Choir Members Praise Director

Patterson choir alumni at Ellison concert
By: Todd Martin
As Patterson Middle School’s state honor choir prepares to perform in front of a statewide audience next February, former members of the choir remember a committed choir director who managed to combine fun with productive rehearsals.
At the Ellison High School fall choir concert Monday, a group of young men who attended Patterson Middle School gathered for a photo for their middle school director Gerald Nicholas.
Patterson’s 33-member varsity boys’ choir is one of four middle school state honor choirs preparing to perform at the Texas Music Educators Association convention in San Antonio, a gathering of 30,000-plus music educators.
The honor choir application required two years’ worth of choir performance recordings, so former students played as much a role as many current ones in earning the award.
A pair of Patterson alumni, now part of the Ellison choirs, agreed their former director successfully rebuilt their middle school program and made singing fun.
“He knows what he’s doing,” Ellison sophomore Armando Molina said of the Patterson choir director. “I think he could go to any school and rebuild a program.”
“He’s the best teacher I’ve had,” said Ellison junior Nicholas Trevino. “He connects with students. He can be strict when he needs to be and he never has an off day.”
Now in his sixth year teaching choir at Patterson, Nicholas managed to earn an award rare for any director, particularly so early in a career.
Earlier in the school year, KISD Fine Arts Director Karen Herrera called the honor choir distinction “the greatest honor a choir can receive in the state of Texas.”
“This goal is something I didn’t imagine happening for 10 years,” said Nicholas. “To happen in five years is a huge honor.”
Patterson’s state honor choir designation is the first in 20 years for KISD.
To his former students, the director remains an impressive mentor.
“He’s relatable,” said Molina. “He can liven the moment. He brings a chemistry and students feed off of him. We were able to get things done and have fun.”
The current Ellison student said he most remembered a choir field trip when Nicholas took the group to an Austin Spurs basketball game and they performed the National Anthem.