Saturday, July 30, Chick Davis celebrated his 81st birthday by unwrapping an unusual present: a room.
Friends and former students recently made gifts toward the campus’s new fine and performing arts building totaling $50,000. In exchange for their generosity, donors were granted their wish: a room named for Dr. Charles R. “Chick” Davis, Class of 1952.
Fittingly, the choral rehearsal room in Byars Hall will now bear his name. A portrait of Dr. Davis commissioned by John Ashbury (’65) now hangs in the hall, and a sign outside the room bears his name. It will serve as a lasting reminder of Dr. Davis’ contributions to the E&H choral program as the founder and 40-year conductor of the award-winning E&H Concert Choir.
Former choir alumni gathered with members of the Davis family to commemorate the special event. Current student Kevin Garmin expressed appreciation for the gift that provided this wonderful rehearsal space, and expressed appreciation for the legacy of Dr. Davis which is still so vivid today. Alumna Melissa Sumner (’96), just home from singing opera in Italy, used the opportunity to tell Dr. Davis how much his professionalism, talent, and attention meant to her as a student in training. Sumner’s remarks seemed to capture the feelings of many choir members as she said, “You always made me feel like my life and my voice were important.”
President Reichard officially declared the room named for Dr. Davis, and she and Davis unveiled the portrait at the conclusion of remarks.
To conclude the day together, Dr. Davis conducted the Lutkin Benediction. This choral benediction written by Peter Lutkin has long been associated with the E&H Concert Choir, and every choral performance by the Concert Choir concludes with current choir members and any alumni present joining together to sing “The Lord Bless You and Keep You.” Alumni expressed joy at once again singing these familiar lines with Dr. Davis back in his familiar spot in front of the choir.