Mere weeks before T&T celebrates its Independence, the country has been plunged into mourning at the loss of artist/conductor/musicologist Pat Bishop. Shockwaves swept across the country at her sudden demise. People were heartbroken. Still reeling from the shock, friends and loved ones slipped past the dense foliage at Bishop's home at #8 Alfredo Street, Woodbrook. Last night, her distraught sister Gillian Bishop received a steady stream of people who came to offer condolences. Teary-eyed, Exodus manager Ainsworth Mohammed gave Bishop a hug. Former Education Minister Marilyn Gordon chatted about her legacy with other friends.
Among those who expressed heartbreak were members of the Lydians' Choir who had been preparing a repertoire for the National Awards Ceremony. St Augustine Campus Librarian Jennifer Joseph penned the sentiments of treasurer Valerie Davidson. Davidson said: "The choir practice took place like normal at the Bishop Anstey High School on Friday night. She spoke about the need to promote Eddy Cumberbatch's concert (Winterreisse) scheduled for early September. She was urging members to come out to practice." Davidson added: "Pat died just as she would have wanted and literally with her boots on-in service to country."
Davidson said the shows would go on as scheduled because that is "how Pat would have wanted it." Joseph said: "T&T has lost a true patriot whose life was consumed with service-service to country, to people and to the arts." Joseph said Bishop had taught her both Art and History at Bishop's High School, Keate Street, Port-of-Spain. As darkness fell, more choir members flocked to Bishop's home. Dissolving into tears, they raised their voices in unison singing "Sweet Chariot Carry Me Home." Even New York artiste Ajahla telephoned to express his condolences at the passing a "great gifted patriot."
Legacy of T&T icon
In Bishop's living room stood Bishop's grand piano, dwarfed by an extensive library. Every nook and cranny of her spacious home, with its gingerbread architecture, bore evidence of her taste-including exquisite sculptures and paintings. A water feature trickled gently next to bamboo. Apart from her extensive art collection, Bishop left a legacy of productions like Misa Cubana from November 2010 which she did in conjunction with Cuban composer Jose Maria Vitier. In his greetings, Vitier had paid tribute to the genius of the Lydians. He said: "The thrill of hearing this music sung by the Lydians, and accompanied by this amazing steel orchestra allows us to contemplate this work against the much vaster landscape of our Caribbean culture."