The Chris Patterson Memorial Foundation is excited to announce the 2019 recipients of the Chris Patterson Performing Arts Award.

West Aurora High School

From West Aurora High School, the recipient was Amanda Duran!

The Winning Submission

“You’re a BAND kid? How long are your rehearsals? Aren’t they tiring, they take up so much time!”
“You’re a CHOIR kid? Do you ever get tired of the constant singing they do?”
“You’re a THEATRE kid? That explains why you’re so crazy.”

To some degree, I’ve heard all of these comments. Whether they’re subtle inquiries from relatives or straight-to-the-point questions from friends who’ve never experienced pre-show jitters before. And to all of these, I’ve answered yes. Because sure, marching band rehearsals are long and tiring, choir kids do constantly sing, and theatre kids are crazy. But that’s just how it is, and that’s what I appreciate most about the performing arts. And subsequently, it’s those very reasons that have made me a well-rounded learner and person.

It’s a universally known fact that all types of band rehearsals are long, and playing an instrument can get pretty tiring after a while. However, it takes a certain type of person to withstand those long hours of playing and marching in sweltering weather. Marching fundamentals require discipline and great exertion of effort. Keeping yourself motivated to march on even in unpleasant circumstances, for me, has been a large takeaway from my marching band program. Furthermore, playing an instrument takes an equivalent amount of discipline and drive. From finding the right embouchure to produce the tone I want or dedicate my focus to learning the muscle memory required to play those long, hard runs, the band has challenged me in my evolution as a musician. Playing an instrument and being a part of the band has taught me hard work, discipline, and finding purpose in what I do, and applying this to my academic studies and goals in life. I’ve been able to build skills such as time management and an ambitious work ethic-skills that I never would have acquired without band.

The amount of singing that is present in my day can sometimes be a little…much. With one song being hummed to my right and another to my left, it’s hard to not get one or both of them stuck in my head. However, when you look past the many catchy tunes that seem impossible to get out of your head, you’ll find the purest form of love that can be shared from person to person. Songs and melodies are more than just catchy, they’re words and feelings that we as human beings can share with each other. There have been so many choral pieces I’ve sung with my choir that has touched my heart, and I know they’ve touched others as well. They connect the performer to the audience members, singer to conductor, and person to person. These songs we sing connect us to the past, present, and future. It’s why I want to go into music education, to teach the generation after mine to express and find themselves and that music can be shared to bring hope to those around you even when it seems that there’s nothing left to hope for. Singing in a choir has helped me relieve stress and has motivated me to always have a positive outlook in the face of adversity. It’s helped me to be more engaged in my academic studies and to be more curious about the world. But most importantly, it has taught me that success doesn’t always come from yourself on your own, it can come from the strength and bonds you receive from others.

I’ve made lots of friends during my high school career, of all different personalities. But none of them are as unique and fun to be around than theatre kids. Being an extrovert myself, I fit right in! We all understand and have the same love for bringing stories to life and stepping into the shoes of such diverse characters. With that being said, I think one of the most important things being in drama club has taught me is that there is a vast variety of people who bring something unique and different to the table. But when you bring those unique quirks and talents altogether, something really wonderful can be the outcome. This has helped me when it comes to working with others in the classroom. In group projects, I value and appreciate other people’s input more, and am aware that we all learn at our own paces. Hopefully, in my endeavors as a future educator, I will be able to convey this same lesson to my students so that they may learn how to work effectively in groups.

My performing arts classes not only have shaped me into who I am today but have also shaped my outlook on life. They have motivated me in my work ethic, my attitude, and my ambitions, which has subsequently affected my academic studies and skills. I guess you could say I credit much of my academic success to what my performing arts classes have taught me. I wouldn’t be saying this if it weren’t true. Making music has boosted my self-confidence and belief in myself, and by applying the skills I’ve learned from my performing arts classes to my academic ones, I’ve paved myself a path towards a bright future filled with doing what I love to do most.

Batavia High School

From Batavia High School, the recipient was Ellie Baisch!

The Winning Submission

Performing arts, as a whole, has made me into who I am today. It has given me passion, a job, and an education that I am forever grateful for. As I am graduating this May, I have learned a lot about how the performing arts has assisted myself and many others in our general education courses. Music is beneficial in many ways, but specifically, I strongly believe that I was successful throughout my years of education because of the way music trains your memory, patience, and encourages you mentally for success.

A simple piece of music contains at least 100 individual notes; not to mention the accidentals, key changes, time changes, and dynamic marks. All of these elements combined create a very intricate language, and without a doubt, many musicians are required to memorize all of these small details in order to make a piece beautiful. After memorizing piece after piece for concerts, recitals, gigs, etc., when I turn around to study for my basic academics, my brain is more than capable of memorizing and learning the small amount of facts and formulas that come with general courses. Personally, the beginner level classes that I took with simple concepts such as Grammar 1, Spanish 1 and First-Year Algebra were a walk in the park because of the speed I was able to memorize. The knowledge retention that I and other musicians possess is extremely valuable when it comes to the classroom. Along with the memorization skills, the patience musicians are taught goes hand in hand.

Music is often times very frustrating and difficult to work on, especially when there is a difficult spot and no one is there to assist you. Only taking one private lesson a week, I have encountered this issue many times. However, just because my teacher is not sitting next to me, the practice must go on. Though it is frustrating, as concerts approach, musicians have no option but to endure their frustrations and push on. In the classroom, this is also a very real issue. Your teacher is not always going to be there, but that doesn’t change the fact that your test is tomorrow morning! Patience is key to mastering subjects and achieving success, and I strongly believe music has improved this tough life skill for myself and many others.

Most importantly, nothing is possible without motivation. Coming from someone who is truly passionate about playing and teaching music, I would not be where I am had I not made goals for myself and motivated to achieve them.

My orchestra teacher in 8th grade, Ms. Truscello, made a lasting impression on me. Her relentless effort for her students and constant pressure to be the best musician I could be inspired and motivated me to aspire to begin teaching private violin lessons and go to college to become a music educator. So maybe I am a good violinist, or maybe I am patient with my students, but even with these things, I could not have been accepted to the university with a wonderful Music Education degree to pursue my dreams without my academics. Though I had many days of stress from studying and days of thinking “I can’t try any longer”, the happiness that I have received from music and my future goals always motivated me to continue on, to study for that test, to keep going even when I wanted to quit.

During my years of life thus far, I have learned that to gain success in one area, you still must succeed in others. I can personally thank the performing arts for not only teaching me the patience, memorization skills, and giving me distinct motivation in the subject of music, but also for the way it developed my learning and habits in all of my past, current, and future core educational classes.

East Aurora High School

From East Aurora High School, the recipient was Bryan Perez!

The Winning Submission

They say that good students learn the material and the skills that are involved with it, but the best students transfer those skills to other applications in life. Music Education is a very bold example of this principle, as it teaches one about the sciences and techniques to make music happen. I have personally learned a lot of essential skills due to music, and these next few paragraphs will demonstrate how Music Education has impacted other areas of my education.

Music Education teaches you about science. I’m a trumpet player, and before I was in band, I always thought that the average trumpet player uses a certain combination of valve movements and the instrument took care of everything else. Boy, was I wrong. As it turns out, a lot of the work comes from the chest and the face. Those two have to work in harmony to try and create a vibration, one that will resonate with the tubing of the instrument. Music is a series of waves that are intertwined with other waves to create the sounds that we hear it as. When the average person hears a sound, that’s all they think of it as; just a sound. However, it is the science behind the sound that is truly astonishing. The resonance, the wave, and the wavelength is what I think about. Then I think of how I try to create different waves and wavelengths with myself and the instrument to create music, which seems like an ordinary thing for an average person, but remains a truly remarkable thing for a musician.

Music Education teaches you about history. Learning about the different styles, the origins of styles, and about the lives of many composers often adds a certain feel to the music. It’s more than just playing a song in Latin, or playing a Sousa march. It’s how the style and the composer have worked to create the piece of music. It’s often that we talk about different time periods in history, such as the Italian Renaissance, or the Roaring Twenties, and music is only briefly mentioned. This is where one can make a connection to Music Education. Cultures, politics, and other things may have been different, but the one thing that truly remains the same is the existence of music, and the take that composers have used to create it. From rondeaus to jazz, and from Paolo da Firenze to Benny Goodman, Music Education teaches you about history.

Music Education teaches you about math as well. Music uses numbers all the time. One is always thinking about numbers, whether it’s to count rests, or to count the number of measures in a given phrase, it’s almost like a second nature to musicians. Without math and numbers, music cannot be possible. It adds a certain order to the music, to keep everything together, and is what often gives the music its distinct style. Whether it’s a piece written in 7/8, 5/8, ¾, or common time, math and numbers are an essential part to music education. Math is often used to find patterns, and just like how there’s patterns in music, you could just as easily find a pattern in mathematics.

Music Education teaches you about one of the “universal languages”, the others being numbers, art, and one’s emotions. There are so many different languages, but every musician can sit down, read the piece of music, and agree on the same things. Music Education is a form of art, allowing expression through various chords, melodies, and harmonies. Many different cultures, many different styles, and many different interpretations of music is what makes it a unique art. From expressing sorrow through an eulogy, or expressing one’s inner machinations with a symphony, music is one of the few things that we can all interpret the same way. Music Education is vital to help preserve the rich history that it contains. It provides a taste of all the major subjects that one will learn, and can be used to better interpret these subjects and to better interpret the connections that one will make with the music. It is a form of art that surrounds us every single day, and will ring in the hearts of billions for years to come. The science, history, math, and reading involved in music helps to make music what it is, and will keep evolving and keep becoming an essential part of life for many people, for generations to come.