Mr. Michael Davis, Class of 1967, Speaking to Students About Composing the Chopticon Alma Mater
Mr. Michael Davis, Chopticon Class of 1967 and retired U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sergeant, during his presentation to the Academy of Visual and Performing Arts and other music students on October 27. Mr. Davis composed the music for Chopticon's Alma Mater when he was a sophomore at Margaret Brent High School. He said he always loved to compose music so he approached his band teacher about composing an alma mater for the new Chopticon High School which would open in 1965. With encouragement from his band teacher, he composed the music and classmates Miriam Grieg, Julia Wagner, Rosemary Ripple, and Walter Davidson contributed the lyrics. The new alma mater was adopted by the Chopticon student body during the 1965-67 school year.
Mr. Davis earned his college degree and then he applied to and was accepted into the U.S. Air Force Band. He served as chief arranger, music production superintendent, and band manager during his military career from 1971-2001. He had opportunities to travel but also collaborated with some well-known artists including Henry Mancini, Fred Rogers, Tony Bennett, Doc Severinson, and Roy Clark. He continues to compose and arrange music and he said his one regret was that as a instrumentalist in middle and high school band he did not practice enough. Mr. Davis has a distinguished list of credits for arranging and composing music.
Mr. Davis speaks with AFJROTC Cadet Robert Konen after the presentation. Robert is also interested in pursuing a career in music.
The Chopticon Peace Pipers performing the Alma Mater for Mr. Davis.
Mr. Davis showing students an early copy of the Alma Mater.
Michael Davis is a free-lance composer-arranger with more than 40 years of professional experience writing for nearly every musical ensemble, in nearly every musical style. He has created special arrangements and worked closely with some of the most prominent musicians of our time, including Henry Mancini, “Doc” Severinsen, Helen Reddy, Roy Clark, Lee Greenwood, Renée Fleming, The Canadian Brass, Keiko Matsui, and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, to name but a few. A Maryland resident since childhood, he attended the University of Maryland, where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree with high honors, majoring in composition. As a student, Mr. Davis studied with Morton Subotnick, Richard Rodney Bennett, and Lawrence Moss.
After completing his undergraduate studies, he spent the next 30 years of his career as a member of one of the world’s most prestigious musical organizations, The United States Air Force Band in Washington, D.C., where he served as Staff Arranger, Chief Arranger, Music Production Superintendent, and Band Manager. During this time, Mr. Davis was responsible for many of The USAF Band’s most popular and successful musical presentations, including several large-scale suites/medleys that incorporated narrators, actors, dancers, video reinforcement, and diverse musical elements. Other similar works include “American Parade” – a forty minute sampling of American music that was written for The USAF Band’s 1987 tour of the People’s Republic of China; “Broadway’s Golden Years” – a thirty minute collection of show tunes from 1943 – 1966; and “We Remember …” – a two hour multimedia tribute to the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II that was presented at both the Kennedy Center and Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.