Duane Shields Davis
Jazz Voice, Western Michigan University
Duane Shields Davis, originally from Cleveland, recently retired as Director of Vocal Music at Grand Rapids Community College, after 39 years as a full-time teacher music educator. He continues to serve as Chorus Master for Opera Grand Rapids, a position he has held since 1986. Duane recently became the Instructor of Vocal Jazz at Western Michigan University.
Duane is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Legacy Award presented by the Grand Rapids Symphony and the Maynard Klein Award for Choral Excellence presented by the American Choral Directors Association of Michigan. His choral and vocal jazz ensembles have toured the U. S., Bahamas, Japan and Europe, and performed in New York’s Carnegie, Avery Fisher and Alice Tully Halls.
His community college vocal jazz ensemble, Shades of Blue, opened for Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Tony Bennett, Bob McGrath and served as a clinic group for Bobby McFerrin, Phil Mattson and others.
Duane has served a director of The Disney-Grammy All American College Singers at EPCOT for Walt Disney World, where the singers performed with and opened concerts for numerous music legends. He also had the pleasure of conducting the opening ceremonies for the Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom.
Duane has conducted all-state choirs in Arizona, California, Illinois, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Wisconsin. His compositions and arrangements have been premiered by the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra and Gold Company of Western Michigan University.
Duane served as guest clinician at the Riga, Lativia for the 5th International Rhythmic Music Festival RigasRitmi.Choral, The 7th World Symposium on Choral Music, in Kyoto, and the Tokyo Choral Directors Association. Duane has conducted at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fischer Hall, Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center Jazz. Duane recently served as the Director of Gold Company at Western Michigan University and this past summer lead the Gold Company Sextet on a tour of France as guest of the Polyfollia Music Festival.
This year Duane will adjudicate the New York City Jazz Festival at Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Ontario Choral Festival in Toronto, the Indiana All-State Jazz Choir and the Symphony with Soul with the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra.