Patton sings good-bye to Cal High


Mihika Gokarn

Choir teacher Nicholas Patton raises his hands and rouses his class to attention. Patton has directed Cal High’s concert, treble and chamber choirs for the past five years, but he is leaving the school this week due to personal reasons.

After five phenomenal years of a thriving choral department, choir director Nicholas Patton is leaving Cal High this week because of personal reasons.

Patton’s sudden announcement of his departure came as a surprise for many students, who were left devastated by the news. 

“He had called a department meeting and we all thought that he was just going to congratulate us on the last concert we did,” said Brooklyn Miravalles-Calceta, a sophomore in concert choir. “The second he told us that he wasn’t going to return to Cal High, our jaws just dropped and two seconds later the entire room just started bawling their eyes out.”

Junior chamber choir singer Jordann Wilson felt the same.

“I was shocked,” Wilson said. “My initial reaction was nothing. I was in disbelief.”

For the past five years, Patton has directed Cal’s three choirs, concert, treble and chamber,  while implementing fun new events for the school, including the Renaissance concert and singing Valentines. This is on top of all of the amazing concerts the choral department has hosted. 

During the five years under Patton’s direction, the choral department was able to grow and reach new high notes.

“[The students] have had a ton of growth, their musicianship and their ability level has just grown exponentially,” Patton said. “I think they’ve gotten really close as a department this year, which I’ve been really proud of.”

Patton was not only a choir teacher. He was also a friend who many students could look up to and seek help from. 

“[Mr. Patton] made sure every student knew he cares about them and that they are important,” Wilson said. “He was a loving, caring, and accepting teacher.”

Other students had similar feelings. 

“Even when things got hard in the choral department, he was always really encouraging and empowering to the students,” said Rachana Balakrishnan, a sophomore in treble choir. 

Most students agreed that choir had a bond like no other.

“This department has a lot of heart,” Patton said. “They’re really passionate, and I can tell they really care about music a lot.”

As time passes, Patton is sure that the students will thrive for that reason. 

“I’m really confident that they’ll have a great time without me,” Patton said. “But it will be hard not being able to keep working with them because they’re an exceptional group.”

Although Patton is moving for personal reasons, he said he will continue to pursue his passion for music.

“I’ll hope to be doing something music related,” he said.

Students are still left in shock at the news that Patton would be leaving. 

“I have only been in choir for a year now, but Mr. Patton was the number one reason that I was even looking forward to my junior year,” Miravalles-Calceta said. “Choir definitely won’t be the same without him.”

Despite the feelings of heart-brokenness, many students are also wishing him the best of luck in his future endeavors. 

“I am grateful for having had the chance to learn from him. I wish him well in the future,” said Avery Teele, a senior in treble choir. 

Balakrishnan also hopes he will thrive in the future.

“I wish him the utmost success and happiness,” Balakrishnan said. 

As for Patton, he hopes that his students will continue to sing and let their voices be heard. 

“If there’s one thing I could leave my students with, it’s to keep practicing,” Patton said. “Continue to lift your voices, because every voice counts.”