‘Agawam’s Music Man’ Darcy Davis was two-time winner of VFW solo soprano title

Posted on May 24th, 2021

World Drum Corps Hall of Fame (WDCHoF) member Darcy B. Davis Jr., a two-time winner of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) national individual bugle solo soprano performance championship passed away early in 2020 at the age of 93.  Notice of his passing was not widely circulated at the time.

He was inducted into the WDCHoF in 1987.  He was also a member of the Buglers Hall of Fame, inducted in 2012.  A short video presented at his BHoF induction is available at BHOF 2012 Inductee – Darcy Davis

He passed away peacefully on January 29, 2020 surrounded by members of his family.  Those wishing to honor his memory can make donations to the Agawam, Massachusetts, High School Marching Band or the First Baptist Church of Agawam.

While teaching music at Tabor Academy in Marion, Massachusetts from 1949 to 1951, he became the school’s first full time band director and also played soprano horn with Lieutenant Norman Prince drum and bugle corps.  He won the VFW national individual soprano title at the 1950 convention in Chicago.  He won the individual title again in 1953 in Miami as the Princemen again also won the VFW title. 

His involvement in drum corps activity began in 1939, as a member of Troop 31 Boy Scout Drum Corps.  By 1940, he was the drill, drum and bugle instructor for the VFW junior drum and bugle corps in North Adams, Massachusetts, the town where he was born October 18, 1926.  North Adams, located in the northwest corner of the Berkshires is the smallest city in Massachusetts, offering a bustling cultural life including contemporary art and indie music activities.

He served as a judge with the All American and Northeast associations as well as Drum Corps Associates (DCA) and Drum Corps International (DCI).  He also judged in World Open, US Open, VFW Nationals, Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) and International Open contests. He coordinated the WDCHoF induction banquets for several years in the early 2000s.  He also worked closely with WDCHoF founder Vince Bruni to assemble stories and memories told by Hall of Fame members on audio-tape to help preserve the history of the activity.

After graduating from high school in North Adams he served in the United States Army Air Corps before graduating from Williams College.  He then entered post-graduate studies at Boston University College of Music, with further studies at Harvard, Columbia and Hartt College of Music.  He began teaching in Agawam in 1955, serving as band director and supervisor of music for Agawam Public Schools.

During his career he produced more than 20 Broadway musicals on the high school stage while the Agawam High School Band won many local and national awards.  His band was selected to represent Massachusetts at the world premiere of the hit show The Music Man in Mason City, Iowa.  

After retiring he remained active in music, performing with Marksmen Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps, the Memories Big Band in Somers, and the Agawam Senior Center Melody Band.  He organized and served as director of the Agawam Senior Center Chorus. He was parade marshal for the daily afternoon parades during the Eastern States Exposition.

He was fondly known throughout the community as Agawam’s Music Man.  His legacy is extended by the music performances at the Darcy B. Davis Jr. Band Shell in School Street Park in Agawam. 

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