A piano teacher first planted the idea of north Texas State Teachers College in Sandra Davidson's ('54, '57 M.M.) mind, but when she heard Neil Davidson ('52, '57 M.M.Ed.) -- her future husband and a student at the school -- sing at a wedding, she was so impressed by his talent that she immediately knew where she wanted to study. When they were students, Sandra would accompany Neil on the piano during voice lessons. But neither of them knew they were beginning a three-generation legacy at the university.
"We just felt such a closeness with the school, and the music school in particular," Sandra says.
After earning their bachelor's degrees, the couple married. Then Neil spent time in the U.S. Navy before both he and Sandra returned to North Texas as master's students. When Neil and Sandra were raising their three sons, Scott ('81), Bruce ('84) and Blake Davidson -- who would all go on to study at then North Texas State University -- they filled their house with music and encouraged the boys to sing in school, church and competition choirs. Eventually, they formed the Davidson Brothers Trio and put out three albums.
The Davidson children did not feel pressure to attend their parents' alma mater, but they felt a pull toward the university. After Scott made his way to Denton to study biology and perform with the Jazz Singers, his brothers soon followed. They all say the university gave them opportunities they would not have found elsewhere.
"I was doing professional singing as soon as I was a freshman," says Blake, referring to experiences singing "God Bless America" at Dallas Mavericks games. "That's the weight that this school's name carries."
While all three brothers are musically gifted, and Blake continued to sing professionally -- appearing on programs like America's Got Talent and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon -- their time at North Texas was not all about music. On being admitted to dental school, Scott credits his education.
"The sciences here are very good, too," he says. "I passed my admissions test and went straight into dental school."
Scott's daughters followed -- Shannon ('17 M.S.) earning a master's degree in taxation and Kathryn ('20) earning two bachelor's degrees in flute performance and vocal music education. Like music, UNT is woven deep into the fabric of the Davidson family.
"We have this thread that goes through the generations," Kathryn says. "It connects us all to the school and to each other."
The family, who will return to campus in November to accept the Generations of Excellence Award at the UNT Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumni Achievement Awards, also has made it a priority to give back to the university and the College of Music.
"Our parents have had success, and they want other people to share it," Bruce says. "They want them to have the same joy we had at North Texas."