The Music Team
GEOFF LAVERY (MD) began his professional musical career in Ipswich. From there, he and his family moved to Lancashire and then to Bedford, where he conducted many orchestral and choral performances and musicals. Upon his return to Suffolk ten years ago, he has found himself increasingly busy as a conductor, organist and accompanist.
Geoff is conductor of Beccles Choral Society and Musical Director of the Phoenix Singers, Framlingham performing many of the major large choral works. In April he conducted both his choirs and Lambeth Orchestra from London at Snape Maltings, in an all-Elgar concert, with Diana Moore as soloist.
After ten years, he ended his tenure as Director of the Gippeswyk Singers, a chamber choir in Ipswich that he founded many years ago. With them, he performed a large number of smaller choral works as well as undertaking three successful concert tours. He has worked also with ‘Music in Felixstowe’ for Children’s Workshops as well as directing and accompanying many “Come & Sing” performances of a variety of choral works in Beccles, Framlingham, Felixstowe, Aldeburgh and Snape.
As an accompanist, Geoff works occasionally with Christina Johnson who was a leading soprano at Prague opera, and the soprano Sarah Gallop, giving recitals throughout East Anglia, including Bury cathedral, Lowestoft, Hadleigh and Aldeburgh, where Geoff regularly plays the organ.
Like so many musicians, during the Covid pandemic, Geoff had a period of enforced “rest” from rehearsing and performing and turned to writing a series of 13 “Symphonic Guides” exploring the symphonies of the major composers from Haydn (all 104 symphonies!) and Mozart to Mahler and Vaughan Williams, with the intention of helping the reader to listen and understand them, without requiring a score.
He returned to practical music making last September, and is looking forward to some major concerts in the next year or so, including a performance of the “Armed Man” in November with Beccles and a “St John Passion” next Easter in Framlingham: two examples among so many other concerts!
Carolyn Gibley (accompaniest)
Carolyn went to Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester from the age of 14 as a recorder player and pianist changing, after a year, from piano to harpsichord. Following further studies at the University of East Anglia and as a post-graduate at Guildhall School of Music and Drama she has been lucky enough to combine her love of baroque music with that of working in a small chamber ensemble. Carolyn has played with Handel specialists The Brook Street Band since 1999, with whom she has played at major venues in the UK and around Europe such as Wigmore Hall, Snape Maltings, and festivals in Spain and Croatia. The Band teaches regularly at Dartington International Summer School and has released eleven critically acclaimed CDs, with Gramophone Magazine awarding several of them Editor’s Choice. The BSB’s recordings are regularly broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Classic FM and stations across the world. The Brook Street Band runs its own festival, love:Handel, in Norfolk. Carolyn has worked with The Sixteen and is a regular player with the Suffolk Ensemble. She has edited the songs of the 17th century Italian Luigi Rossi from a manuscript held in Christchurch College, Oxford, and for The Brook Street Band has transcribed Bach’s Organ Trio Sonatas for two violins and continuo and Handel’s recorder sonatas for cello, both of which The Band has recorded. Whilst she specialises in the Baroque, Carolyn has continued to play the piano throughout her career. During her time at UEA Carolyn was the accompanist for Wymondham Choral Society and then in London was the musical director for several amateur dramatic companies including New Maldon and the NatWest Theatre Company with whom she played in some productions of Sondheim. Carolyn now lives in South Norfolk and is delighted to be working with Beccles Choral Society