2022 Performing Arts Award Recipients

Performing Arts Award

The Chris Patterson Memorial Foundation is excited to announce the 2022 recipients of the Chris Patterson Performing Arts Award.

West Aurora High School

From West Aurora High School, the recipient was David Simpson!

The Winning Submission

After months of preparation, performing on stage gives a rush of adrenaline and a sense of accomplishment. However, acting and singing in choirs at West Aurora High School also gives me skills that I use daily, even in classes that aren’t fine arts-based. One crucial factor for performing, whether that’s in a play or musical, or concert, is working with those around you. This is a major part of performing, trusting in, and becoming confident with those around you. This is something I use in all my classes, especially when working on a group project. The companionship and trust I learned from being on stage also translate to the classroom.

Additionally, another way that performing arts has helped me is feeling comfortable asking questions. As simple as it sounds, asking questions can sometimes be difficult, especially in a core curriculum class. However, in my fine arts courses, I find myself asking questions all the time checking on a note or my blocking, or just seeking clarification. Without realizing it, throughout my four years in high school I have become less afraid or worried to ask questions in core classes. The confidence that performing instills in me is a huge asset to me in the classroom.

This confidence shows up in other ways as well. I also have become less nervous when presenting or giving speeches in front of the class, because of my experience in the performing arts. Having that prior experience helps to calm your nerves and have fun when presenting a speech or project. Without even realizing it, the performing arts have given me so many additional valuable talents and confidence that apply to all parts of my life. This helps me under the lights on the stage or in the classroom when prepping for a project or test.

As I look ahead to college where I plan to continue my studies with a major in Musical Theatre at Illinois State University, I will carry these ideas and experiences with me. The performing arts are a part of my life, on and off the stage, whether I had realized it or not, and I am better because of it.

Batavia High School

From Batavia High School, the recipient was Julianna Anderson!

The Winning Submission

I have been in Orchestra since I was in fifth grade. It has been around eight years that I have been participating in music, and for some years I participated in dance competitions. Therefore, I have spent over ten years in the performing arts, and I have always considered it a part of my life that I will never get rid of. Without the performing arts, I do not think that I would have the success I do today in my academic life.

In elementary school, I struggled with most subjects and even took additional speech classes that my other classmates weren’t taking. For some time, I was even on an IEP due to my difficulty in learning and catching up with my age group. Once I started playing cello in fourth and fifth grade, I started to have more success in my classes. Starting in seventh grade, I started to maintain a 4.0 GPA and maintain straight A’s throughout the rest of my years at middle school. Then, once I got to high school, I started to take more rigorous classes such as AP subjects, Dual Credit classes, and Honors classes.  Music is most definitely the biggest factor in my academic success. Without it, I do not believe that I would be able to maintain the time management and complex thinking skills that I have today.

I believe that music has made me into an amazing student that is able to pick up concepts better than I ever could before. Because of music, I have a hobby that I can look forward to, relax, and de-stress from studying in my core subjects. It has also allowed me to continue my French education so that, eventually, I will be bilingual. I am excited to be able to further my education in college, and I know that it will be thanks to the fact that I am a performing artist.

East Aurora High School

From East Aurora High School, the recipient was Daniela Velazquez!

The Winning Submission

Ever since the 5th grade, I have always been actively involved in both band and choir. Once I got to high school I joined as many ensembles as I could. I joined and auditioned into my school’s top band and choir; I played in both Jazz Bands; I was in the marching band as a member and a section leader; I was part of the pit for our musical; I auditioned for ILMEA and got to perform with the honors Choir twice. I did all this while taking all honors and AP classes. Doing so much has led to classmates calling me a “try-hard” and “extra” but while they laughed at me for being an overachiever, I learned important skills such as time management and refinement which have transformed me into a student who always gives it their all inside and outside of school.

The countless hours I spent practicing inside of the practice rooms, whether it be playing runs on the flute or singing difficult harmonies, taught me how to effectively look at music in different ways to help me achieve the product I desired. I have seen this translate into my classwork as I look at different ways to approach writing assignments and as I choose what words to use in a well-thought-out essay. Like the music I play, I took a step back and looked at it as a whole. I tried to convey emotion and story through my words in the same way I did my music. I found myself mirroring my legato and expressive playing in my long and poetic writing. My staccato rhythms and accented notes transformed into the scribbling of my pencil as I wrote sentences and clicked my pen. The creativity I learned from my playing directly translated into my poems for class.

Aside from that, the sight-reading I did in band and choir taught me how to be quick on my feet which has proven to be useful in most if not all of my classes. It’s helped me prepare for timed tests in math, literature, and history. It’s taught me to accept my mistakes in pretests and learn to appreciate the growth I show in final tests just like seeing the improvement from my first sight read all the way to my concert performance.

I’ve loved and enjoyed every performance I got to be a part of and cannot imagine who I would be without music. I mean it when I say that performing has taught me discipline and application. It’s also most importantly taught me how to enjoy school and all the opportunities given to me. I only hope that I can continue to fill my life with my love for music and education as I continue to grow as a musician and into adulthood.

Kaneland High School

From Kaneland High School, the recipient was McKenna Goss!

The Winning Submission

I’ve loved performing arts since elementary school. I always felt like I truly came alive the second I stepped on that stage. Being in the performing arts has taught me that fortune favors the brave. David Walsch once said, ” Life starts at the end of your comfort zone”. Performing arts has pulled many valuable traits out of me that have helped me in high school, and that I know will help me as I move forward in life beyond high school.

Being a performer means ignoring your fears, getting up time and time again to perform even if you’re shaking. Pushing myself past my fears repeatedly has made me confident in my education because everything pales in comparison. When it comes time in my AP Spanish class to present and I get the normal jitters, I feel comfort knowing all the times that I’ve gotten through the fear just fine.

A couple of years ago I was talking to an upperclassman in theater, and he said something that stuck with me. Sitting on the floor in the music hallway, he talked about how he kept auditioning and performing because he learned to love the fear and the rush that comes after. He said that eventually, that fear left him and now it’s second nature. Ever since, I have continued to ruthlessly throw myself at opportunities to reach this level of homeostasis, if you will. The performing arts have given me the priceless trait of being confident in myself in the face of adversity.

Performing arts has also taught me to be insanely open-minded and accepting of fellow students in school. Putting myself in the shoes of various characters has allowed me to empathize more with the people in my life similar to those characters. Diving into the psychology of different characters has also taught me more about myself.   In English class, I analyze characters from our books the same way I would analyze a role. Character analysis definitely is a skill that I use both in theater, the classroom, and in life. In the future, I will use the things I’ve learned to approach the world with empathy.

The valuable lessons I’ve learned from theater have enriched my high school education and I am confident they will enrich the rest of my life. We never know how long we will have on this earth, so with the time we have, I am so grateful that I have had such a loving, impactful environment that has helped me grow in many areas of my life. I look forward to the future where I can continue to perform and inspire others to become their best selves as well.

Geneva Community High School

From Geneva Community High School, the recipient was Hannah Thill!

The Winning Submission

In the midst of a chaotic school day, I place my viola on my shoulder and draw my bow across its strings. For 50 minutes, I am transported out of the school, completely enthralled in the world of orchestra. I have always been an honors student, with a schedule packed with courses designed to challenge every area of my mind, but orchestra is a release. Challenging as it may be, music provides a release, a chance for me to express whatever emotions I may be feeling into art. Recharging for the school day, music leaves me more focused and ready to tackle the concepts of my core classes.

As I play a Bach fugue, I notice the patterns in the music, and how the melodies and counterpoints interact between sections and seamlessly transform over time. Seamlessly threaded together, a pattern can be found in this art. Finding patterns in life is necessary; from geometric sequences to sentence structures, patterns dictate how we live. Identifying these patterns in music has translated into my academic courses, translating the creativity I thrive in into logic.

But music isn’t solely about patterns, as prominent as they may be. Music expounds upon human emotions. Every feeling is perfectly planned out, the sheet music in front of me is a roadmap of emotions. How is this any different than in an English class? The author uses their sentence structure and words to generate emotions just like composers with their music.

All of this, identifying patterns, and seeing how emotions are seamlessly woven into every aspect of life, translate into my core classes. I find myself excelling through these lessons music teaches me, and I use the escape my orchestra class provides me to prepare for the courses ahead of me. The bell rings, and orchestra class is over, but the lessons learned in orchestra will remain with me throughout the day, throughout my life.

We are proud to be able to support two organizations through the Chris Patterson Memorial Motorcycle Ride again this year. Through the proceeds of this event, we donated $2,600 to Freedom Farms for Vets in Wadsworth, IL, and $2,600 to the Music Ministries at Immanuel Lutheran Church & School in Batavia, IL. Donations like this are only possible because of the generosity of our donors and we thank you for making our mission to honor Christopher’s legacy possible! For God, For Country, For Music

The 2022 Red Tie Gala will be held on March 5th, 6-10 pm at the Aquaviva Winery in Maple Park, IL. We are looking forward to holding this event again after the two-year hiatus because of the pandemic. It is sure to be a fantastic evening!! We hope to see you all there! Tickets will go on sale soon.    

Join us as we put the “FUN” back in Fundraising! This is our major fundraiser.  It is a semi-formal, exclusive night and always includes amazing music, food, and auction items. The proceeds from this event go towards funding our yearly Performing Arts Awards.  Currently, we offer these awards at 5 area high schools. Each is a $1000 cash-award given to a graduating senior who has participated in the Performing Arts.  For more information about these awards and how to apply visit our Awards Page

Attaching Chris Patterson's picture to the new Gold Star wall.  Mission BBQ in Downer's Grove, IL.

Mission BBQ in Downer’s Grove has created a Gold Star Wall. Earlier this month, Christopher’s picture was the first to be added.

If you aren’t familiar with the term Gold Star, it originated during World War I when families would hang a blue star in their window to show that they had a loved one serving in the armed forces. If their family member was wounded the blue star was replaced with a silver one and if they died in service it was replaced with a gold star. The family is referred to as a Gold Star family. You might also see the term used with relationship titles such as Gold Star Mother, Gold Star Father, or Gold Star Siblings. This tradition still continues today.

MISSION BBQ (Downer’s Grove, IL) is one of the sponsors of The SPC Chris Patterson Motorcycle Ride on Saturday, August, 14th, 2021. Other sponsors include Excel Automotive Repair (St. Charles, IL), Gun Barrel Coffee (Batavia, IL), and Fox River Harley-Davidson (St. Charles, IL).

Performing Arts Award

The Chris Patterson Memorial Foundation is excited to announce the 2021 recipients of the Chris Patterson Performing Arts Award.

West Aurora High School

From West Aurora High School, the recipient was Allison Tremaine!

The Winning Submission

Stillness. In spite of all of the performances, bonding sessions, and rehearsals; the stillness of walking back to your car resting under the streetlamp of an empty parking lot gave me one of the most surreal feelings I have ever experienced. One that can only be achieved by waking up at 5 am, going to school, stressing about when you’re going to find the time to do your AP homework, and staying until 11 pm after a disastrous first day of tech week. While being involved in stage crew, wind symphony, marching band, and pep band; I’ve grown accustomed to a rigorous schedule. The time management skills I’ve gained over the years have helped not only maintain my grades as I do the things, I love but have also kept me from losing my sanity. Especially on the Fridays when I had crew after school, a football game after that, and a paper on The Crucible due the same night.

With covid, the days melted together. Without being able to rehearse like we normally do, my appreciation for the fine arts surfaced as I came to realize that it is the reason many students find the motivation to go to school and have their work done for class. With the monotony of sitting at home typing on the computer for 8 hours a day, thank goodness marching band drilled a sense of discipline into me. Otherwise, I am fairly certain I would not have the grades I do right now. While I don’t miss practicing slides or run-on-step in 90-degree weather, the mental and physical discipline from marching band did come in handy when I was about to have a break-down over the sea of AP Physics work I had to do at the end of Junior year when the lockdown began.

The one overarching theme I’ve found that can reach every area of the fine arts is that time passes, but family stays. I had been asked before a football game by a reporter from the school newspaper, “what is one word that describes the fine arts”, and I of course said “family” She laughed and told me about how every person she interviewed had given her the same answer. Since most of the students in the AP programs are also in the fine arts, it was very easy to translate that sense of community to a classroom environment. Since we all knew each other, it made my learning experience so much easier because I didn’t have to deal with the anxiety of meeting and trying to get along with new people.

To think I wouldn’t have met so many more of these amazing people if I hadn’t been scared into joining stage crew. Yes. Scared; by my trumpet section leader my freshman year to be exact (who would later play Seymour in our production of Little Shop that spring). The connections and motivations that the fine arts give me to do well in school are what have gotten me through my last four years at West. And when I close my eyes and see my car in the distance, bathed under the warm light of that streetlamp, I will remember the friendships, heartaches, laughter, and tears that allowed me to achieve academic success thanks to the fine arts.

Batavia High School

From Batavia High School, the recipient was Alexander Holzman!

The Winning Submission

Most nights before the pandemic, after everyone else had gone home, you would have found me still at school if you peeked in practice room F. It is so rare to get a moment to play music alone, with no one else listening in—no audience and no expectations from anyone else—and I took advantage of every one of those opportunities. Being in performing arts has taught me not to take chances for granted, among other things, shaping me and who I am today.

Whether it is when I play flute in band class, or piano for myself, I know I am where I belong. There is a bond that cannot be broken. I pour not just my effort but also my emotions into music—fear, anger, sadness, and hope—and it gives me satisfaction in return.

Music has brought me out of my middle-school bubble. When I first started high school, I was nervous, awkward, and, honestly, a little antisocial. A grueling marching band repertoire of 8-hour practices, 6 days a week did most of the work for me. Standing side by side, day in, and day out, with 100 kids for a whole summer? We could not help but bond. Before my freshman year, I would never have expected to go to an escape room and a hiking trip with anyone, much less the 5 flutists that became my closest friends.

In marching band, our competition scores are not just based on the group as a whole, but also focused on individuals. Therefore, in practice, everyone constantly focuses on ways to get better—and your friends or leaders will help correct you when you mess up or when there’s a really difficult part of a show. However, they will not truly catch the smaller details unless you actively mention it. By being in marching band, I learned how to ask for help, rather than waiting for people to help me. When I am in class and do not understand something, I am now confident enough in my own ability that I can turn and admit to a friend that I do not get it and ask them to explain.

Band also underscored the value of self-reliance. Mr. Owen and BVK, my band directors, would always mention “Rule number 9” in the midst of a school concert or marching band competition. Everyone recited it as soon as it came up: “Figure it out!” No one else was going to hold me accountable—I had to hold myself accountable. One time, we were at a football game and had left the field to warm up. Horrified, I realized that I left my hat on the bench in the rush off the field, but it was too late. So, I waited until we entered again and were watching the cheer team’s performance happen ahead of us. I quickly ran and grabbed my hat. This newfound sense of independence that I had transferred over to my classes as well—I did not need someone supervising me for when I did poorly on an assignment or test because I was already looking ahead at the next steps and how to improve. I figured it out.

Like individual notes joining to create a song, music has come together in many ways throughout my life, playing a crucial part in shaping my expectations, my personality, and whom I choose to be.

East Aurora High School

From East Aurora High School, the recipient was Alan Terrazas!

The Winning Submission

Participating in the performing arts ended up being more beneficial than I anticipated when I first picked up the alto saxophone in fifth grade. Back then, I used to believe that being part of my school’s concert band would only be something to enjoy on the side while I focused on school. However, when I began to take it seriously in high school, it became a whole different story due to the fact that we now had auditions. My personal drive and my rigorous practicing in order to be, and remain, in the top bands ended up helping me improve my quick-thinking abilities, explanation skills, and motivation which proved beneficial in the core classes I took in high school.

Being able to think quickly and critically is a skill that every musician should have. The ability to recognize, prepare, and react to the rhythms as quickly and accurately as possible is critical in either a sight-read or a change in music during rehearsal. Having been doing this for several years helped me greatly in my math and science courses. In these classes there are usually, a lot of material and concepts to cover within a unit meaning they are often fast-paced and usually have a lot of content in their exams. When confronted with a problem, I would quickly recognize what it was asking, I was able to plan the equations necessary, and finally, write everything down. It was because of the quick-thinking skills that were strengthened in the concert band, tests in these courses were a lot easier to complete while still being highly accurate.

Whenever we did not pick up our instruments, we had writing assignments that focused on how a section of music felt and how their musical elements helped enforce that feeling. We developed arguments to prove our claims, similar to how most languages and history courses developed arguments. When working on these assignments, I tried to be as descriptive as possible as music can often be difficult to interpret. This benefited my language and history courses when it came to writing argumentative essays as I would try to use the evidence I found to their full use and explain them thoroughly to help prove my claim. This is shown in my AP test scores as I managed to pass both the English Language and U.S. history exams with a 5 and a 4. If it wasn’t for those assignments, my writing abilities would not be as heightened as they are today.

My motivation took a toll between my sophomore and junior year due to a surgery that I had over the summer. Once I physically healed, the marching band season was only one week away. I hadn’t mentally healed before the marching season began however, little by little I began to feel better and better. Marching with my friends and performing with them helped me get out of my stump and start remembering all of the reasons why I kept pushing forward every day. Being on that field and rehearsing drills got me active again and helped me feel better about myself. I felt so much more motivated that at the end of the year I decided to run for drum major and eventually obtain the position. I would have done my absolute best as drum major if the pandemic didn’t occur. Coming back after my surgery I wasn’t too excited at first, but once I arrived, I felt much better. Being out there helped return my drive to keep improving not only my musicality but in my education and in life as well.

As I mentioned before, being in the performing arts helped me increase my quick thinking, explanation skills, as well as my motivation which led to a benefit for all non-music-related courses. Without the aid of my concert band courses over the past four years, I would not be this well of a student nor be this well a musician. As a result, I see myself going to a four-year college next year and beginning my studies to become a pediatrician where I can put the abilities I gained into full use.

Kaneland High School

From Kaneland High School, the recipient was Maxine Ocampo!

The Winning Submission

Being involved with the performing arts all throughout high school has greatly assisted me in my core educational classes. This is because being a part of the arts program has helped me come out of my shell and express myself more. Back when I was a freshman, I was a pretty quiet kid who mostly kept to herself. However, after four years of participating in marching band, winter percussion, percussion ensemble, and seven theater productions, I can confidently say that I am not the same shy student that I used to be. By being more comfortable and open with my band and theater families, I started to gain more confidence in myself, which in turn helped me be a more active student during my day-to-day classes. I started being more involved in class discussions, became more open to collaborating with other students when it came to classwork, and took more initiative in group projects than I previously would. My leadership skills are also another reason for this, as I have greatly improved upon these skills from being given leadership roles in theater, such as student director and stage manager. By being placed in these positions, I learned how to take control over certain situations when needed and how to properly lead a group of people. I also learned what type of leader I strive to be, which is someone who takes care of those they are responsible for and makes sure that nobody feels left out in any way. After growing into a more active student who is more confident in herself and more open to communicating and connecting with others, I currently feel ready to take on the next chapter of my life beyond high school, and I have the performing arts to thank for that.

Geneva Community High School

From Geneva Community High School, the recipient was Hannah Bolender!

The Winning Submission

The impact on Music in my Education

At age six, I attended my first violin lesson, slowly learning the building blocks to becoming the musician that I am today. My teacher was strict but taught me to strive for my best. In the seventh grade, I participated in my first youth symphony. There, we dissected Dvorak’s New World Symphony by its “chapters”, articulating the colors and emotions that the music communicated. In taking music theory for the first time, math finally felt applicable. As a teacher with six violin students, I’ve learned the value of education firsthand, and how to cater a lesson to the best of a student’s needs.

These music concepts flowed directly into academic strengths, and I found myself using the same tools in high school. I studied in the same way that I learned a piece, made use of auditory and visual techniques, and never hesitated to ask for clarification. More specifically, the learning curve of violin has taught me how to tackle physics with patience and practices Symphony rehearsals taught me the value of deep analysis that I now carry through my passion for literature and writing. It has driven my interest in the government, and I hope to carry that through law school. My participation in school orchestra, music theory classes, and community arts programs has left me a toolbox of resources, ultimately making me a strong, confident, and articulate voice in my community.

Wayback Wednesday is a series featuring historical figures with a record of military service and a connection to the Arts.

This week features Robert “Bob” Ross painter and airman.

Imagine yourself as a recently discharged airman circa 1983. Having enlisted in 1980 you’ve completed your 36 months of service, and while you are proud to have served you are also delighted to be a civilian once again. In particular, on this Sunday, you are thrilled to be watching a ball game with friends, food, and beer. You only have to find the right station on the TV for the game. As you twist the heavy nob on your set, clunking past static and stations, a face appears that stops your sojourn through the numbers. The halo of permed hair is different, as are the civilian clothes and easy smile, but there’s no doubt about it. The man on the screen, talking about “happy little clouds” is Bob ‘Bust’em up Bobby’ Ross. Your old sergeant and tour guide to hell.

Robert Norman Ross was born in Daytona Beach Florida on October 29, 1942. At age 18, he enlisted in the Air Force and was trained as a medical records specialist. Over the next 20 years, he rose through the ranks to Master Sergeant. Towards the end of his career, he found himself posted as first sergeant at Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks Alaska. Ross later stated it was the first time he had seen snow. Coming across such cold climes late in life Ross could have been forgiven for developing a distaste for his new posting, but instead, he quickly fell under the spell of the dramatic Alaskan landscape. After attending an art class at the Anchorage USO, Ross also fell under the spell of painting. This was despite some frustration with the teachers initially available to him, who were more interested in the philosophy of painting and abstract art. Per Ross, “They’d tell you what makes a tree, but they wouldn’t tell you how to paint a tree.”

While working part-time as a bartender on the side, Ross came across a PBS tv show called The Magic of Oil Painting hosted by Bill Alexander. Alexander used a quick-painting method called ‘alla prima’ (first attempt) or ‘wet on wet’ that allowed him to finish an oil painting in 30 minutes. This suited Ross’s personality and philosophy perfectly, and he quickly adopted this new style. During short breaks during the day, he would paint landscapes and gold rush themed scenes on the backs of replica gold-mining pans. Eventually, in 1981 Ross found himself making more from his painting than he did with the Air Force and opted to retire, heading back to Florida to study and work with Bill Alexander. In his time in the Air Force, Ross had often been “the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work”. He decided he wasn’t going to yell again. Ever.

Ross’s wife Jane and several friends of the family convinced him he could succeed on his own in the painting business, and he parted ways with Alexander to start his own art supply company. At first, the going was slow; then, Ross got his big chance. Alexander was stepping back from his show on PBS, and the search was on for a new quick-painter to fill the niche. The Joy of Painting launched in 1983, first airing on the East Coast and the next year nationwide. The prolific Ross would go on to film 31 seasons, each of 13 episodes, over the next 11 years. The show would win 3 Emmys along the way and make Ross enough of an icon that he reluctantly chose to stick with the permed hairstyle he came to dislike because it had become a key part of his trademark. Each show, all filmed in a studio in Muncie, Indiana after the first season, was filmed in real-time with only two cameras. One medium shot, one close up. Ross became known for his calm and deliberate narrative style, and phrases such as ‘happy little clouds/trees’ inspired in part by Alexander and The Magic of Painting. He ended each episode with a variation of “… so from all of us here I’d like to wish you happy painting, and God bless, my friend …”

In the early ’90s at the peak of his fame, Ross was everywhere in pop culture making guest appearances on popular talk shows, on children’s programming (with Bill Nye and Elmo), and at the Grand Ol’ Oprey on stage with some of the Country Western musicians he loved. Sadly, his time was cut short by lymphoma, of which he died in 1995. By his own estimate, he had created in excess of 30,000 paintings.

The rise of the Internet has provided Bob Ross with an adventurous afterlife. His quick style proved perfect for YouTube and video sites such as Twitch that focus on live art, leading to an enduring interest and fame that lasts to this day. Enough so for the Smithsonian to take on the work of archiving a selection of his pictures and items from his show.

Bob Ross dedicated the first episodes of the first and second seasons of The Joy of Painting to his mentor Bill Alexander, saying “I feel as though he gave me a precious gift, and I’d like to share that gift with you.” He continues to share that gift today, a man who helped make his country both a bit safer and a bit happier and more beautiful. Today on #waybackwednesday we salute Master Sergeant Bob Ross, painter and airman.

2021 Awards Poster - Submissions must be postmarked by April 16, 2021

The Chris Patterson Memorial Foundation is currently accepting submissions for the 2021 Chris Patterson Performing Arts Awards. This will be the 5th year these awards have been given out at local high schools. This year’s schools include West Aurora High School, Batavia High School, East Aurora High School, Kaneland, and Geneva High School. For more information about the awards and how to apply please visit our Performing Arts Award page at https://chrispattersonmemorial.org/performing-arts-award/ Submissions must be postmarked by April 16, 2021, to be eligible for consideration.

The 3rd Annual Spc Christopher Patterson Memorial Motorcycle Ride is quickly approaching!

Christopher had talked about wanting to get a motorcycle when he returned home from his deployment. This event was started by the foundation at the suggestion of his father, Bob Patterson, who thought that a memorial motorcycle ride would be a great way to honor his son.

“Chris loved the performing arts! The reason we started the foundation was so that we could support those students who participate in drama, choir, and band. Currently, we give $1000 cash awards annually to an eligible senior at West Aurora High School, East Aurora High School, and Batavia High School. This year we hope to add 2 additional local high schools to this program and to expand this opportunity to the surrounding communities. We started this fundraiser, the Motorcycle Ride, as a way of connecting Chris’s love of the arts with his love for the military. Every year, 2 organizations are selected to be the recipients of the money raised through this event with a focus on organizations that support those causes. It will be a fun day for everyone and we hope to see you there,” stated Robert Patterson, Chair of the Chris Patterson Memorial Foundation.

“I believe that this is exactly what Christopher would be doing. He would have disliked the spotlight of an event honoring him, but he would be riding in other memorial rides as a way to honor the fallen,” stated Social Media Director for the foundation, Rachel Bailey. “It is through events like this ride that the foundation supports programs that are meaningful to who Christopher was and his legacy.”

A portion of the proceeds of this year’s motorcycle ride will be going to Freedom Farms for Veterans in Wadsworth and Immanuel Lutheran School music program in Batavia.

The day of the event, registration will begin at 8:00 am with kickstands up (KSU) at 10:30. The ride will be traveling SPC Patterson’s last ride. It will be an approximately 50 mile, fully police escorted ride. Traveling past the funeral home on RT 31 to Oak Street to Randall Road where it will pass through his home town, North Aurora, to Plum St in Aurora where it will pass West Aurora High School (WAHS) along Commonwealth. The WAHS Blackhawk Marching Band will be playing “Roll On” as the ride passes. The ride will return to Batavia where it will pass by Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hart Road, around 11:30 before heading to River Hills Cemetery to pay respects then returning to the Batavia VFW. Cars are welcome to join the ride!

There will be a post-ride party at the Batavia VFW starting about noon with music, raffles, Two Brothers beer pull and VeteransQ BBQ! The party is included in the cost of the ride, but tickets are available for those wishing to join the party but not the ride itself. The event will wrap up at 2:00 pm.

Tickets are available now:

Tickets are $30/Rider and $25/Passenger and include breakfast, t-shirt, and a commemorative patch in addition to the ride and post-ride party.

Tickets will also be available at the door the day of the ride.

Post Party only tickets are $15 and include a ride t-shirt.

Performing Arts Award

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.

Wayback Wednesday is a weekly series featuring historical figures with a record of military service and a connection to the arts.

This week features Beatrice “Bea” Arthur actress, activist, and Marine.

Beatrice ‘Bea’ Arthur was born Bernice Frankel to Jewish Austro-German parents in Brooklyn, NY on May 22, 1922. After relocating to Cambridge, Massachusetts her family opened a women’s clothing shop. Quiet and introverted, though possessing a sharp wit and an early love of theater, Bea bounced through a variety of jobs before landing in 1947 at the School of Drama at the New School. Fame took some time to come by, with her breakthrough role as that of Vera Charles in the 1966 production of Mame. She had auditioned for the title role but lost out to Angela Lansbury despite husband Gene Saks directing the production. Nonetheless, the role won her a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical that year. She reprised the role in the 1974 film, opposite Lucille Ball as Mame.

Bea went on to find further success on TV. She landed a role as Edith Bunker’s outspoken sister Maude in Norman Lear’s All in the Family, a role that she would go on to play for 6 seasons (1972 to 1978) in the spinoff Maude. In 1977, she was awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Bea is best remembered for starring as Dorothy Zbornak in The Golden Girls from 1985-1992. Quiet and retiring in her personal life, she was notorious as a homebody who loved her family, cooking, and her dogs. She spent time as an activist for animal rights and the AIDS community. One of the stranger homages to Bea can be found in the cartoon series Teen Titans, where the character of Cyborg occasionally summons Bea’s ghost (she passed on in 2009) to win fights on his behalf. This isn’t as incredible as it first seems, given that during WWII Bea spent a year as a Marine.

On July 30, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Public Law 689, which created a women’s reserve for the Navy and Marines. Congress had dragged its feet for the past two (2) years, not wanting to pass the legislation, but it became apparent in the months after Pearl Harbor that the additional ‘manpower’ would be needed. While women would not be placed in combat roles, any administrative, maintenance, and clerical work they could perform would free up men for combat duty. Marine Commandant General Thomas Holcomb was a notorious and outspoken critic of enlisting women, and the Corps dragged its feet. By 1943, the Marines were the only branch of the US Armed Forces lacking a women’s reserve, and it was clear even to Holcomb that the help would be needed.

A late start had the advantage of being able to learn from the missteps of the other branches. Selecting from a group of 12 recommended candidates, Holcomb put 47-year-old Ruth Cheney Streeter in charge of the newly formed reserve. Streeter brought energy, dynamism, and commitment to the job. The mother of four (4), her three (3) sons would serve during the war; her brother had been killed in action in WWI. Foreseeing that war was on the horizon, she had gotten certified as a pilot in 1940 and at the outset of hostilities she had purchased a plane and joined the Civil Air Patrol. Due to her age, her repeated attempts to join the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) were rebuffed, and she was informed in applying to the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) that training or maintenance was the most she could expect to be assigned to. Standouts from the WAVES were selected as initial recruiters, and the high application standards and elite status of the Marines guaranteed high interest. Those women accepted were sent to the newly established Marine training facilities at Camp Lejeune. Streeter requested that recruits receive arms and combat training, but had to settle for demonstrations. Her philosophy was that the women of the Reserve should try anything, except combat and heavy lifting. To that end, Reserve Marines attended over 30 specialist schools during the war to acquire the training needed for the various tasks they took on.

To put it mildly, the initial Reserves were greeted with hostility. That they were commonly referred to as BAMS (Broad-Assed Marines) was among the milder bit of hazing they were subjected to. Holcomb had wanted women of character for the Reserves, though, and by and large, that is what he got. The women enlisted proved to be competent, self-assured, and proud of their contributions; they gradually won over the Corps and became a source of pride by wars end. Holcomb would state at the end of 1943, “There’s hardly any work at our Marine stations that women can’t do as well as men. They do some work far better than men. What is more, they’re real Marines. They don’t have a nickname, and they don’t need one.”

On February 18th, 1943, two months shy of 21 and just 5 days after the initial recruitment call had gone out for the Women’s Reserve, Bernice Frankel joined the Marine Corps. In her application, Bea wrote that “I was supposed to start work yesterday, but heard last week that enlistments for women in the Marines were open, so decided the only thing to do was to join.” She said she was eager to do whatever was needed. Her performance evaluations state that she was open and frank, poised, but also overly aggressive and argumentative. Overall, she did well in her time with the Corps. Following training, she served as a driver and dispatcher at the United States Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point, North Carolina through 1944 and 1945. By the time of her honorable discharge in September 1945, she had risen to the rank of Staff Sergeant. In her discharge paperwork, she stated that she planned to attend drama school. Lacking in glamor though her service may have been, the contributions of Bea Arthur and other women who served during WWII were still incredibly important. So, for today’s #waybackwednesday we remember the Women’s Reserve and Bea Arthur. Actress, activist, and Marine.