It is with a heavy heart that the New Red Onion Jazz Babies bid farewell to our friend and fellow musician, woodwind artist, and beloved leader Steven Patke on June 25, 2005.
For many that would be more than enough, however, Steven was special. The kind of special that makes any musical group much better just for him being there; the kind of special that makes one thrill at his sensitive interpretation of any style of music; the type of special that makes anyone who knew him glad to have him as a friend.
Steven performed with a number of musical groups and his versatility was legendary. He was not only a member of the Jazz Babies, but also The Dave Stephens Swing Orchestra and the Alpen Spielers Polka Band. Steven performed with many other groups which included recording TV and radio music, still being heard nationwide. Also, he played many casuals with small ensembles, pit orchestras and the Kansas City Symphony.
Many who played with Steven enjoyed the ease with which he switched from one instrument to another. From Bass Sax, Tenor Sax, Clarinet, Soprano Sax and Flute, and, letís not forget the Piccolo in The 1776 Trio. We did revel in his wonderful solos. Many times he used quotes and humor in his solos and always played great ensemble which helped meld a group together. A gig with Steve was a good gig. He was the consummate professional.
With much humor and knowledge and interest Steven never turned anyone aside or turned down an opportunity to help or be of service. He was deeply involved with his family. At his church school, St Peters Elementary School, he voluntarily started and taught the instrumental program.
We are thankful we knew Steven Patke. Few people have touched so many people in so many wonderful and positive ways. We will forever cherish the time we had together.