At the celebration of Miss Elizabeth Temple’s 50 years of teaching piano at Shenandoah Conservatory in March, alumna Yuling Huang-Davie ’93 fondly remembered the influence Professor Elizabeth Temple made on her music career.
Dr. Yuling Huang-Davie has played piano ever since she was a child, encouraged by her parents, both professors at Xi’an Conservatory of Music in China where Huang-Davie received her bachelor’s degree. Huang-Davie explained that when she was growing up, playing the piano was not necessarily a choice. In the Chinese culture, parents worked hard to find a skill set for their children in order for them to make a living. It wasn’t until she came to the United States and met Professor Elizabeth Temple that she truly fell in love with the piano.
“Miss Temple played a crucial role in my personal life as well as my professional development,” Huang-Davie said. “I can very safely say she was the first person to actually teach me how to make music.” Huang-Davie explained that in China, she was a good technical pianist. Professor Temple, however, challenged her to think differently by putting her own feelings into her playing.
“I can’t think of anything else I would be more interested in doing than to be a professional pianist,” Huang-Davie remarked.
After receiving her master’s from Shenandoah in piano performance, Huang-Davie went on to earn a doctoral degree at Florida State School of Music. She currently serves as coordinator of piano chamber music and accompanying at the University of Louisiana Lafayette (ULL).
Huang-Davie spoke about her 15-year involvement with Shenandoah’s Summer Performing Camp. Her dream job would be to return to Shenandoah to teach, but she remains happy in her role at ULL and hopes to do more, potentially starting a summer-abroad program to China.
Time and time again, Huang-Davie emphasized how Temple’s support and influence shaped the course of her life. She said the care Shenandoah Conservatory professors show for their students is amazing. Huang-Davie came to the United States without any possessions. Temple provided her with bedding, blankets and food. When Huang-Davie traveled to Florida to interview for the doctoral program, she did not have the necessary means to go. Temple, without hesitation, gave her the funds to make her dreams come true.
“Shenandoah has teachers like that,” Huang-Davie said. “That is one of the reasons I always want to come back to visit. It’s home.”