Category: Archive

Patterson’s ‘moving, powerful’ final performance

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Jim Smith

WESTON, Mass. — Frank Patterson’s final public performance was a moving and masterly work of art, according to those fortunate enough to have seen him at Regis College in Weston, Mass., on Sunday, June 4.

"It was a very special and extraordinary event — he gave a powerful performance," Rosemary Noon told the Echo. Noon, who is the director of the Fine Arts Center at the Catholic women’s college, said that Patterson, who was accompanied by his wife, Eily, and his son, Eanan, thrilled the audience with his warmth, his sense of humor and his magnificent voice.

Sister Mary Ellen Bettencourt, an administrative assistant at Regis, has been to all of Patterson’s performances at the college over the last five years. "We had heard a week earlier that he was ill, but you wouldn’t have known it from the sound of his beautiful voice," she said. "He did have a cane with him and he walked slowly and leaned against the piano, but his voice was as strong and beautiful as ever."

Sister Mary Ellen said that Patterson alluded to his health problems at one point during the concert when he expressed disappointment that he was unable to sing at Cardinal O’Connor’s funeral Mass last month because he was under a doctor’s care. "He said that he was hoping to make up for that by singing at the Cardinal’s month’s mind Mass later in June," she said.

She said that Patterson ended his performance with a recitation of the Irish Blessing: "May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back, May the rains fall soft upon your fields, the sun shine warm upon your face, And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand."

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"He left the stage smiling and waving at everyone," Sister Mary Ellen said. "It was a very inspirational and touching performance. We’ll never forget it."

Flynn "saddened"

Former Boston Mayor ambassador to the Vatican Raymond Flynn was enjoying the entertainment at the Irish Festival at Stonehill College last Saturday afternoon when word came over the public address system that Frank Patterson, who was scheduled to take the stage at 6:15 p.m., had died in New York earlier that day. "It was terrible news," Flynn told the Echo Monday. "Everyone was just stunned and saddened."

Flynn recalled how impressed Pope John Paul II was with Patterson, who sang at a Papal Mass in New York’s Central Park in October 1995. "The Holy Father told me on the way back to Rome how moved he was by Frank’s voice," he said.

Flynn later let Patterson know how much the pontiff loved his music."A short time later Frank sent some of his recordings to the Vatican, and his music was heard by a lot of people over there," he said. "The Faith of Our Fathers collection became a big favorite."

Describing Patterson as a "very decent and generous man," Flynn said that Patterson loved to help out churches with his fund-raising performances. "He’d say that he was trying to earn his way into heaven by doing all those concerts in church halls, but he was basically a very spiritual and humble person whose music has inspired people around the world."

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