Patty Castillo Davis, an accomplished musician from Ceres who recently won the Modesto Area Musicians Association award in the "Singer-Songwriter" category, was singled out for recognition from the Soroptimist International of Ceres Thursday evening.
Davis, who experienced woman on woman bullying earlier in her life, said the honor was heartfelt as a former because the group's "mission of empowerment" and "advocacy of affirmation." She said it was great to be in a room of sisters "who have each other's backs."
Patty noted that her pursuit of music - which began as a student in school choirs - is rooted to her hunger for expression fostered by her parents. She started as a studio singer on demos and jingles such as the locally played radio commercial for Mistlin Honda ("they're still playing that") and Turlock Auto Plaza. She evolved into a band member and band leader.
"I came from a family that immersed me with eclectic types of music, from mariachi to the blues, Ella Fitzgerald and Merle Haggard and nobody ever told me to get a real job. Everyone said that my music was my bliss and to follow that and my Dad said, ‘You can sing Johnny Cash songs; you don't have to be a boy.'"
Davis has opened for Grand Old Opry performers, and Dwight Yoakum.
She told the Soroptimists that she will providing some of her music for the soundtrack for a regional film, "Aid & Comfort," which will be about Afghanistan War veterans and veterans who suffer from PTSD.
Davis works as a music liturgist at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Modesto "and my job allows me to sing in Portuguese, and Spanish and Latin and English and has afforded me to learn so much about people and to be part of a community and also to receive an invite to sing for His Holiness Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 2007. When everyone says, ‘what's your best gig?' the Vatican is the best gig by far."
Her passion is to promote local talent in local venues and Patty is now a member of the Ceres Concerts in the Park Committee as well as the Smoke on the River barbecue event committee. She and her husband have been band and choir boosters for years "writing the checks, washing the cars, selling the tacos."
She praised her family for supporting her so she can do what she loves, noting her "aim is to make my husband and my daughters proud to serve my community by elevating their awareness of art, creating listening venues in Ceres, specifically for concert experiences, and to highlight women's issues - which are human issues - in my performances."