UA Journey

Charles W. Davis

Charles W. Davis is a well-known musician and teacher. Wherever he has lived, he's added a new note to the musical atmosphere.

Born July 26, 1915 in Buffalo Center, Iowa, he began his career there where as a fourth grader he was recruited to give music lessons to the first grade class. As a young teacher, shortly after graduating from the University of Iowa, he organized the first high school choir in Knoxville, Iowa. The next year that novice choir qualified for the National Music Contest.

At his next teaching position, he was the choral teacher for the high school in Council Bluff, Iowa. Two years later, World War II interupted his teaching. The Army called, and Davis served in Europe. When he retured to Council Bluff as a captain -- the high school's vocal music program had all but vanished.

That didn't deter the returning teacher. The school's football team was in one of Davis' study halls. They were persuaded to join the choir and formed the male section. Within days, enough students, including the female section, were recruited; soon the group was performing around the communty.

Davis left Council Bluff to earn an advanced degree at the University of Iowa. In 1948 he was named the Finkbine Scholar, the university's outstanding music student of the year. He remained at Iowa City as instructor of voice and hrous for four additional years while pursuing a doctorate.

He taught at the University of New Mexico and Washington State University before coming to the University of Alaska in 1963. In the northland he found a home.

Charles "Charlie" Davis has always found time to contribute to the Fairbanks area and the state of Alaska. A founding member of the Fairbanks Light Opera Theater, Davis served a musical director until 1970.

Highlights of the Davis career include the 1978 European tour of the Choir of the North and the Choir's 1968 invitational performance at the Northwest Music Educators Conference in Seattle. Of particular pride was the music department gaining School of Music status through the accrediation of the National Association of Schools of Music.

During his first summer in Fairbanks, Davis founded the university's Summer Music Camp. Before the universityadminstration would approve his plans, he was required to have 40 preregistered students. In spite of the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake, which made it difficult for Anchorage students, Davis managed to preregister 60 students. That campus continued today as the UAF Summer Fine Arts Camp.

Davis retired from UAF in 1979, but Charlie Davis could never really retire. He was the concert manager of the FAirbanks Concert Association. He has served as its president. He's also served a term as president of the Tanana Vally Council of Churches. Davis and his wife, Beverly, are charter members of the Christ Lutheran Church. In ever community in which they've lived, Davis has directed a church choir.

The Davises have three sons, Charles (Chip), Randy and Nick. All live in Fairbanks. their daughter, Candy (Mrs. Walter Peterson), lives in Nome.


UA Site named after Charles Davis

Davis Concert Hall

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