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NAEAP Honors Pat Bishop


On Tuesday 31st July, 2007, NAEAP held its dinner and awards ceremony at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya and honored Dr. Pat Bishop.

Posted: August 03, 2007

Dr. Patricia Allison Bishop, Artist, Musician, Historian, Composer

No nation can survive without its artists; the healing balm of its musicians; or the developmental possibilities of its cultural imagination. In Trinidad and Tobago no one can understand our people if they do not understand the canivalesque; our Ramleela sensibilities; or the piety inherent in our hosay festivals. In T&T, no one can understand the intricate mix and blending of our society's aesthetic sensibilities unless they are acquainted with the work of Dr. Patricia Allison Bishop.

Dr. Patricia Bishop, better known as Pat Bishop, attended Tranquillity Girls Government School, Bishop Anstey High School, the University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine, Trinidad and Mona, Jamaica, and King's College University of Durham, in the United Kingdom. She prides herself in the certitude that she was educated also in the pan yards and mas camps of Trinidad and Tobago.

Dr. Pat Bishop is also an artist. She was garlanded and given a silver trophy for work exhibited in the Shankar's Children Art Competition held in India in 1958. She has exhibited her work in Jamaica; London; Grenada and Trinidad. Her work has been acquired by numerous local corporations such as the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago; Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia; and various private collections in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Perhaps, we can call music her life or say that her life is filled with music. She sang with the Esso Tripoli in 1967; arranged music for Fonclaire, Birdsong, Skiffle Bunch and Desparadoes Steel Orchestra among other groups; conducted Trinidad All Stars, Phase II, Renegades and other steelbands; performed with Desperadoes at Carnegie Hall, New York, Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Philadelphia Academy of Music. She also appeared on programs with Nancy Wilson, Liza Minelli, Ralph MacDonald and many other "stars." She has taught classes for the local music festivals; directed music for the Morne Diablo Folk Performing Company; and worked with Daisy Voisin's La Davina Parang Group.

In spite of all of these achievements, Dr. Pat Bishop is probably best known for directing the Lydian Singers who have left an indelible mark upon the national musical scene. When one thinks of musical concerts; the bringing together of European classical music and Trinidad and Tobago's national instrument and the establishment of what she calls "a completely literate steel ensemble," to accompany the Lydian singers, its soloists and dancers in a wide arrange of works, one can only wonder at the grandeur of it all and utter two words: Pat Bishop.

It is not very often that one gets an opportunity to honor the cultural and aesthetic plenitude of our people; nor, for that matter, are we able to discern always that which is truly creative in our midst. In his Nobel Lecture, Derek Walcott averred: "Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole. The glue that fits the pieces together is the sealing of its original shape. It is such a love that reassembles our African and Asiatic fragments."

For over thirty years now, Dr. Pat Bishop has been reassembling the fragments of that broken vase called Trinidad and Tobago artistic culture. For thirty years she has been fitting those fragments of our culture together in a new synthesis and in pleasing proportions. In recognition of the persistence, precision, and passion she has devoted to the task of re-assembling our cultural fragments and cultivating our aesthetic sensibilities, we are truly honored that she has consented to receive the NAEAP Achievement of Excellence Award particularly at the bicentennial of the abolition of the slave trade.

We hope that Dr. Patricia Bishop accepts our award in the spirit of reverence in which it is being offered.

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