Raymond Duane Davis

1945 -

Ray Davis , a flutist, conductor, and school administrator, has been a Seventh-day Adventist music educator for over forty years in five academies. For nearly thirty of those years he has served as an academy principal at two schools.

Ray was born and raised in Battle Creek, Michigan, one of three sons of Clifford E. and Leah Dunlap Davis. Both parents, who loved music and sang in the church choir, provided opportunities in music for all of their children. Ray took occasional piano lessons with his Aunt Freida Dunlap until age five, when he started taking them regularly from her. He recently wrote about his early experiences in music and his academy music experience:

My parents took my brothers and me to an Army band concert when I was about five or six. When asked which instrument we each wanted to play, I apparently responded "the director's stick."

When I was in seventh grade, Erich Bekowies began an elementary band at Battle Creek Academy. I started on tuba. Unfortunately, I could not take it home on the bus to practice and never became proficient. In ninth grade, Adell Haughey came to Battle Creek to begin a band program that was very successful. Since I could not practice tuba but wanted to be in the band, I began to take flute lessons and six weeks later was in the band.

The only criteria for selecting the flute were that the band needed flutes and I could take my flute on the bus. From early childhood I was interested in music and assumed I would learn any other instruments I wanted later. In my junior year the Battle Creek Tabernacle installed a pipe organ, and I switched from piano lessons to organ. My senior year in academy I played percussion after studying those instruments in the summer.

Following graduation from BCA in 1963 and enrolling at Andrews University, Ray decided during his freshman year to pursue music as a career. He completed a B.A. with a music major and behavioral science minor in 1967. Although he did not pursue a music education degree, he completed music education classes and did practice teaching in the spring of 1968. He recently wrote about that assignment and other formative experiences that prepared him to teach:

I was fortunate to be one of the first student teachers assigned away from the Andrews University campus area to other sites. I gained my student teaching under band director Dan Shultz at Adelphian Academy and also got to work with Carl Ashlock and the choir. My student teaching assignment was an extremely fortunate and formative experience - probably career changing.

I am especially grateful to have had their examples, as well as my academy teachers’. Piano teacher Freida Dunlap, Grace Hardy, and Tress Graichen were critical inspirations too. I was also fortunate to have great models in my college choir, band, and orchestra directors.

Davis began teaching music as the band director at his alma mater, BCA, in 1968, working with Erich Bekowies, who was directing the choir. The comprehensive program included bands from fifth through twelfth grades and a brass ensemble in both junior and senior high levels. He also taught government and sociology classes and, when Bekowies left, directed the choir. During this time he completed an M.A. at AU in 1970.

He left BCA in 1974 to do additional graduate work and a year later accepted leadership of the band and later also that of the choir at Adelphian Academy. During his four years there, he met and married Maureen Crunk. Davis left AA in 1979 to continue doctoral study at Western Michigan University, where he completed an Ed.D. in 1984. During this time he and his wife started their family, eventually having three daughters.

He led the band program at Ozark Academy from 1983 to 1985 and then became principal of Platte Valley Academy in Nebraska, where he served until 1989. During that time he directed the choir and also the handbell choir for one year.

In 1989 Davis became principal of Great Lakes Adventist Academy in Michigan, a position he has now held for a record number of years for that position at GLAA. He continues to play organ occasionally and, when needed, has directed the band on an interim basis.


Source: Information provided by Ray Davis, September 2011; personal knowledge.