Benny Davis’ Bio
Mr. Davis graduated from Waxahachie High School in 1975. When he crossed the stage to receive his diploma, WHS Principal, Harold Dorsey, pulled Davis aside and said, “can I please have my school back now?” This provides a glimpse of Benny Davis’ personality and teaching style. As an experienced educator, Mr. Davis’ unique approach to teaching combines deliberate and affective instruction, innovative teaching techniques, resolute goals with a youthful outlook on life. He views those he teaches as people, not just students. “Caring as much for a student’s life is just as important, if not more important than caring about their playing ability.
Mr. Davis attended the University of Arkansas and Baylor University earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and a Masters Degree in Music Ed/Conducting. As a college band student, Mr. Davis performed with the Razorback Band from 1975-1978 and with the Baylor Golden Wave Band. He studied trumpet with Robert Bright at the University of Arkansas and with Ron Fox, and Rick Chapman while attending Baylor University. Mr. Davis views his high school band director, Irby Martin, trumpet teacher Robert Bright, and his university band directors, Mr. Eldon Janzen and Mr. Richard Floyd not only as mentors but as the greatest influences in his life. Mr. Davis believes very strongly that, “it is because of these individuals and also the mentorship and friendship of Mr. Eddie Green and Mr. Brian Merrill that I achieved any level of professional success during my 31-year career as a music educator.”
Mr. Davis began his teaching career in 1982 as the band director at Bowie Jr. High School in Irving, TX. After serving as assistant director to Mr. Jim McGahee at Chester W. Nimitz High School in Irving for two years, Mr. Davis moved to DeSoto, Texas where he served as the head director for 11 years at DeSoto West MS. During his tenure in DeSoto, Mr. Davis’ bands placed 1st, 2nd, and 4th in the state finals of the TMEA Honor Band Contest, performed at the Texas Music Educators Convention in San Antonio in 1996 as well as the Midwest Band and Orchestra Convention in Chicago in 1997. Mr. Davis’ DeSoto West MS Band was also the recipient of the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s Sudler Cup that is awarded to middle school band programs throughout the United States who demonstrate a uniquely high level of quality over an extended period of years.
As a high school director, Mr. Davis taught 7 years in his hometown of Waxahachie, Texas. Under his guidance, the WHS Band appeared at the UIL State Marching Contest on two occasions–the first time any WHS Band had qualified for the state contest in school history. The WHS Band was also selected to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City in 2000 and performed at the National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2005. These years started the wheels of progress in motion that set the WHS band program on the path where they would become one of the best band programs in Texas—a tradition that continues today. In 2005, Mr. Davis opened Rockwall Heath High School. During this time, the RHHS Bands earned UIL sweepstakes awards and other regional and national recognition including the Mark of Excellence, and placing 6th in the state finals of the Texas Music Educator’s Association Honor Band Competition. In 2008, the Heath Bands traveled to New York City and performed in Carnegie Hall.
Today, Mr. Davis remains active as a UIL judge for marching and concert contests across Texas and maintains a private trumpet studio. When he is not judging or teaching, Mr. Davis travels across the country studying trumpet with such notable performers and teachers as Tom Booth (Dallas Symphony), Ryan Anthony (Dallas Symphony), Charlie Geyer (Chicago Symphony), Bob Walp (Houston Symphony), Wiff Rudd (Baylor University), Bert Truax, (Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Retired), Tony Prisk (Philadelphia Symphony), Raymond Mase (New York Ballet/The Juilliard School of Music), and Mark Gould (The Juilliard School/New York Metropolitan Opera/New York Brass Ensemble). Mr. Davis believes that, “having the opportunity to learn something from the greatest players and educators in the world is something one can’t afford to pass up. It is not about “rubbing elbows” or having something to brag about, but rather searching for opportunities that allow you to listen to great musicians and to expose yourself to new concept. If you leave a lesson having learned only one new concept—that’s one tool in your toolbox as a teacher and a player that you [and your students] would never benefit from or possibly even be aware of if you hadn’t taken that chance. Who knows? That one tool could make all the difference for someone you have yet to meet.”Benny Davis resides in Rockwall with his wife, Tracy, a cellist who also maintains a string studio our of their home. They have two daughters, Emily Burak, who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in violin performance from the University of North Texas who now maintains an active schedule as a concert violinist having performed with the Ft. Worth Symphony, and several well-known artists such as tenor Andrea Bocelli, vocalists Heather Headley and Michael Buble, and pop/rock icon Stevie Wonder. Their youngest daughter, Alyson, is a cello performance major at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and also performs locally on French horn.
Mr. Davis’ last project is the development of Trumpets by the Lake in Rockwall, an online blog for trumpet players, both young and old.