Gerald E. (Jerry) Patton
Jerry Patton, now retired and living in California, was second tenor in the Voice of Prophecy King's Heralds quartet for 15 years (1967-1982) and the Heralds quartet for 22 years (1982-2004). A fan of the King's Heralds from his earliest years, he joined them at the age of 29, following graduation from Union College.
Born in Cedaredge, Colorado, on July 27, 1938, Patton grew up in a family where music was an important part of life. His father, who owned a coal mine, formed a quartet that assisted in advertising the business. They began singing in the local Adventist church and when Jerry was three years old, started to include him, placing him on an apple box between his father and mother so that he could be seen.
In those early years he listened to records of the King's Heralds and sought to emulate them, viewing them as heroes. Whenever he had an opportunity to hear them perform live, he would be there, making himself known. One of his dreams through those years was to someday become a member of the quartet. Jerry Dill, bass in the quartet, used to jokingly tell him when they would meet that "all he would have to do is hit Bob Edwards over the head and he could take his place."
He attended Campion Academy in Loveland, Colorado, where he sang first tenor in a quartet and in the choral program. The school's choir director, Merrit Schumann, was an inspiration to Patton, who then and in later years, regarded him as a truly outstanding choir director. During his academy years Patton also became fascinated with Perry Como, a popular singer of that era. By the time he graduated from CA in 1956, he had decided he wanted to become like Como and be a nightclub singer. His mother urged him to attend Union College, however, and he deferred to her, enrolling at UC that fall.
That first year in college was a disaster, and he dropped out of school. He got married and took full-time employment in the college's furniture factory, where he eventually took charge of one its departments. During that time, he was approached about his interest in possibly teaching music at Maplewood Academy in Minnesota, an idea that excited him. When it became apparent he didn't have the needed education and couldn't accept the job, he was so disappointed he decided to go back to school and get a music education degree.
It took Patton six years to complete his degree because he also had to work to support his wife and young children. During his time at UC, he studied with William Haynes, Lyle Jewell, and Elmer Testerman, choral directors at the college. He often sang duets with Jewell, and when he graduated, Jewell recommended him to Wayne Hooper and the quartet, who were looking for someone to take John Thurber's place as second tenor. Once Patton's name was mentioned, Hooper and the quartet remembered him, having met and sung with him in earlier contacts.
For the next 15 years he sang with the quartet, having what he would later describe as a "fantastic time," singing and interacting with members of the quartet, Wayne Hooper, and H.M.S. Richards. In 1982, when the VOP discontinued the quartet, he stayed with the group, which renamed itself the Heralds. He found the challenges they encountered as they established themselves as an independent entity to be an experience that tested his faith and, in the end, made him grow stronger spiritually. He continued with the Heralds until June 2004, when he retired.
Source: Interview with Jerry Patton, 2005.