Katie Fenton, Online reporter
Whether she’s teaching a course on beginning music theory, giving voice lessons or working as a rehearsal assistant for the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association, Pierce College Puyallup instructor Heidi Davidson loves all things related to music.
Born and raised in Finland, Davidson was always interested in the arts. Her parents took piano lessons and sang in choirs, but it was her elementary school teacher who convinced her to pursue
music, which then led Davidson to join a children’s choir.
“My elementary school teacher was the one who inspired me,” Davidson said. “I found my own voice and my own courage to follow that road.”
Davidson performed with the choir for over 11 years and traveled to England, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Estonia, France, Switzerland, Japan and the United States for numerous concerts. She even sang at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the U.S. Bicentennial.
Although she knew music was her passion, Davidson was unsure of her own future.
“I didn’t know where it was going to take me,” Davidson said. “I never thought I was going to be this big singer and go to New York to make a big career. But I knew I wanted to do something. I
thought I’d try my wings outside of Finland and heard about some places I could send a tape (audition) to. I sent one to Cleveland and they answered and said, ‘yeah, you can come.’ So I went.”
Davidson went on to study music at the Cleveland Institute of Music in Ohio when she was 20 years old. She graduated with her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in vocal performance.
This musician then moved with her husband to Tacoma, where she secured a job at Tacoma Community College teaching vocal and piano lessons to students.
“My original plan was just to stay (in the U.S.) for a year,” Davidson said. “But here I am, 38 years later. I never thought I would end up in Tacoma, Wash.”
She taught at TCC for 14 years before the school made budget cuts to the music department. During her time at TCC, Davidson performed in multiple opera productions and solo recitals. In 2001, she accompanied the Everett Symphony to Italy and performed in three concerts. Around the same time TCC made budget cuts, the Arts and Allied Health Building had recently opened at Pierce College Puyallup and the school was in need of a piano instructor to accommodate the new piano lab. Davidson has been an instructor at Pierce for six years now.
Besides teaching beginning music theory at Pierce, Davidson teaches music courses including music appreciation, world music and piano classes.
”It’s fun for me to share with the students something I enjoy and try and widen their horizons a little bit,” Davidson said. “I can share those pieces of music with the students and maybe inspire somebody to delve into that a little bit more and explore.”
When she’s not teaching at Pierce, Davidson works at the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association as a rehearsal assistant. She also teaches Community and Continuing Education courses in the
evenings, and some days can be found giving piano lessons to younger students in their homes.
“As a musician, you end up doing lots of different things,” Davidson said.
In her spare time, Davidson enjoys being with her friends and family. She and her youngest daughter are subscribed to the Seattle Opera and sometimes see up to five opera productions a year.
Her favorite shows are Tosca by Puccini and The Magic Flute by Mozart.
Davidson also travels to her home country regularly. Every summer, she visits Finland for three weeks and reconnects with old friends.
“The friendships I have when I go home are the closest friends that I’ve had,” Davidson said. “(They’re) from that choir from over 30 years ago. There’s still a group that gets together once a month and they sing and do small performances as adults now. Some of them (are) even retired, but they still sing together. We have that bond, even if it’s across oceans.”
In the meantime, Davidson plans on continuing her career as both a musician and an educator.
“I want to share my love of music with others,”Davidson said. “And that’s all I know how to do.”
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