News: US Army Alaska’s 9th Army Band member honored with prestigious award
Story by Staff Sgt. Patricia McMurphy
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - Sgt. Miguel Davis, a keyboardist and vocal artist, as well as unit armorer and operations non-commissioned officer for the band, was awarded the Col. Finley R. Hamilton Outstanding Military Musician Award.
“This award recognizes outstanding military musicians and covers all services: Marine Corps, Navy, Army, Air Force as well as Coast Guard,” said 1st Sgt. Wesley Carlson, 9th Army Band first sergeant. “Every band is authorized to nominate one person.”
Award candidates must be in the grade of E-4 to E-6 at the time of nomination, demonstrate excellence in both solo and ensemble musical performances or in a music-support role demonstrating outstanding technical skill and value to the unit and mission, display exceptional leadership qualities, and display great potential for future outstanding service. Nomination for this award indicates he/she is an outstanding musician.
“In the past year, 47 [service members] were awarded,” said Carlson. “So it’s not a given that each band will get an award.”
Davis was one of only 24 Army band members chosen for this award. With more than 100 Army bands and more than 4,000 Soldiers that fall into the award’s limited eligibility criteria, this is quite an accomplishment.
According to Carlson, Davis was nominated for the award because he not only met the criteria, he exceeded it.
“Davis is one of our more versatile musicians,” said Carlson. “He has shown throughout the year that he is a ‘go-to guy’ and has the ability to step up and perform on last-minute [changes] and cover high-profile musical programs.
“He has been a huge asset,” Carlson added.
Davis, a Venezuela native, spent his early years in England. His love of music started at the young age of five, winning his first piano competition at age 11.
Davis attended the Royal College of Music in London, England on a four-year scholarship, where he was trained as a concert pianist and earned a Teaching and Piano Performance degree.
His love of music continued after he moved to the U.S. in 1992.
“I was a touring musical director/conductor for Metro Praiz, a 120-voice choir with nine-piece band based in Maryland, the largest choir in Washington, D.C. We did tours in the U.S., Europe and the Caribbean.
In June 2009, Davis joined the Army and his musical talent was noticed right away.
“During AIT, I was selected as the keyboardist/vocalist, to deploy with the USA Express Band directly from the Army School of Music in Norfolk, Va.,” said Davis. “We deployed to Iraq and Kuwait in 2010 for several weeks, performing 2-3 shows a day at various forward operating bases to boost the morale of our troops abroad.”
Davis said he was honored to be nominated and selected for this award and says it brings light to his musical accomplishments over the years.
“I’ve been playing since the age of five and this is certainly a very prestigious award and will go a long way for me in the Army,” said Davis. “To me, it brings together what I’ve done musically inside the Army and outside.”
Davis plans to make the Army a career and will be moving on this July to serve with the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Band at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., where he hopes to continue to grow as an NCO and musician and to pass on what he has learned with his fellow band members.