WE all love our music, for many of us it is a big part of our lives, whether that be through listening, watching, or sometimes creating, it spans across the whole world and brings joy to so many.

Some of us love it so much that we are a part of bringing that joy to others, and one of the roles which fits that perfectly is a conductor.

Patrick McCarthy, 75, from Colchester, has performed his final hurrah, as he is set to retire from his conducting and singing career after decades of performances.

Mr McCarthy began his career in an unusual way, shooting to stardom in a show he wasn’t even supposed to be performing at.

It was August 7, 1974, and BBC’s A Night at the Proms returned to a live TV audience.

Patrick was in the audience, unaware that it was about to be up to him to save the evening.

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He said: “By this point, I was officially a professional singer, I had just been working with a touring company for two weeks, and went along to this concert ready to enjoy the show.

“However, the singer at the time Sir Thomas Allen fell ill during his performance.

“One or two people told me ‘You know this, you could easily finish this off’, so I went round to the back of the stage, which I had been to before, and asked if they needed a substitute.

“I told them quite boldly that I was a professional singer and that I could complete the performance, which I did, with all the TV cameras on, and it was a huge triumph.

“It was kind of the breakthrough for me.”

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Patrick said he always had a love for music, playing instruments at a young age, and following the subject during his educational years.

It was this that led to his incredible career, particularly as a choir conductor.

He said: “I was brought up in Bognar Regis and at school played the violin.

“I learned it as my dad did it, and really enjoyed it, playing in the school orchestra, and joining the local youth orchestra.

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“When I left school, I had the chance to go to university but decided against it, and went up to London to go to concerts, listen to opera, which was great fun.

“I then went to Guildhall School of Music part time and then full time, studying singing and opera, and I was there for four years.

“Following this I went to the London Opera Centre, which is more advanced, for another two years, so it was six years of study before I started my career.”

It was from here that Patrick began conducting various choirs, which took him all over Essex and Suffolk.

He taught at the Colchester Institute for a number of years which included producing several operatic shows.

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During his time he also conducted six choirs in Essex and Suffolk, which were the Colchester and Ipswich Bach groups, as well as choral societies from Witham, Dovercourt, Maldon and Clare.

It was at the last group where he met his now-wife Mary, who is also 75.

He said: “I met Mary through the Clare CS, we became friendly and here we are 22 years later, which was wonderful.

“We now live in Colchester together and it’s brilliant. She will continue her singing even after I am done.”

Patrick’s career has taken him cross-country, and he has been lucky enough to perform in various shows, concerts and other special events.

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However, he said there is some that stick out as the fondest memories.

He said: “I have worked for most of the opera companies in Britain at one time or another, but for me, one of my best memories was appearing in Steven Sondheim’s Follies in the West End in the 1980s.

"It was a wonderful time and a brilliant case and does stick out to me as one of my favourite experiences.

“As well as this, I have loved putting on charity concerts for Colchester’s various mayors.

“Every year except one I have done the charity concert for them, usually in the spring, the last one being two years ago, and that was always lovely.”

Now, Patrick has finally retired having led his last performance at the weekend.

It is down to poor eyesight that Patrick was forced to retire, and he said if he could carry on, he would.

But he is looking forward to moving on.

He added: “I would keep going if I could but my eyesight is struggling, and you have to be able to read the scores and understand the music.

“I would say I am content with the retirement and looking forward to doing other things.

“Mary persuaded me to have a dog, who we love, and I can now give more attention to him.

“I am also looking forward to spending time with my family, particularly my granddaughters."

Patrick is fortunate enough to have his next of kin carrying on his legacy, alongside his wife, who will carry on in the music industry.

He added: “My daughter Helen went to Colchester County High School and is now a professor at Cambridge, she and her daughters love music.

“My wife as I say will carry on singing and performing."

Patrick played his final concert last weekend, to an audience of almost 200 people at Colchester's St Botloph's Church.

He described the evening as a perfect send-off for his career.

He said: “It was a very successful concert, my granddaughter played in it and played beautifully, and the rest of the concert was fantastic.

“We were originally expecting a loss but made a small profit which we will donate to the musical charities.

“It was perfect and couldn’t have been a better send-off.”