“I’m trying to build on the past successes which have taken place here, because the voice department here is legendary,” said new Music Department instructor Wayne Davis.After 25 years as director of the Yuba College vocal program, Joaquina Johnson retired last spring, leaving the position of choir director open. That position is now filled by new instructor Wayne Davis.
Davis is qualified to take the reins of the vocal program, according to his musical track record. Davis went to Sacramento City College for two years. “I feel like the best educational experiences I’ve had were at Sac City College,” remembered Davis. After Sacramento City College, Davis went to the University of the Pacific on a full ride scholarship, then went on to receive his MA at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Davis’ wife went to Yuba College and worked with Johnson before they met. Davis and his wife transferred to the University of the Pacific the same semester. “We met, took classes together, fell in love and got married,” Davis remembered. “Mrs. Johnson came down, and my voice teacher, who were also best friends, and they sang at our wedding.”
After receiving his MA, Davis taught part-time at Harry Truman City College in Chicago, instructing a Humanities class and Introduction to Music. Then, in early 2000, Davis was engaged to perform in the San Francisco Opera Chorus. After his two year tenure, Davis decided to pursue his goal of becoming a music instructor. He applied for the job at Yuba College after Johnson announced her retirement.
“I wanted to teach full time for a long time,” said Davis. “I feel like I’ve been given so much, and I’ve learned so much about singing, that I wanted to give back and help others. Correct singing is a very difficult art, and teaching it is even more difficult. Some teachers out there learn a little bit about voice and a little bit about singing, and they hang their shingle on they door, and they don’t have a clue.”
With the reputation the Yuba College vocal program has, Davis felt that this was the best place for him to teach. “I feel that I can give students the opportunity to grasp and collect the tools that are useful to voice students,” said Davis.
Davis’ philosophy on teaching voice is very helpful to students who want to advance their training. “My philosophy is to open the minds of students by giving them information and knowledge, to teach them how to use the tools that I give them on their own so they can apply them,” said Davis. “Ultimately, they will become independent of me so that the knowledge and the tools I give them become their own.”
Davis is currently teaching Beginning, Elementary and Applied voice, Beginning and Intermediate Piano, Introduction to Music and Chamber Choir. In addition to teaching, Davis also plays French Horn in Dr. Allan Miller’s band class, sings in Joaquina Johnson’s Symphony Chorus, and is still in the San Francisco Opera Chorus, performing Puccini’s “Turandot” for 12 performances on the weekends. He is also receiving voice lessons in Concord.
“My main goal in being here,” reflects Davis, “is to instill a love for music in all my students, whether they do music for pleasure, performance, or listen to music on the radio, so they are able to do so in a more fulfilling way. The skills and tools I have given them can be applied to all areas of life. Music, especially singing is about balance, never wanting too much of anything. I think balance is the key to a happy life.”