Patterson Choir Keeps Awards Coming

Patterson choir earns multi-state honor
By: Todd Martin
Killeen ISD’s award-winning Patterson Middle School choir has earned another prestigious honor that includes an invitation to perform at an out-of-state conference next spring.
The district’s Fine Arts Department announced that the Charles Patterson Middle School Tenor Bass choir has been selected to perform at the Southwestern American Choral Directors Association (SWACDA) Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas in March 2022.
SWACDA is a multi-state conference that includes Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado and Missouri.
“A huge congratulations to Charles Patterson Middle School, the Patterson tenor bass choir and their fabulous director, Mr. Gerald Nicholas,” KISD Fine Arts Director Karen Herrera said.
A year ago, the Texas Choral Directors Association named Nicholas a Young Director of Distinction.
In 2019, Nicholas’ boys’ varsity choir received the distinction of state honor choir and traveled to Austin in February 2020 to perform at the Texas Music Educators Association convention.
Nicholas is a 2009 graduate of Shoemaker High School.
Killeen ISD choir programs shaped his young life and guided his career path.
At Hay Branch Elementary School, he failed to make the school’s show choir, which he said was completely reasonable. “I didn’t sound good,” he said with a laugh in a previous interview.
As a fourth-grader at Brookhaven Elementary School, he did make the show choir and his talent grew.
“I always liked music,” Nicholas said. At Palo Alto Middle School in sixth grade, his choir teacher bumped him into the seventh- and eighth-grade choir.
The following year, Stephanie Allison became the Palo Alto director and Nicholas began learning a more complex music literacy.
Moving on to Shoemaker High School, the talented choir student performed with the varsity choir as a freshman and began to see real talent. “Those juniors and seniors were so good,” he said. “The top choirs at all the high schools were so good.”
In high school, Nicholas took to tutoring his peers. He practiced diligently after school and as a senior was first chair All-State Choir in 2009, the year he graduated from Shoemaker High School. Attending that state convention, he said, was life changing.
The talented musician went on to study music at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.
He was a student teacher in Killeen alongside mentors Amy Triggs and Deborah Barrick.
Last year, in response to the young director award, he said he liked the idea of sending his choir students from Patterson on to Ellison High School where Triggs and Barrick are directors.
“I’m still having fun,” the award-winning director said, “even though it is more work,” he said in reference to teaching choir during the COVID-19 restrictions.