A Parent’s Perspective: Honoring GHS Choir Director Patrick Taylor

By Robin DuCharme Pastore

In the U.K., Greenwich educator Patrick Taylor would be knighted.

Instead, emotions in Greenwich High School’s Performing Arts Center on May 24, 7:30 pm at Mr. Taylor’s final choral concert were unprecedented as he was lauded by students, alums, colleagues and Town officials between vibrant performances by his students.

Photo: Robin DuCharme Pastore

With s​tanding room only​, our community, including educators, students, staff​ and ​colleagues of Mr. Taylor from Wilton and Greenwich gather​ed in many standing ovations: for the inimitable ​Choral Director Mr. Patrick Taylor, whose dedication to students in Wilton, then Greenwich, for three decades was honored at his final GHS concert.

Speeches praising and thanking Mr. Taylor​ came ​from students, colleagues, elected officials including State Senator Ryan Fazio​ and First Selectman Fred Camillo, ​who proclaimed​ with Lauren Rabin​ ​”May 24 ​is​ Patrick Taylor Music Education Day.​”

Mr. Taylor also shared his journey:

​”Decades ago, I was in a dark place. My college friend had just died. My late father called me​. My dad said: ​’You mentioned that job at GHS. ​A​pply for it; see if it works out; get yourself back on your feet.’ So I did. I found out I wasn’t sick of teaching: I was just ready for a change. My dad’s advice changed my life: it led to my marriage​ and my ​professional triumphs​.​ ​M​y father ​passed ​23 years​ ago. ​ I couldn’t let tonight go by without mentioning his impact on me… Every time I wear a tux, I wear my father’s cuff links. He is always with me,” Mr. Taylor shared on stage.

“Imagine if the world worked like a chorus: imagine how we’d get along and overcome our differences,” Mr. Taylor ​said​ to a packed performing arts center. ​

His colleague shared: “Look at all the people here tonight: ​filling ​​​every seat in this arts center​ and ​in the mezzanine. Standing shoulder​-​to​-​shoulder in the back. Your current students, your alums from Wilton and Greenwich gathered tonight from across the country. You bring people together. You managed to keep your students inspired during Covid: How you taught music – how to read and sing – via Zoom in a room for two years – is a miracle​.”​

“Yes; I was crying,” a recent GHS alum ​and former Madrigal ​​confessed.​​ Mr. Taylor is a treasure whose dedication to excellence. “You are Exemplary in every way,” said Head of GHS Ralph Mayo – has changed lives: ​”My life was changed, ​as your colleague,” said a ​teacher.​ “I​’ve ​learn​ed​ from you.”

“When I was being introduced to teachers​ – I’ll never forget -​ ​you said: ​”​Hello Mrs. Newell! Please come and join us. Please: come and join us.​” ​​​That was the best gesture I have ever had in my career: I thank you. It showed how much you care, how much compassion you have, how much you love music,” shared Greenwich Schools ​colleague ​Laura​ Newell, whose words also generated one of many standing ovations.

“Sing! Sing every day​!” advised​ Mr. Taylor, sharing his personal ups and downs, to a packed auditorium of people of all ages. As is everything Mr. Taylor does, sharing his personal struggles and journey with complete candor was an inspiration, as was the unforgettable passion of the music performed during Mr. Taylor’s final concert at GHS: May 24, 2023.

By Robin DuCharme Pastore, whose poetry, broadcasts & published interviews earned 6 CT Press Club awards & 1 National Press Club award, 4/26/23. Robin has lived in Old Greenwich with her family and dogs since 1991.