April 30, 2020 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Grand Rapids Community College is awarding Emeritus Faculty status to a man who has put his musical stamp on countless students as well as the West Michigan arts community.
Professor Duane Davis served as a faculty member in the Music Department for 26 years, working with students in the classroom and serving as GRCC’s director of choral and vocal activities. Under his tenure, the Shades of Blue vocal ensemble received national and international recognition, and the College Choir performed at the prestigious Carnegie Hall.
“Professor Davis served as a wonderful instructor on our campus for decades, but he also embraced the role of ambassador for GRCC and community colleges as a whole,” GRCC President Bill Pink said. “Every time his students performed across the country, those performances served to showcase the great students and instruction happening on our campus.”
Davis, who also taught at Northeast Middle and Creston High schools in Grand Rapids as well as Western Michigan and Indiana universities, shared his passion for music and teaching with the community. He was music director for the Circle Theater and Actors Theater and served as chorus master for Opera Grand Rapids for 31 years.
“Duane held his students to the highest of standards in every aspect of performance,” said Kevin Dobreff, professor and director of the Music Department. “Students enrolled in his classes because of his topic mastery, but primarily for his passion for teaching.”
Known nationally as a vocal jazz educator, conductor and arranger, Davis spends his “retirement” teaching through clinics, conducting at Carnegie Hall and other prestigious venues, and directing honors choirs throughout the United States.
Grand Rapids Community College offers learners of all ages opportunities to gain credits for degrees or transfer and in-demand career skills leading to rewarding careers. GRCC was established in 1914 – Michigan’s first community college -- and offers affordable classes on weekdays, evenings, Saturdays and online at locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.