Educator, Harlan Boys Choir founder dies

Published 12:04 pm Monday, January 2, 2023

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David L. Davies, a long-time educator in Harlan County, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 87.

Davies was honored in October when The Harlan County Fiscal Court designated Oct. 22, 2022, as David L. Davies Day in Harlan County.

According to a previous report, Davies held a Bachelor of Arts degree as well as a Master of Arts Degree in music. He received the East Kentucky Leadership Foundation’s Private Individual Award in April 2019 for recognition of his outstanding service and leadership in the region.

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Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley touched on a few of Davies’ achievements during the Harlan County Fiscal Court’s October meeting.

“David L. Davies is the founder and past director of the Harlan Boys Choir,” Mosley said. “He graduated from Cumberland Junior College, which is now the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg.”

Davies began his teaching career in the Smith community in 1955, which had a one-room schoolhouse at that time. He started teaching at the Harlan Independent School District in 1958, where he remained until he retired from teaching in 2009. During his teaching career, Davies taught Junior High English, coached Junior High basketball, and in addition to the Harlan Boys Choir, he additionally directed the junior high choir and the Harlan United Methodist Church Choir. Davies served as vice president of the Kentucky Music Educators Association from 1973 until 1975.

“In 1972, he was named Harlan Countian of the Year and was selected by the state Department of Education as Teacher of the Year that same year,” Mosley said during the Harlan Fiscal Court’s October meeting. “He retired from teaching in 2009 but has remained very active in the Harlan Boys Choir since that point in time…He directed the Boys Choir in a variety of performances; most memorable was the Boys Choir and Harlan Musettes performing in the American Musical Salute to the veterans of World War II in Washington D.C. in 1994.”

Davies also directed the Harlan Boys Choir during the group’s appearance at the inauguration of United States President George H. Bush in 1989.