What inspired you to play your instrument?
I've always loved the sound of bass instruments and the tuba is the best of them all.
Principal tuba player Ronald Davis is Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at the University of South Carolina School of Music. Ron was born and raised in southern California and during his early career was an active free-lance musician in the Los Angeles area. For five seasons he was the principal tuba with the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra, and had also performed with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Sinfonia Orchestra under Roger Wagner, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera. During his college years, Ron and three of his friends formed “The Tubadours”, a professional euphonium/tuba quartet that played seasonally at Disneyland and capped its early years by winning television's The Gong Show.
Ron was an original cast member (playing banjo!) with the Hoop-De-Doo Revue at Pioneer Hall, Walt Disney World -- Florida. The dinner show premiered in June 1974 and has run continuously since then, entering the Guinness World Records as the longest-running musical production of all time when it overtook the previous record of 42 years set by the original off-Broadway production of The Fantasticks.
Before coming to South Carolina Ron served a one-year appointment as Visiting Assistant Professor of Tuba, Euphonium and Band at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. In 1991 as a guest soloist with the SCPO Ron gave the state’s first performance of the Concerto for Bass Tuba and Orchestra by Ralph Vaughan Williams. He joined the orchestra eight years later as principal tuba. He has also performed with the Augusta Symphony Orchestra, the Augusta Chorale Society, and the Charleston and Charlotte Symphonies. He has been a featured soloist at International Tuba/Euphonium Conferences in Los Angeles, Austin, Minneapolis, and Tucson.
As a low brass scholar, Ron established his reputation through regular reviews and articles in the ITEA Journal, published by the International Tuba/Euphonium Association. In 1991 Winston Morris of Tennessee Technological University conceived The Tuba Source Book project to assemble the most complete single-volume devoted to one musical instrument. Winston selected Ron as the assistant editor overseeing the discography. Indiana University Press published The Tuba Source Book in 1993. Ten years later Ron revised and enlarged the discography, which was published in The New Tuba Source Book: Guide to the Tuba Repertoire released in fall 2006.
Ron earned a doctor of musical arts in tuba performance from the University of Southern California and also holds degrees from California State University-Fullerton and Bowling Green State University. His major teachers were Hollywood studio artists Jim Self and Tommy Johnson, virtuoso soloist Roger Bobo, Bowling Green professor Ivan Hammond and Ronald Bishop of the Cleveland Orchestra.