“Playing for Patrick” held at Pomfret School November 1, combined music and memories for a tribute to Patrick Wood (1982-2006). His teachers composed pieces for him and performed in the chapel where Patrick used to play for the Pomfret School student body. One of Patrick’s performances, the Camille Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22, was remastered with additional instruments and played at the concert. “Patrick, I’m glad you got your orchestra,” said pianist Margreet Francis before her performance.
“In spite of the tragedy of Patrick’s passing, I think we managed to turn sadness into beauty,” said Lisette Rimer, Patrick’s mom. “There is a fine line between the two. You cannot disregard that an amazing person is gone and that no matter how gifted, the trials of young people are real. But there were mostly moments of joy. These fine teachers and performers came together from great distances and played stunning music for Patrick. He would have been honored to see the creativity in his name.”
Three of his teachers: Debbie Beers, Howard Frazin, and Ann Warde, composed in his memory. Two others, Margreet Francis and Kathleen Sadoff, played Schumann and Chopin, two of Patrick’s favorite composers. Most of them spoke about Patrick before they played. Kathleen taught Patrick at Pomfret School and returned from Ohio for the first time in fifteen years to perform in Playing for Patrick. “I think back and ask what was Patrick like?” she said. “And the truth is I did the talking. He did the listening. We just worked together. He was always smiling. I always looked forward to him. He would look at me bizarrely. I got my words mixed up, and he would just look at me, but we got the job done. I couldn’t come to his funeral, so when I saw Lisette was having this, I had to come. It’s been fifteen years since I sat here. It’s where we used to do all our recitals. I guess it’s his revenge to me. Now I’m up here feeling the stress and having to do it. I always say things come in circles, so this is my time.”
Audience members were impressed. “The sound rises to the heavens in that space. It was a fitting tribute and a privilege to enjoy,” said Elaine Nelson, Pomfret resident. Another said that the, “slide show and the performances dedicated to him and his life made us feel the sensitivity, talent, and sweetness of the boy named Patrick. An ordinary fall Sunday afternoon turned into an unbelievably moving day.”
Many, who could not attend, sent donations. “We are constantly heartened by peoples’ generosity and sentiment,” said Rimer.
Patrick graduated as the top scholar from Pomfret School in 2001. He went on to graduate with distinction in mathematics from Stanford but passed away suddenly at the age of 23 while working as a programmer for Siemens in Berlin.
A recording of “Playing for Patrick” will be available online and at local businesses. Proceeds from the CD and from the concert will benefit the Patrick Wood ’01 Prize, which is awarded to high-achieving day students at Pomfret School.