Sherry L. Davis, M.A.
Scholar-Practitioner, Music History and Heritage
Sherry leverages a lifelong passion for the musical past and a vitae of interdisciplinary education and experience to inform her work as an historian and preservationist.
She enjoys operating in the field as a scholar-practitioner where her work has a direct impact on the relationship between music history and heritage and the general public.
Through writing and research, film, music landmark initiatives, exhibits, events, concerts and more, she creates accessibility, excitement and relevance in order to reach broader audiences and encourage their commitment as patrons, investors and volunteers.
Full of innovative and exciting ways to deliver music history and heritage to audiences, Sherry’s efforts have been recognized and consulted by educators, professionals and enthusiasts at home in the U.S. and abroad.
Photo: Sherry has traveled to Prague on multiple occasions to study W.A. Mozart’s biography. She received a scholarship from the Mozart Society of America (MSA) to attend the first international conference about the composer’s life in the city.
Sherry’s advocacy work with the MSA and allied U.S. and European organizations resulted in the designation of endangered Mozart landmark Villa Bertramka as a National Cultural Monument by the Czech Republic Ministry of Culture.
“It’s fantastic to see that Sherry’s dedication to preserving such important musical heritage, encompassing places linked to rock and roll legends such as the Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly, has been featured in Vintage Rock magazine and will receive wider recognition.
Since her dissertation at Westminster, Sherry has pioneered research in this field and strived to engage the public with these great stories of music history.”
-David Brooks, Alumni Relations Officer
University of Westminster, London
As children, Sherry and her twin sister Sheryl attended a concert featuring members of the doo-wop and rock and roll vocal group Danny and The Juniors with their parents at a local Labor Day Festival. It would later inspire them to recruit friends, gather costumes and choreograph dancing to present an interpretation of their appearance on American Bandstand during intermission for a school drama club performance. It was the beginning of something special.
What Makes Her Unique
Sherry has one of the only platforms providing an informational, scholarly and human-interest driven narrative about music history and heritage through the contemporary scope of fandom, industry, performance, popular culture, tourism and preservation. She has a diverse curiosity, working in both popular and classical genres. A majority of her projects have specialized in W.A. Mozart and early American rock and roll and roots music.
The Many Hats She Wears
Sherry understands that music preservation isn't a linear process and its success requires a wellspring of personal and professional versatility. Involved in every aspect of her work from concept to completion, she enjoys wearing the hats of historian, public musicologist, social scientist, cultural strategist, communications designer and creative. From empirical research to preparing an event space, the field work that sets it all in motion places her in the middle of the action where she thrives!
Art Form Of Public Service
Sherry believes to be a music historian and preservationist means to have the heart of a public servant. Her objective is to elevate communities through the unique narrative of their local music history and heritage to promote social, cultural and economic exchange and revitalization. The musical past belongs to all of us, but the manner in which the arts sector operates with private affluence and influence isn't always reflective of this public ownership.
A New Standard-Bearer
Sherry is committed to developing music history and heritage as an industry with an unprecedented role in culture, community and economy. The scope and nature of the work conducted by traditional and corporatized institutions is esoteric and exclusionary. This minority often determines the history that’s interpreted as heritage: what's studied and preserved, where it's exhibited and who has access, and in some cases, who has the opportunity to acquire it.
While institutions have their place, the disparity they create must be addressed. Sherry understands that meeting the general public where they are, on literal and virtual Main Street, is consequential for sustaining the musical past. They’re valuable stakeholders as audience members, contributors and witnesses. At the intersection of entertainment and tourism, music history and heritage constitute a viable, but undeveloped part of the U.S. arts economy. To Sherry, not utilizing their potential as a Public Trust is one of our nation’s greatest cultural failings. She believes that citizens should be the standard-bearers of this shared inheritance and its utility as a vehicle for peace and prosperity.
Sherry’s work has been at the forefront of new research and developments. Her inaugural study on the historic Surf Ballroom and architectural phenomenology was published by Anthem Press and also in Bandstand Diaries, the first memoir about American Bandstand’s famed dancers. She collected new narrative histories about The Everly Brothers that were published in Vintage Rock magazine and featured in the first documentary about their early life in Iowa. For Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, Sherry joined the American Music Landmarks Project to create an outreach campaign advocating music landmarks featured onscreen that was supported by Graceland and Warner Bros. Pictures.
Sherry managed the North American theatrical release of In Search of Mozart and curated fan art projects for exhibit at the Mozarthaus in Vienna where the composer lived in the 1780s. She was recognized by German newspaper Badische Zeitung for her advocacy of native daughter Constanze Weber Mozart as a pioneering female figure in the music business. Sherry’s outreach campaign in partnership with Fathom Events distributed over 100 free tickets to fans in 14 U.S. states to experience opera at their local cinemas through Met Opera: Live in HD transmissions.
In November 2023, Sherry collaborated with the American Music Landmarks Project to establish National Music Landmarks Week and Music Landmarks Fest. The virtual event connected audiences with music landmarks and their operators through a multimedia showcase of exclusive content and interactive features. It spanned 26 music landmarks across several states, eras and genres, representing a diverse roster of artists from American popular music.