The Most Skillful and Sensitive Choral Conductor – Chapter 3

This article is about Alfred Nash Patterson, director of the Chorus Pro Musica (CPM) of Boston. He is the reason Serge Koussevitsky, director of the Boston Symphony, called CPM the best chorus he had ever heard. Mr. Patterson had a unique talent for working with a chorus to  create the greatest beauty of sound possible. It was a privilege for me to be part of it and watch him work. For decades CPM was the favorite chorus of Boston Symphony Orchestra conductors. CPM has a website which has greater depth of details about Patterson’s talent and the history of the chorus. It makes for fascinating reading at this LINK.


At that link, you can read of the next conductor of the chorus, Don Palumbo, who eventually became the Chorus Master at the Metropolitan Opera of New York. In addition to his studies all over the world, Don also was the assistant conductor of the chorus for years and watched Mr. Patterson work his magic with a chorus.


At the end of the story, I told of Don conducting parts of the Mozart Requiem at Patterson’s funeral. One of the important parts of that event was a poem in the program. It was written by the poet Jean Kefferstan, a good friend of Mr. Patterson. I searched for a descendant of hers in order to get permission to use the poem in my book, but I was unsuccessful. Copyrights cannot be infringed upon for poems, so I was careful not to print the poem in the book. If a descendant of Jean’s reads this, I hope you will not mind my writing here my recollection of part of the poem:

There is some solace in tides,

the gently rolling in and out.

It gives some comfort that a little boat

may carry this sleeper with his good dream

To his everlasting peace.