Memorial Resolution for Professor Patricia Hales

April 9, 2019

Patricia L. Hales, continuing lecturer in music since 2001, died at her home on April 9, 2019. She was 64 years old.

She taught courses in music appreciation and music for elementary teachers for the Department of Communication and Creative Arts, which estimates that at least 4,000 PNW students benefited from her instruction.

Trish was born in Gary, Indiana, and graduated from Calumet High School. She came from a musical family, and her father performed in the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra.

She received a bachelor of music degree in voice performance in 1977 and a master’s degree in vocal pedagogy in 1978. Both degrees were from Indiana University-Bloomington.

Trish studied for five years with the renowned Eileen Farrell, known as one of the first “crossover” vocalists who could sing operatic material and American popular standards with credibility. It was a rare conversation with Trish about music that didn’t include a citation to the high performing standards and influence of “Miss Farrell.”

Trish was a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences, for which she cast ballots for the annual Grammy Awards.

At PNW, Trish led the university’s vocal company, which performed at commencement, gave holiday concerts and entertained in area nursing facilities. She also served as musical director of the PNW Theatre Company and as a longtime member of the advisory committee for Building Community Through the Arts.

Trish loved musical theater, especially the music of composer Richard Rodgers. One of her most prized possessions was a letter she received from Rodgers after she wrote to tell him how much she enjoyed listening to and performing his music.

She served as vocal director for Crown Point High School and gave private voice lessons for more than 30 years. She was also active as accompanist and as musical director for a variety of local theater companies.

Trish’s style emphasized music over ego. She took the advice of “Miss Farrell” to heart when mentoring vocalists: “The words. Everything’s in the words.” Her greatest professional pleasure came from the success of her proteges, but she also understood the importance of sharing the music she loved with non-musicians who would make up the audience.

A deeply religious woman, Trish served as soloist, pianist and organist for the Grace Baptist Church in Gary.

Trish’s colleagues in the Department of Communication and Creative Arts and members of the musical community mourn her loss. We also count ourselves lucky to have benefited from her enthusiasm and optimistic nature. Her contributions to life at PNW and Northwest Indiana will be remembered for a long time.