Sac State vocal jazz director performs national anthem at inauguration


Photo courtesy of Gaw Vang Williams

Gaw Vang Williams sings the National Anthem at Governor Gavin Newsom’s inauguration in Sacramento, California on Jan. 7. Williams is the vocal jazz director for the Sac State School of Music.

Storm Ray, news editor

Gaw Vang Williams, director of vocal jazz at Sacramento State, sang the national anthem at Governor Gavin Newsom’s inauguration Monday.

Williams said she received a text Dec. 14 from her friend Jason Jong, an arts program specialist for the California Arts Council, asking for a recording of her singing the national anthem.

“So I pulled out my phone and sang quickly and sent it in a voice memo,” Williams said.

A few weeks later she received a call inviting her to sing at the inauguration.

Williams said that her feelings of nervousness only took hold before her performance, but once she got on stage, she felt more at ease.

“I talk to myself how I would talk to my students about any performance,” Williams said. “You make it about the song, and you make it about the event and the purpose of it.”

Williams has been the director of vocal jazz at Sac State since 2014 and is an alumna of the university.

“I’m just glad to represent, again, Sac State, but just to have Sac State be part of the program or just the name itself be part of the program, I’m glad I could represent in that way,” Williams said.