Duane Shields Davis, originally from Cleveland, is Instructor of Vocal Jazz in the School of Music at Western Michigan University. He has taught in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area since 1969 where he recently retired as Director of Vocal Music at Grand Rapids Community College. He also previously served on the WMU faculty as director of Gold Company and GC II.
Since 1986, Davis has served as Chorus Master for Opera Grand Rapids. He is the recipient of the 2003 ARTS Award, presented by the Arts Council of Greater Grand Rapids, and most recently he received the Maynard Klein Award for Choral Excellence, presented annually by the American Choral Directors Association of Michigan.
Under his direction, the Grand Rapids Community College vocal jazz ensemble, “Shades of Blue,” has performed for Archbishop Desmond Tutu, John Houseman, Coretta Scott King, David Letterman, Tony Bennett, and with Bobby McFerrin and Bob McGrath (“Sesame Street”). They have presented workshops and programs for the American Choral Directors Association and the March Festival of Holland; the International Association of Jazz Educators conventions in Dallas, Detroit, San Antonio, Washington, and Chicago; and collegiate showcases in Chicago, Nashville, and Orlando.
Davis has served as director for many all-state and district choral festivals in Arizona, California, Illinois, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Wisconsin as well as in Canada. The Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, Gold Company, and many other ensembles have premiered his compositions and arrangements.