From 1987 to 2011, Pat Bishop was instrumental in establishing The Lydians as one of the Caribbean's premier choirs. Her fervid passion to let the ethereal medium of music soothe, comfort and uplift led the choir to its first of many victories under her baton in the 1987 Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival, where they were awarded the Most Outstanding Choir and performer of the festival.
The title, ‘Most Outstanding Choir’ in 1987 Music Festival was won with songs such as "Let the Whole Creation Cry", "Yamouth Fair", "Down By The Salley Gardens". Pat, like her predecessor, Mrs. Spence, was motivated by a spirit of competition and she persuaded the members of the choir in '87 to reach heights which they never expected. With Pat came with a different philosophy; gone were the days of auditions - whether formal or informal; gone were the days of the necessary requirement of being a Hilarian (past student of Bishop Anstey High School). All she wished were those persons who were willing to try to sing.
In 1995 the Lydians put on its first opera "Koanga" by Delius which was the first time in the world of Classical music that a Steelband orchestra performed a full-length opera. The ebullient Sian Carlin(deceased) from Wales came specially to assist with the accompaniment in this opera. 1995 also saw the formation of the Lydian Steel, headed by the high-spirited Ben Jackson. By the following year when the Lydians second opera, "L'Elisir D'Amore" was performed, not only were there the steelband and African drums but the rhythm of the Tassa drums had also been incorporated into the Lydian sound.
Pat’s expert training and guidance precipitated numerous triumphs for Lydian soloists. at the National Music Festival and abroad. Following a clean sweep of the major awards in the 1990 festival, Pat's tutorship led Edward Cumberbatch to claim the coveted top honours at the Senior Vocal Recital Class at the International Eisteddfod of South Africa in 1997. This musical legacy has been maintained over the years with the Lydians having won over thirty (30) championship trophies in the Festival.
Pat Bishop was one of the most versatile of Caribbean women - a true cultural icon. A citizen of Trinidad and Tobago by birth, she was a National Scholarship winner from the Bishop Anstey High School. For many, Pat was a figure to be regarded with awe and amazement. That viewpoint is understandable when one considers the many hats she wore: musicologist, teacher, vocal coach, conductor of choirs, steelbands and orchestras, visual artist, accompanist and the list goes on! Everything she touched seemed to turn to gold. Yet, despite the victories, the accolades, the awards - including the nation's highest honour at the time, The Trinity Cross - Pat maintained that the 'formula' was simple. It was a matter of "knowing that she does God's will."
It is as the Musical Director of 'The Lydians' that Ms. Bishop was able to bring to audiences in Trinidad and abroad her talent as a musician, producing first-class performances of the great classics by Verdi, Rossini, Dvorak, and Beethoven. She has also presented the operatic works Koanga by Delius, L'Elisir D'Amore by Donizetti and Turandot by Puccini to Trinidad audiences. Pat Bishop did not let her gifts with the paintbrush fall behind for she has exhibited her work not only in Trinidad, but also in Barbados and London. Of interest she exhibited thirty-seven miniatures, wooden bas-reliefs and objects about the "Journey of the Magi" - a series on the pursuit of disinterested wisdom and its consequences. Her philosophy, deeply rooted in classical Christian theology and her life in the church are expressed in these and other art forms.
Following in the footsteps of such stalwart, musical pioneers as Mrs. Joyce Spence and Miss Alma Pierre seemed like a tall order, but as the third musical director of The Lydians expected to continue her predecessors' legacies, Pat Bishop did more than hold her own. She was in her own right, a national treasure.