My academic studies restarted when I retired from my “day job” in education technology at Fayette Co. Schools, back in 2017. I dabbled in some courses in philosophy, but primarily focused on restarting my study of music theory, with a goal of retraining my ear in the process of recognizing and producing interesting harmonies. Things got interesting when I connected with Professor Joseph Baber, the then composer-in-residence at UK, in taking his advanced theory and orchestration and arranging classes. It was my intent to begin a course of independent study in composition with Mr. Baber. Imagine my shock when, as the fall 2021 semester was to start, that Mr. Baber had suddenly retired. He was in his late 80’s, and in ill health, but no one saw it coming. I immediately engaged with Dr. Kevin Holm-Hudson, who was coordinating theory and composition in the College of Music, to see if he would be replaced, and if so, to find out if I could study with that replacement. I was informed that a Mr. Valentino had agreed to take this on, but they were awaiting full approval of his status for the fall. I was determined, and attempted to find a way to communicate with him about fall studies even before that was resolved, since the semester had, in fact, already started.
Imagine my surprise when, in discussion with wife Dee, we discovered that Patrick Valentino was, in fact, the newly-hired music minister at her church, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. He approved my possible status as an independent study composition student, and I began meeting with him as soon as he was officially hired.
After completing two semesters of collaboration and instruction this month, I could not be more pleased with Patrick’s help. In the last year and a half, I have completed three major compositions, two under his tutelage, and we’re plotting what might be my fourth. I’ve learned a great deal, but mostly I’ve received steady encouragement and leadership throughout this process. My string quartet has received a reading by professional players, and my choral suite is slated to be included in the 2022-23 season of the Lexington Chamber Chorale. I’m besides myself in glee!
Patrick is himself an accomplished composer, using a wide range of styles and ensembles. He holds a Bachelor of Music from Montclair University, New Jersey, and a Masters in Composition from the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. You can read all about Patrick, and listen to a few of his works, on his own website at PatrickValentinoMusic.com.
Last month, sadly, Joseph Baber succumbed to his health problems, and we mourn his passing. I am, however, quite thankful that Patrick was available to step in. The fact that he brought with him impeccable credentials, a wonderful work ethic, and insightful guidance for me and my new-found love of composing, was simply great luck. I’ve already signed up for another year of collaboration with Patrick, and you’ll see the results of that work here.