County's Pate finds way
to support his love for performing
WESTPORT, Ky. (March 2000) -- Almost everyone has a hobby of one kind
or another, but David Pate has a most unusual one.
by Dianne Stoess
Pate says she enjoys following
her husband, David, around the country
to watch his opera performances.
The Westport, Ky., resident has a passion for the arts,
opera in particular, and performs frequently with the Kentucky Opera.
He has performed in Nashville and Chattanooga in Tennessee, and in Kentucky.
Like most hobbyists, he would prefer making a living doing what he loves.
But Pates practical side led him to realize early on that he had
to make a living, so he developed his own business installing bank security
systems and decorating their interiors. (His Buckner-based company designed
the interior of the Bank of Oldham County and installed the equipment).
I had a background (in music) when I was growing up, (was) involved
with arts and the opera and went to concerts as a child, so I always
kept that interest, Pate said. But when I was old enough
to realize I had to make a living, I got involved with the business
side of things.
Pate went on to college after high school and was a voice major at Bellarmine
College for 2 _ years. His talent won him a summer scholarship to New
Yorks Juilliard College, the prestigious school for performing
arts education in music, dance, and drama. But for financial reasons
he was unable to take advantage of the opportunity.
Shortly after, his practical side took over and he decided to switch
his focus to business. But he continued to sing in operas whenever he
He has performed in 72 operas over a span of 25 years. He said he has
participated mostly in the chorus but has also done character parts.
I do more comedic type things, usually a funny character of some
type. Ive played a lot of housemen (male servants), drunk bartenders
and different, unique types of characters. Next on his agenda
is a possible performance in Chattanooga next year.
His wife, Janet, and their three sons, David, Brian and Matthew, have
generally attended his performances but stayed home during rehearsals.
When he does operas out of state, it involves maybe two or three
weeks of rehearsals. When he goes out of town for rehearsals, I dont
go with him, Janet Pate says. When they do the actual performance,
I usually go.
Now that the two oldest boys are grown, they usually dont go anymore
because they have too many things going on in their lives.
David is married and works for his fathers company. Brian is a
full-time student at Bellarmine College. Matthew, the youngest, still
attends his fathers performances.
Not only does Pate enjoy participating in the arts, he takes an active
role in making them available to Oldham County residents. A few of his
past projects include an Opera on the Square performance
in La Grange, a chamber music concert and a performance of Handels
Messiah by the Bach Society at Crestwood United Methodist
Pate has had some surprising moments, too, as a result of his strong
commitment to the arts.
At its annual meeting held on Jan. 23 this year, the Oldham County Arts
Association, which Pate founded, presented him with an award for his
role in its establishment and his ongoing dedication to the arts. He
was named as an honorary director and received a standing ovation from
the members. Pate said he was completely unaware that he was to receive
Lydia Davis of the Kentucky Opera said she has known Pate for a long
It was a dream of his as a small child to be involved with the
arts, she said. Hes very vivacious. He has a lot of
stage presence, and he loves the opera dearly.
Pate admits that his love for music and opera has been with him for
a long time and goes back to his childhood. He received most of his
musical experience through the school system. He went to young peoples
concerts while in junior high school, and when he was in high school,
he sang in concerts and acted in plays. He was also in All-State Chorus.
Occasionally, he went on field trips, and that was when he received
his first taste of opera and classical music. He was only
17 when he sang in his first Kentucky Opera. He also sang with Louisville
Bach Society for several years.
Pate says he is probably the biggest fan of opera because he gets to
express his art on stage and be a part of it. That is a real treat
for him, he says.
His love for performing has been his passion through the years, and
although he and his wife felt he had no future in a musical career,
he has kept it as a hobby and would like to spend more time on his artistic
pursuits when he retires from the business world.
Janet says she knows how precious her husbands hobby
is to him.
Some people play golf or basketball, she says. They
have different hobbies, and his has been beneficial because its
something that he has perfected over the years. But mostly its
just for sheer enjoyment because he just loves it.
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