Anyone that attends church in the Parkersburg area most likely knows about the Logan Memorial UMC Praise Band. They have reached a certain level of fame around those parts for their Blues-infused renditions of classic hymns and spirituals and superb musicianship.
In 2017 that virtuosity was on full display at Wesley Chapel during Annual Conference, as the band shared their gifts during an evening worship service honoring the conference’s historically African-American churches. It was a worship service lauded by those in attendance.
“It was a great time, man. It was way more than I expected,” band member Deric Davis says of that weekend nearly four years ago in Buckhannon. “We had a good time that trip.”
But it was a trip that was memorable for more than just great music. For Davis, who was still recovering from double lung transplant surgery performed that February, it was a time of spiritual recovery too. He had rejoined his bandmates, doing what he feels God has called him to do – honor God through music.
Davis says of the experience that “it was great to be back with the band.” Only he was back in a different sort of way, fulfilling his role in a different capacity – a role that almost didn’t happen.
Prior to the surgery, Davis was one of the group’s featured vocalists, but a paralyzed vocal cord stemming from multiple intubations during his 57-day, post-transplant hospitalization changed all that.
“Not being able to sing like I was able to before was very stressful” Davis, who has an autoimmune disease that produces more antibodies than needed, which in turn attacked his lungs and thus caused the need for the transplant, says. “I more or less determined that my time with the band was over.”
His bandmates, however, determined differently.
After some reshuffling at the other group members’ insistence, Davis took over as bass guitarist, and the rest – as they say – is history. He’s been back with the Logan Praise ever since, right back where he feels most at home. And after several procedures to repair the damaged vocal cord, Davis has regained, although not fully, his singing voice. “I was determined to sing again,” he says.
He has one more scheduled procedure – delayed multiple times due to Covid – in an attempt to resurrect his voice to pre-surgery status. It is, Davis says, the last shot to accomplish the task. But even if it doesn’t work, he says, he knows God is blessing him with an abundance of grace.
“I pray to God that it works out well,” he says. “But I’m blessed to have more of a voice than I had, so I really can’t complain. And my life after that transplant has been incredible.”
No doubt Deric Davis’ incredible post-transplant life will continue – spurred on by his family, church family, bandmates – and God’s grace.