Prior to moving to his home state, South Carolina in 2014 with his wife and children to be closer to family, Patrick R. O’Connor taught music for ten years in one of the top districts in the country, Township High School District 214 (Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, Illinois). His extensive experience includes: Music Director and Conductor of the District 214 Honors Orchestra, an ensemble comprised of the most talented students from the district’s six high schools (2011-14); Director of Prospect High School’s Orchestra and Instrumental Jazz Program (2005-2014), Assistant Band Director at John Hersey High School (2012-2013), and Guitar Instructor at Wheeling and John Hersey High Schools (2012-2014).
Under Mr. O’Connor’s direction, the District 214 Honors Orchestra was named an “American Prize Semi-Finalist” for their performance of Orff’s Carmina Burana in the spring of 2013 with more than 400 musicians. Prospect High School’s ensembles received awards and recognition for their performances nationally and internationally, including selection to perform at the Illinois Music Educator’s All-State Conference as “Honors Ensemble” on four occasions (2008, 2009, 2011), and in the London New Years Gala Concerts twice (2008 & 2012). Prospect’s Music Department has been recognized as a six-time Grammy Foundation “Signature School Finalists,” and received the top “Signature School Gold Award” in 2012.
Dedicated to enhancing the educational experience for students, Mr. O’Connor has organized multiple guest artist clinics/performance experiences for students with world-renowned musicians – Vadim Mazo (violin), Bob Lark (trumpet), Mark Colby (saxophone), Rich Liester (trumpet), and Steve Turre (trombone). Providing professional-level performance and learning opportunities for students, ensembles under Mr. O’Connor’s direction have traveled and performed in Cadogan Hall, St. Augustines Church, St. John’s Cathedral (London, England), Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (Illinois), Powell Hall (St. Louis, MO), Indiana Musical Arts Center (Indiana), Clowes Memorial Hall (Indiana), Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts (Illinois), Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center (Iowa), and Presser Hall (Illinois).
During his tenure, Mr. O’Connor was an involved member of the educational community as a Department Fine and Performing Arts Coordinator, as well as a member of the Social and Emotional Learning, Staff Development, Arts Unlimited, and Endowment for the Performing Arts Committees at Prospect High School. In recognition of his efforts in education and music, Mr. O’Connor received the Township High School District 214 “Outstanding Commitment to Education Award” in 2008, and has been selected to participate in the “Emerging Artists Program” at the Rose City International Conducting Institute on two occasions (2008 & 2010). Mr. O’Connor was the Music Education Editor for the Paris based company, EduPad™, which released a music education application for the iPad in 2013.
Mr. O’Connor earned a degree in Music Education from Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington, Illinois) in 2005, and completed graduate coursework in School Leadership and Administration from Northeastern Illinois University. He has studied conducting privately and participated in seminars with the current/former directors of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic of London, Tallahassee Symphony, Cincinnati Concert Orchestra, Oregon East Symphony, and the University of Illinois, Illinois Wesleyan University, Boston University, and the University of North Carolina Greensboro Orchestras. As a clinician he has worked with and conducted numerous middle, high school, and university ensembles in rehearsals, concerts, and at state and district music festivals in the Midwest.