What it takes

Posted: May 1st, 2015 | Civic Organist News, Columnists, Featured | 4 Comments

By Dr.Carol Williams | Civic Organist News

I sit at my comfortable desk in my beautiful home on my wonderful ranch with all the conveniences that anyone could ask for in life. I sit here ready to prepare a musical program for a 12-hour concert I will perform. I am also in thought about what to write for this month’s article, which will be about that benefit concert for our returning injured troops and first responders and then, I realize that courage has a lot to do with all these thoughts.

Courage comes in many shapes, sizes and forms. It takes courage for me to think I can perform for 12 hours straight and yet, that same courage flows over a young person’s body, empowering them to walk with a weapon through the gates of hell to protect what is just.

What is this thing? Somehow courage enables us. Does it make us superhuman?

OR Carol and the guysweb

Dr. Carol Williams is flanked by members of the Challenged Athlete Foundation
(Courtesy Carol Williams)

When I was a student performing for competitions, I would feel morbidly ill before every event; totally sick to my stomach. My nerves would run havoc on me until I sat down at the keyboards. At that moment sitting at the organ, my focus moved to my task and a calm would came over me. Then my performance would begin. Was that courage that enabled me walk on stage?

My husband was in the Special Forces during Desert Storm. He describes courage during battle like this: “Courage comes when you feel like you just walked into a wall of terror and fear suddenly sweeps over your entire body, making every nerve violently vibrate almost out of control. Then just as quickly as it starts its effect, it dissipates with courage.”

Courage is simply a pure thought of doing what is right. It makes you feel invincible. Some troops find it with the help of their God, some find it simply with the knowledge of doing what is right; the knowledge that they are protecting the comforts of liberty here at home and in the free world. First responders have it when they run into a burning building, or when they run towards violent danger to protect lives.

Like some kind of chemical hormone that the body produces, courage gives people tremendous strength like a superpower feeling. We all produce certain amounts of courage everyday, each to our own capability. We all have our fears and they are all legitimate and equally scary to each of us on our own journey in life. We overcome our fears, doubts and the unknown with this same courage.

On May 24, I will be addressing the special courage it takes to open your eyes in a hospital bed and see that you no longer have the body you were born with.

That Sunday, I will be performing a 12-hour benefit concert to raise money for the Challenged Athlete Foundation’s “Operation Rebound,” to help these injured returning troops and first responders, men and women who wake up to this new reality and yet bring courage to embrace their new life.

We all sit in our own comfortable place, perhaps reading this article, with all the conveniences around us in these United States. Only now, I hope you will have a deeper understanding of what this independence is worth.

I can tell you that the payment for this liberty and freedom is made possible by courage.

Please visit the Spreckels Organ Pavilion Sunday, May 24, to enjoy 12 hours of music, meet and talk with people who care, and donate, OR go to my website Click on the military dog tag to donate online. Have the courage to help.

—Civic Organist Carol Williams is proud to serve as an ambassador of San Diego’s arts and culture arena. Through her concert performances at home and abroad, Carol offers a fresh take on the classical organ concert. She is committed to illuminating San Diego’s colorful romance with the “King of Instruments,” always seeking to bring the organ to new audiences. For more information visit


  1. Robert Plimpton says:

    That’s a very moving article, Carol. Good luck with the preparations. I will definitely contribute again this year.

  2. Martha Jane Weaver says:

    Thanks so much for inviting me again this year. I’m eagerly looking forward to it.

  3. Peggy Yuile says:

    Wonderful article Carol. Members of The House of Scotland Pipe Band, Balboa Park, are honored to join you on stage once again to help support Operation Rebound.

  4. […] Operation Rebound, a module ancillary troops crew and veterans with earthy challenges. She explains how she’s prepping for this Sunday’s mega-concert in San Diego Downtown […]

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