The Music Man

Robert Lee Davis

Those of us here in Arizona knew Bob Davis during only one small portion of his life and yet he made those years here so indelible, and so meaningful, that he remains a song within our hearts.   Fortunately Bob's method of teaching instrumental music was far more productive than The Music Man's Professor Harold Hill (who used the "think" system),  but it was every bit as colorful and as loving.  When it came to young band students, he was the Pied Piper of Harold W. Smith School in Glendale.  You seldom saw him anywhere on campus without a cluster of children about him. I vividly recall the day my son Jimmy  came home from school  and informed me that he was taking "band." Knowing that 4th grade was the level at which beginning band was offered in the curriculum I  was delighted.  Since up until that announcement I wasn't even aware that he was interested in music, I was curious as to what instrument he had selected he said "..the drums, because all I need are sticks."  Logical.

This was to be the moment that ushered us into the special musical world of Bob Davis.  It was the beginning of a long and wonderful friendship. As the years passed,  I watched his nurturing talent of music instruction and caring grow into the most productive, incredibly wonderful gift I had ever seen.

It is difficult to fully describe what made this man so special to these students and to their parents.  There were so many things. Initially I was impressed by his demeanor around the budding young musicians.  He treated them with such respect and spoke to them like adults.  He listened to them...he joked with them.  He treated them  with equal interest and encouragement - those musicians with great musical potential as well as those who perhaps struggled a bit more in this endeavor.

Once I saw this beginning 4th grade band student holding his trumpet that seemed proportionately huge in his little hands. He was looking up at "Mr. Davis" discussing his "mouthpiece" and some problems he was having.  Bob bent down and with great concern analyzed the situation and spoke to him in his usual soft tone.  It was nothing short of a Norman Rockwell painting.

I guess that's how I choose to remember Bob Davis.  I choose to remember his continued support of his "kids" into high school and beyond.  His success stories aren't just the ones who went on to be great musicians...but those who could not afford instruments and private lessons that Bob somehow found resources to provide.

Best of all I remember a man who was my friend and who, through my child and his music, made my life full and rich in all that music can provide.  Bob Davis was eloquent, he was gifted, and he was loved.  He will NEVER be forgotten.

June Parker Beck

LINK:  For a tender and loving tribute to their father, please visit the family site at