roses.
At the Aug. 27 event, Williams was surprised by Civitan Club President Tom Daugherty with the International Club Honor Key for his many years of organizing the summer series of musical performances.
"They just called me up in front of the concert," a still-wowed Williams said Aug. 30 in the office of his insurance agency on North High Street. "There were 600 or 700 people there, and they thought it was pretty cool.
"It's a humbling experience to get an award like that."
According to the certificate Williams received at the concert, Civitan Clubs occasionally honor members "for their hard work and dedication."
"Glenn Williams has been a good Clintonville friend and neighbor his entire life," the document states. "If you ask him what he numbers among his greatest achievements in life, he might say, 'Raising a wonderful family in Clintonville' or 'Being a well-respected business owner in Clintonville.' The citizens of Clintonville would add, 'The Park of Roses concerts' to the list.
"Glenn has been the driving force behind the concert series, filling the summer nights in the park with music for 45 years."
Williams dated his love of music to the fifth grade, when he began taking trumpet lessons in the music department of Lazarus. He went on to join in the various bands at North High School and the Ohio State University marching band for three years before leaving school to work for a chemical company.
He made the career change to Nationwide Insurance in 1973.
"Music has always been near and dear to my heart," Williams said.
"Glenn is tireless, putting in countless hours booking some of the best bands and musicians central Columbus has to offer and raising funds to ensure the concerts continue to be free to the public," the award states. "Glenn, a talented musician in his own right, is passionate about music and music's ability to touch lives. If you live in Clintonville, chances are the music has touched your life at some point.
"You have Glenn Williams to thank for that."
The concert series already was well-established when Williams joined the Civitan Club; at that time, they were staged in an amphitheater at the north end of the Park of Roses.
He was part of the committee that helped bring the bandstand from Fort Hayes to the park in 1976, from which the performances have since been given.
"This may sound selfish, but I feel like I'm in a little control of the kind of music we have in Park of Roses," Williams said. "People can find different kinds of music downtown and in Goodale Park, heavy metal and such. We cater to large bands and large vocal groups, and many times they don't play anywhere else."
Williams said he has no plans to put down the reins anytime soon.
"I don't see me stopping in the foreseeable future," he said. "It's a lot of fun because you start in January and line up your schedule, and then to see all the people come out -- that's a real joy."
This year's concert series wraps up with a performance by the Clintonville Community Band at 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10.