Alumni family of musicians receive award

Alumni family of musicians receive award

April 08
23:44 2013

Courtney Garza

Staff Writer

With eight children, most parents would have a hard enough time keeping up with extra curricular activities, tests and a clean house. But for parents and former UNT faculty Cecil Adkins and Alis Dickinson, raising a large family with musical talent proved to be a successful endeavor.

Adkins taught musicology at UNT for 37 years, while Dickinson taught musicology part-time for 22 years. Both instilled a passion for music in all of their children, eventually forming a family ensemble.

The Adkins String Ensemble performed and received the Distinguished Music Alumni Award in Voertman Hall last night. Five of the eight children performed in the ensemble, as well as eldest sibling Elisabeth Adkins’ husband, Edward Newman, who played the accompanying piano. Adkins is also the Associate Concertmaster of the National Symphony Orchestra.

The ensemble performed three pieces including a duet by Mozart, a quartet by Rozsa and a quintet by Schumann.

“We’re so happy to be back and receive this award, and reflect on the great influence UNT has had on all of us over our time spent here,” Elisabeth Adkins said.

Though teaching younger generations served as their career, it was also a lifestyle for both parents. They reared their eight children in a musical atmosphere and taught them various instruments including piano, violin, viola and cello. While the Adkins parents said they allowed the children to seek any hobby they wanted, all showed the same strong passion and attention for music as their parents.

“It’s something a family can trade or carry on,” Cecil Adkins said. “It never showed to be a great problem, as it made them closer. Something like this doesn’t work for everyone, but it works for us.”

Most of their children also chose to follow in their parents’ paths and attended one of the nation’s best school programs to pursue their musical careers.

With 6 out of the 8 Adkins children graduating from UNT over a span of 20 years, along with the parent’s faculty credentials, the Adkins name holds much weight around the campus.

Associate Dean for Admissions and professor of clarinet John C. Scott knew that the family had to be recognized in a prestigious way to acknowledge their success and talent as alumni. Scott said there was no better way to honor the Adkins family as a whole than to present them with the Honored Music Alumni Award, an award that the school has been giving to honorable alumni for more than 40 years.

Dean of the College of Music James Scott presented it to them during the intermission.

“They represent a family of very distinguished and successful individuals,” John C. Scott said. “This is the first year we’ve presented this award to a group of people, and we’re proud to give them the recognition they deserve.”

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