BRIMFIELD — Make Music Day on June 21, honored a family who had deep roots to Hitchcock Academy and a great love of music.
Bob Davis’ grandmother literally wrote the book on Hitchcock Free Academy. The history of the Davis family and the Brimfield nonprofit are intertwined going back for generations, and two recent generous gifts to Hitchcock further cement their shared legacy. Bob Davis, upon his father Robert Davis Sr.’s passing last year, gifted a set of historic pictures which will be unveiled for the public on June 21. Mr. Davis Sr. also generously bequeathed a $5,000 donation to Hitchcock.
Bob’s grandmother, Alice Sawin Davis authored “A History of Hitchcock Free Academy” in 1974, having grown up in the town, and was a lifelong supporter of the Academy. Her father, Dr. Robert Valentine Sawin served as a trustee for 26 years. Dr. Sawin was a medical doctor who practiced in Brimfield, Holland, Wales, and nearby Union, Connecticut, travelling to see patients in a horse and buggy. Dr. Davis is the subject of the photos along with his sister.
While Alice and subsequent generations of the Davis family moved outside of the immediate area, Alice not only continued to support programs, especially musical programs, at the organization, but instilled in her children and grandchildren the importance of the family connection to Brimfield and to Hitchcock specifically. The recent gifts from the Davis family honor and carry on the legacy of those that came before them.
Bob Jr. recalls his one and only visit to Hitchcock with his grandmother, “It was a treacherous evening on a bad winter night in 1975. My grandmother gathered a group to go to the Academy for a significant event and celebration.”
Bob remembers the night as significant, in part perhaps, because of the danger inherent in the trip, but also because he knew how important such events at the Academy were to his grandmother, and felt the importance himself of being at the event. The appreciation of the value of education is a lasting part of the connection between Hitchcock and the Davis family. As a professor living in New York City, Bob carries on the family tradition of educating and supporting succeeding generations through his work.
“The idea of a free academy is very important to me and to the history of my family. I appreciate all that the staff and volunteers do in support of Hitchcock’s mission today,” said Bob.
Portraits of two young scholars, Robert Valentine Sawin and his sister, it is believed her name was Elizabeth, but not confirmed.