Patricia Ray Osborn Norton was born October 18, 1935, and adopted in March of 1936, by Howard C. and Marcia G. Osborn. At age 5, piano lessons helped to discover her tonal memory. At age 8, she went to summer band classes with her trumpet. The director was Warren Reitz. Since there were no elementary band classes during the school year, she had to wait four long years for more band experience. Pat began band at Harlandale Junior High playing sousaphone. Her band director, Richard Harden, encouraged her to play the oboe with lessons from Frank Sturchio. In the eighth grade, several really important events took place. She became a member of the high school band at Harlandale, conducted a group of eighth grade students at a talent show, and most importantly, attended and participated in the Region VI UIL contest. The aspiration to become a band director was inspired by a band director from Fulmore Junior High in Austin, Verna Covington, a great role model. Pat also played in the San Antonio All-City Band and was a charter member of the San Antonio Youth Orchestra conducted by G. Lewis Doll.
In the next four years, in grades 9 through 12, Pat was a member of the TMEA All-State Band. Also, in her high school years, she was a member of the National Honor Society, the TBA All-State Marching Band, and attended the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra concerts.
In the fall of 1953, Pat entered the University of Texas at Austin as a music major. She played in the University Symphony and the Symphonic Band conducted by Bernard Fitzgerald. She was awarded the “Outstanding Freshman” band member.
In September of 1955, at Alamo Stadium, Pat met her future husband, Roy Norton. In the spring of 1956, she did her student teaching with Vic Williams at Travis High School in Austin. The supervisor of student teaching was Vincent R. DiNino. Pat and Roy married on August 4, 1956, and she began teaching in Brownsville at age 20 on the staff of James. R. Murphy. That fall, she was the only female assistant band director in the valley.
When Roy accepted the band director position at Katy High School, Pat applied for a job in the Spring Branch school district. She was informed that they did not have females teach band (fodder for lawsuits in today’s world). So, for three years, she taught choir and seventh grade music at Spring Branch Junior High School.
In 1963, the Nortons moved to Alice where Roy became Bryce Taylor’s assistant. Pat, with four children under school age, did not teach except for the occasional Alice High School oboe player who showed up at the door. She played second oboe and English horn in the Corpus Christi Symphony and in the Summer Concert “T-Head” Band conducted by Marion Busby.
In September of 1967, Pat became the band director at Marion High School. There were 36 students in the band and they did not meet together during the school day. Luckily, Marion did not have a football team, so there was no marching band that first year. In the spring of 1968, Marion received a Division I in concert and a Division II in sight-reading. Pat’s tenure in Marion lasted 15 years. During that time the Marion Band received 10 Sweepstakes awards.
In the fall of 1982, Pat took the band director’s position in Luling. In her six years there, the Luling band earned three Sweepstakes awards, the first in twenty-seven years. During this period, James Sudduth inscribed “Thematic Variations on Dona Nobis Pacem” to Pat and the associate director Kyle Friesenhahn.
In 1988, Pat moved to Samuel Clemens High School in Schertz as assistant director. She remained there for five years. She spent the last five years of her career teaching band at St. James Catholic School in Seguin.
Pat is a member of TMAA on the marching and concert lists. She has judged in twenty of the twenty-four regions in Texas. She became a member of Phi Beta Mu in 1985, sponsored by Gerald Babbitt, John Bridges, and Billy Harrell. Pat has also taught at the Texas Tech Band and Orchestra Camp for eight years, and the Texas Lutheran Music Academy for the twenty-first time this summer.
Pat continues to play oboe and English horn in the Corpus Christi Wind Symphony conducted by Bryce Taylor. Her family includes her ninety-six year old mother, three daughters; Sandy Ranft and her husband George, Shary Gonzales and her husband Victor, and Carol Jaroszewski; one son, Patrick Edward (Skip) and wife Brenda; as well as seven grandchildren; Dale and Katie Ranft, Nick Jaroszewski, Matthew Gonzales, and Melissa, Danielle and Hannah Norton.
Pat is thankful to her parents for providing a musical environment, her friends and fellow directors for helping her become a better teacher and her children, who learned early in life to walk softly around Mom the week of contest.
Pat’s late husband, Roy, was her best friend, severest critic, and the finest teacher she ever had.