Dr. Tish Kennedy Davenport

Dr. Tish Kennedy Davenport

Minister of Music

Born into a musical family, Tish Davenport was raised in the United Methodist Church where her mother and father continue to serve together as Organist/Accompanist and Director of Music, respectively. She attended Parkview Fine Arts Magnet High School in Little Rock, AR and was the principal flautist in her High School band, played in the pit orchestra for school musicals, and also performed with the Arkansas Youth Symphony, where she was featured on pieces such as Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.” In her senior year, she was selected by audition to study flute at Tanglewood (as part of the Boston Symphony Summer Series).

Following a summer at Tanglewood, Tish completed her undergraduate degree  from Loyola University in New Orleans where she studied flute performance with Richard Harrison on a music scholarship. While studying at Loyola, she served as principal flautist of the Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, and Loyola’s Symphony Orchestra. In her junior year, she performed Khachaturian’s Flute Concerto (originally written for violin) with orchestra as a winner in the Concerto Competition. After graduation, Tish joined the United States Marine Corps and spent two years in the Quantico Marine Band followed by two more years in the Marine Forces Pacific Band in Kaneohe Bay, HI as a flautist and pianist for a variety of different ensembles (marching and concert bands, jazz combo, big band, and even dance, rock, and country bands).

A number of years after serving in the USMC, she moved to Texas and obtained her Masters of Music in Music Theory at the University of North Texas (UNT). Tish wrote her master’s thesis on an oratorio by Steven Stucky, a twenty-first century American composer, which she came to know well while singing with the Dallas Symphony Chorus (DSC) from 2006-2016, as the DSC premiered this oratorio and later performed it at Carnegie Hall. During her ten-year tenure with the DSC, she sang at Carnegie Hall twice, toured Spain and France, and performed numerous choral masterworks under many different notable orchestral and choral conductors. Additionally, during this time-frame, Tish was the part-time Music Director at First United Methodist Church in Mesquite, TX for seven years.

She continued to study at UNT and completed a Ph.D. in Music Theory with a specialization in Choral Conducting from the University of North Texas (UNT) in August, 2018. Her dissertation provides a linear analysis and interpretation of two sacred choral works by the twentieth-century composer, Herbert Howells. She has also published an article in the Musical Times on the symphonies of a contemporary composer living in Finland currently, Fridrich Bruk, and wrote the program notes for the CD recording of Bruk’s Symphonies No. 17 and No. 18 (available through Toccata Classics). From 2013-2018, while completing her doctorate, she served as the three-quarter time Director of Music Ministries at First United Methodist Church in The Colony, TX where she felt the calling to full-time music ministry grow stronger with each passing day. At FUMC The Colony, she developed a concert series with an annual Community Messiah Singalong, a Bluegrass Jam group, and additional various instrumental groups, while continuing to nurture and develop the existing children and adult programs at the church. It is with great joy that Tish accepted the full-time Minister of Music position here at Searcy First United Methodist Church in the summer of 2018, and she is grateful for the opportunity to serve this church and the community of Searcy, AR.

Her current professional affiliations include the Church Music Institute in Dallas, TX, Choristers Guild, The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts, Handbell Musicians of America, College Music Society, Society of Music Theory, GaMuT (Graduate Association of Musicologist and Theorists, UNT), and the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. Past vocal teachers include Barbara Hill-Moore (SMU) who prepared her for the initial DSC audition and, more extensively, Kathleen Terbeek (TCU).