Totally in tune: we met at King’s

Justin and Katherine's wedding

The grand atmosphere of King’s and the intoxicating London scene clearly inspires romance, since so many of our alumni have met their spouses whilst at university. Forget Tinder: King’s is the place to meet your match!

Here we provide you with a good sprinkling of romance in the form of King’s alumni love stories. Read on to find out Justin and Katherine Williams’ story (pictured above).

Striking a chord

While studying for their exams and performing in the pit of King’s Musical Theatre productions such as Anything Goes, Justin Williams(Mmus Music, 2005) and Katherine Williams (née Lewis) (Music, 2007) clearly felt that they were in tune with one other.

Now married, Justin and Katherine Williams were both in the orchestra pit together before they actually met for the first time through the University of London Big Band. Some initial differences – Justin was an MA student from the United States, while Katherine was British and in her first year – meant that they took a while to meet each other.

'For me, there was an instant spark,' says Justin. 'She looked pretty and had a pretty Selmer Mark 6 tenor saxophone.' So, Justin liked the look of Katherine and also her taste in instruments. Luckily, they also both loved jazz, and talking to each other about anything and everything.

An international alliance

Katherine says, 'We soon realised that we’d had many similar experiences, but had different perspectives on them due to national and cultural differences.'

Justin reminisces, 'The first date was Cubana on Waterloo Road on Stamford Street Apartments, where I lived,' – which is a place that many other students and alumni will also fondly remember. 'I’m from the US, and we take girls out to dinner, so I think I impressed her with that.'

It’s not just their shared passion for music and Justin’s gentlemanly ways that makes them such a close couple. 'She ate my olives since I don’t like them, so it was a strategic relationship from the start.'

'We loved to walk along the South Bank and go to gigs at the Royal Festival Hall,' adds Katherine. 'I have really good memories of some epic student balls.'

As if Cubana on Stamford Street and the South Bank weren’t iconic enough locations to form the backdrop of their relationship, Justin chose to propose to Katherine while they were riding the London Eye.

'He was exceedingly anxious about getting halfway around the cycle before proposing,' remembers Katherine.

'Luckily she said yes,' adds Justin, 'not just because it would be embarrassing for me, but for the six German tourists sharing the pod with us!'

Hitting the high notes

It was also Katherine’s birthday, so an evening of drinks with their close friends later on quickly turned into a riotous and impromptu engagement party. They set the date for 4th July 2009, because they found it ironic (since that is Independence Day in the U.S.), and also due to the fact that it fell on a Saturday, so more people would be able to make it.

'The wedding was at St Peter’s Church in Wolverhampton, which was the same church that my parents got married in, and my paternal grandparents before them,' says Katherine. Their wedding carried on some old traditions while also becoming something completely their own. Justin and Katherine then honeymooned in New York, and also made sure to host a second wedding reception in California, to include the rest of Justin’s family.

After King’s, Justin and Katherine both went to Nottingham University for more postgraduate study, and they are now both lecturers in music (Justin at Bristol University and Katherine at the University of Plymouth). Justin has written a book on hip-hop called Rhymin’ and Stealin’, while Katherine is finishing her own book on Rufus Wainright. We thank them for allowing us to share this note about them.

>> Read more alumni ‘We Met at King’s’ stories.

 Article posted: February, 2015