Whitewater musician remembered for talent, charity
WHITEWATER When the reggae-rock band Pipe Circus played at Summerfest in 2011, singer and guitarist Pat Peterson took the stage 10 days after surgery to remove a brain tumor.
If you were in the crowd that night, you probably didn’t notice, said Michael Stocklin, Peterson’s bandmate in Pipe Circus.
“He was so determined to play that show that he pretty much willed himself the strength to go and play,” Stocklin said. “Nobody would have ever really known, other than us on stage, that he had surgery 10 days before.”
Peterson, a Whitewater native and well-known local musician, succumbed to the tumor Feb. 7. He was 40.
Friends and fellow musicians remember him as a talented and driven man whose second passion was helping others. Peterson’s friend Brynn Kanikula said Peterson organized and played at a number of benefit concerts for local food pantries.
“He had that spark—that thing that musicians have when they get on stage that’s just really compelling—in addition to having a really big heart and wanting to do things to help with the community,” Kanikula said.
Peterson and his wife, Ruth, took part in more than 100 events for local charities such as the Salvation Army and Red Cross. The couple also organized the Second Street Hope Festival and other benefits that raised more than $75,000 for local families or charities.
As is fitting for someone like Peterson, Pipe Circus members are working to organize a benefit concert for his family this summer, drummer Mike McKelvey said. Peterson is survived by his wife and his daughter, Jazmine.
McKelvey said fans and friends can get more information about the benefit on the Pipe Circus Facebook page or online at innabeat.com.
The band will have other musicians step in to “try to fill Pat’s shoes” at the shows, McKelvey said.
It won’t be easy. McKelvey described Peterson as “a monster talent” and an incredible guitarist and songwriter. Stocklin said Peterson was a perfectionist and “workaholic” who was passionate about making music.
That fire didn’t dim with his diagnosis.
“It motivated him even more to do as much as he could,” Stocklin said.
In the years after doctors told him he had a Stage IV glioblastoma brain tumor in 2009, Peterson recorded two solo albums and a studio album with Pipe Circus.
Stocklin said the band hopes to have it released by the summer, along with a live album of their 2011 Summerfest show.