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5/7/2014 4:18:00 AM
Sammy Davis: Making the Encore Theater his home
Sammy Davis
Sammy Davis

Most people come to Sedona from somewhere else. For beloved local entertainer Sammy Davis, that "somewhere else" was the South Side of Chicago.

There, his mother and grandmother were his greatest influences-teaching him to grow in God's Grace, to respect his elders, to love music, and to distinguish right from wrong. Surrounding Sammy and his siblings with the spiritually strongest people in town, these ladies took the kids to church-specifically to Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, where Sammy discovered that "everybody is somebody and Christ is All."

Here inside this nearly 100 year-old church, Sammy met his first hero outside his family: the Reverend O.C. Nicks, Pastor Emeritus who served this church for over 48 years. (He passed on in June 2013.) Rev. Nicks not only reinforced the lessons Sammy learned at home but he also encouraged Sammy to sing in the choir, giving Sammy an outlet to perform while honing his musical gifts in a loving, nurturing environment. Singing such gospel standards as "In the Garden" was Sammy's way of sharing his faith and fanning the spark of faith in his listeners.

Outside of church, Sammy sang cover tunes of his favorite performers in his mother's home and after school with his friends after school on the front porch as well as in an a capella choir and a boys' glee club. Participating in singing competitions gave him the validation he needed to continue to pursue his dream of becoming a professional singer-a dream which came true for Sammy Davis.

One of Sammy's favorite musical memories is when he opened for the Temptations. Like Sammy, these men had been raised singing in church. (For example, the Temptations' lead tenor David Ruffin sang in a Mississippi Methodist church and a traveling family gospel choir which once opened for Mahalia Jackson.) Before every performance, the Temptations gathered in prayer, each man putting his hand into the circle. Seeing Sammy standing off to the side, they invited him to join them in prayer. Sammy felt honored and blessed to be included. That night, they entertained, performing with a joyful enthusiasm.

After traveling the world to entertain audiences from Phoenix to Barcelona, Greece to Las Vegas, Sammy has personally settled down in Sedona. Here, among the red rocks, in a community known for its caring and compassion, Sammy makes his home.

The Sammy Davis Show was voted Arizona's No. 1 show for the greatest hits of the Motown sound for that "good time feeling." Hear your dancing favorites from Motown, Prince, Rod Stewart and many more.

Now, Sammy has settled down professionally at the Encore Theater in Sedona where he entertains. He frequently says, "I love to entertain people!" Sammy's goal is that each audience member have "the best time ever" at his show. If they walk in the door happy, he hopes they are elated when they leave. If they walk in a little down, then he wants to sing them an upbeat song which gets them smiling, dancing, and tapping their toes!

Come on down to the Encore Theater and let Sammy Davis entertain you! You'll be smiling and you will have the "best time ever!"

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