Bernie Williams: From center field to center stage
NEWTON — Former Yankees All-Star and touring musician Bernie Williams will perform at the Newton Theatre on Saturday, June 14.As a child in Puerto Rico, Bernie Williams discovered two loves, baseball and music. The young student-athlete excelled in both pursuits, attending Escuela Libre de Musica and becoming one of the most noted young athletes on the island.He was signed by the New York Yankees in 1987, and after working his way through the farm system, the switch-hitting Williams made his Major League debut with the Yankees on July 7, 1991.In his 16-years patrolling centerfield, Williams was a four-time World Series Champion and a five-time All Star. Williams has more post-season RBIs to his credit than any other player in Major-league history.His resume also boasts six American League pennants, and numerous other awards. Williams is among the Yankees’ all-time leaders in every major batting category, his performance statistics stand alongside such legends as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio.Throughout his years in baseball, Williams’ passion for music never waned. The sound of his guitar would often be heard emanating from the Yankees clubhouse. In 2003 Williams released his first album, "The Journey Within," a fusion of jazz, rock and Latin rhythms. It was met with strong critical praise and instant chart success, reaching number three on Billboard’s “Contemporary Jazz Chart.”Williams raised his musical game even further in 2009, with the release of his second album, "Moving Forward." Featuring appearances by Bruce Springsteen, Jon Secada and Dave Koz, the album debuted as Billboard’s number two Contemporary Jazz album, and held that chart position for five straight weeks, creating two Billboard number one singles. Moving Forward was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Album.Williams also authored his first book, "Rhythms of the Game: The Link Between Music and Athletic Performance" by Hal Leonard Books in July 2011, in which he examines the symbiotic relationship between musical artistry and athletic performance through the eyes of a man who has mastered both.Williams has a long history of service to the community. In 1997, he took over as the New York Yankees representative to the Children Health Fund, which provides health care for under-privileged and homeless children. He donated and raised money for this organization with each home run he hit.Williams is also a staunch advocate for arts and music education, serving as a spokesperson for the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation, and has lobbied on Capitol Hill to our nation’s leaders in Congress to ensure arts and music remain a vital part of a child’s education.Williams also serves the Hillside Food Outreach as an Honorary Board Member. His commitment to feed the hungry is evidenced by his financial support of the Outreach’s mission and, each year lends his celebrity status by hosting its annual Fundraising Benefit.Tickets for Bernie Williams are $69 for premium seating, $59 for orchestra and $49 for balcony. Purchase tickets by visiting www.thenewtontheatre.com or contact the box office at 973-383-3700.The historic Newton Theatre, located at 234 Spring Street in Newton, N.J.