Performing Arts Award Logo

The Chris Patterson Memorial Foundation is excited to announce the 2018 recipients of the Chris Patterson Performing Arts Award.

From West Aurora High School, the recipient was Charlie Griswold!

The Winning Submission

Being a member of choir through all my years of school has really helped shame me into the student that I am today. Ever since 6th grade, I have been part of choir through the West High School District. From my first day of 6th-grade choir to my approaching final days in Acapella, I have loved every second. For me, music is SO much more than just a bunch of notes on a page waiting to be sung. Through music, I am able to express myself, communicate my emotions, and connect with my peers in a way that I would be unable to through sport and other activities alone. Being in choir has given me so many unique opportunities to experiences that I am able to utilize not only within myself but also with my academics. It has taught me that no matter how hard something is, such as a 40-page song that needs to be memorized, hard work and dedication will help you accomplish anything. As they say, practice makes perfect! Choir has shown me that this lesson is the truth. Whether it takes the form of learning a new song, to studying for a Calculus test, the common principle stands. Also, it has taught me that it is ok to venture outside of my comfort zone. From solos in concerts to notes that I know are WAY out of my range, I know that its ok to make mistakes and try new thing. This also helps my academics. IF I ever need to give a presentation or speech, I know that a mistake will not cause me to burst into flames, but rather offer an opportunity to improve and learn from my mistakes by not letting them define me as a person. Likewise, choir is the perfect opportunity for me to relax from my busy schedule and to just melt into song. With a job, extracurricular activities, varsity athletics, and academics, sometimes it gets overwhelming and I lose hope in my abilities to manage it all. With music, I am able to relax, have fun, and regain my focus and drive for all of my classes. Finally, choir has taught me accountability and leadership. If I want myself and my section to learn a song, we take the time to look over it and practice it until we can’t get it wrong. Likewise, in my classes, it has shown me that if I’m falling behind in a class, I need to set up appointments with teachers, study the material, and work at it until I get the grade I want. All in all, I am so grateful for everything that choir has given me. It has had a positive impact on not only my academics but my character as well. I am very grateful for everything the gift of music has given me, and I look forward to how my love of music will continue to guide me through the coming years of my life.

Batavia High School

From Batavia High School, the recipient was Rachel Eng!

The Winning Submission

The Strength of Music


Everything I have, I owe to music. This conclusion was not made until my later years of dedication; at first, the performing art was a time filler, an extra ball to juggle in the act. Truthfully, the cello was not my first choice in an instrument. Upon my first instinct, I had wanted to play the trumpet. I am grateful only years later that my mother had purposefully waiting in the orchestra line, knowing that our house did not need more noise, I was enrolled into the school program, would find my private teacher, and see many people drop out of orchestra before hitting high school. It is at this coming of age when I would fall deeply and hopelessly in love with the strength of music. 
Orchestra extends beyond a musical experience- it constantly teaches lessons of obtaining patience and an immense ambition to be the best possible version of yourself. Perfecting a piece of music requires attention and patience, skills that I would later apply to my academics. Studying for history is a matter of undivided attention and the restraint of frustration that I had learned when practicing the same three tricky measures over and over again. Memorizing formulas were bounded by memorizing melodies, the answers hidden within. Music helped me find myself academically, and I would push the standards set for myself. I saw the levels I could surpass as a musician, and saw endless opportunities as a scholar. 
Music has a way of bringing communities together. It crosses all bounds of race, hate, anxiety, depression, and social norms to bring peace and love. Performing the instrument I have grown to adore brings me a sense of accomplishment; it rests my family from their constant juggling acts. It connects the back of the room to the front, and the raw exposure of the stage leaves no room for judgement of doubt. I am a cellist by my own doing, I am a musician by my own learning, I am a student because of music.