Emily Buckley, editor in chief
Married couple Derek and Whitley Davis are the talent, personality, and passion behind Davis Music Academy. They started the program with their Pickleville Workshops in the summer of 2014 and have grown it to include different elements like voice lessons and various year-round musical theatre lessons. Derek says they were teaching kids about musical theater long before their program became official and they probably won’t quit until they are 105. “We love working with kids and helping inspire the next generations of creators,” he said.
They say the best part of teaching kids is seeing them come out of their shells and try new things. “It’s so amazing to watch their transformation in confidence and know that we had a little bit to do with it,” Derek said. “We just want every kid out there to know that they are awesome exactly as they are and that they should celebrate all of their talents, quirks, abilities, and differences!”
Both Derek and Whitley grew up performing. Whitley has been singing and dancing since before she could walk, and Derek spent much of his childhood in the wings and on the stage of the Pickleville Playhouse in Bear Lake. They both performed with the prestigious BYU Young Ambassadors, which is where their paths crossed. “After touring for a month in South Africa, I proposed and we were married about a year later,” Derek said.
The two settled in Cache Valley and bought a home. They adopted their daughter, Dorothy, in 2017. “The whole situation sort of just fell into our laps. It was amazing and divinely guided,” Derek said. “She is our whole universe and we are so grateful that she blesses our lives every single day.”
For the last year they have been trying for another private adoption. “We are continually trying to get the word out and keep our fingers crossed,” Derek said. “If there’s anything we learned from our first experience, it’s that we are not in charge and things will happen exactly how and when they are supposed to. We just hope that means sooner rather than later.”
Their path changed dramatically once again just a month after they brought Dorothy home form the hospital. They were in Bear Lake when they received a call from a neighbor reporting that smoke was coming from the windows of their home. “We lovingly refer to this experience as #thefireof2017,” Derek said.
The couple lost nearly all of their physical possessions to the immense fire and from the smoke damage throughout the house. “The crazy part was that, after a few weeks, we weren’t even that sad,” he said. “We realized the most important things to us were not ‘things,’ but memories.”
When their house was eventually restored, instead of re-acquiring a bunch of stuff, they decided to sell their home and set out on an epic family adventure around the world. They document their adventures on the Instagram account @theglobetrotterfamily.
Derek says they have too many favorite places to choose just one, so they’ve narrowed it down by category:
- Best Food: Rome
- Most Scenic: New Zealand
- Best Mountains: Switzerland
- Most Insane: Tokyo
- Most Unique: Morocco
- Best Architecture: Paris
- Best Bang For Your Buck: Thailand
- Most Iconic: Santorini
- Favorite City: Always and forever NYC
To provide for this life, Derek and Whitley make the majority of their income during the summer months through their work with Pickleville Playhouse and Davis Music Academy. “We were in the middle of our three-month stay in Hawaii when all the Corona business started going down,” Derek said. “At first, we were like everyone and just thought it would all blow over and have minimal impact on us personally. As things evolved, we realized things were more serious than we originally thought and that our regular income was in major jeopardy. So, we made the difficult decision to come home from Hawaii prematurely and get started on a new idea.”
Hard work over three weeks lead to creating the new virtual version of Davis Music Academy. “It utilizes our unique skill set and has the potential to positively impact lots of families during this crazy time of life.”
The live-stream musical theatre classes maintain the high-energy kids have come expect from Derek and Whitley, but are now available online to kids at home anywhere. “Our goal is to help families break up the monotony of homeschooling and keep kids’ creativity alive during this unique time.”
The classes are taught are taught live three times a week at both beginner and advanced levels. Memberships are for the whole family (but lessons are targeted at kids ages 6-16).
Register for classes at davis-academy.com.