When Allison Semmes grows up, she wants to be Ollie Watts Davis.
Cool. Confident. Classy.
“She was not only my voice professor; she was the ultimate role model for me as a young Black woman,” Semmes says of her favorite UI faculty member during the mid-2000s.
“Her teachings went beyond the curriculum and lesson plan, as she is a living example of the excellence we strive for as musicians.
“Dr. Davis not only taught me healthy vocal technique and arias in foreign languages, but she also taught me about style, grace, confidence and faith.
“I remember the fresh flowers that always filled her studio with a sweet fragrance, her fabulous wardrobe — furs and hats — and her classic red lipstick. She is the ultimate lady.
“One of my favorite phrases of Dr. Davis, and is just as powerful today, is ‘Do what you have to do, when you have to do it, regardless of how you feel about it.’”