Pat Montenegro shone with a rare light among the worthy candidates we interviewed during our director search in 2012. He was talented, experienced, eager to take on the job, and perhaps most important of all he just seemed to get what we were all about. So we hired him, and as time went on we realized how extraordinarily lucky we were to find him.
Pat was a talented and tireless teacher, a skilled musician and a man of humor, humility and kind nature. He drew from us the most we could give and then some, and seemed to take all the inherent challenges in stride. He also gifted us with some of our best and most enjoyable song arrangements.
When he started with Pops, Pat already had a pretty full plate. He was teaching at University of the Arts, directing other choral groups and raising three girls with his wife Lauren in South Jersey. But he never missed a beat, musical or otherwise, in the nearly five years he was with us, even as he took on the fulltime job of music director at Old St. Joseph’s Church in Philadelphia. Every Wednesday, Pat was at rehearsal ready to instruct, cajole and herd us into an ever more appreciable chorus that was all the better for his contributions.
Under Pat’s tutelage, Pops was moving into a new and exciting phase of choral performance. We still had much ground to cover with him, and we regret we will not have him by our side as we journey on. But every time we sing we will pay tribute to him in our hearts.
We join Pat’s family, friends and colleagues in our sorrow. May we meet him again one day and sing in his choir.