Geoff, thank you for contributing to our series of posts featuring our choristers entitled “I love to sing”. To start with could you please tell us about your background and family life.
Yes surely, I was born and grew up in Mansfield and after school went into sales where I have spent all of my career which included KP Foods and Bristol Myers (pharmaceuticals), finally working for 20 years as the sales Director for Seal Service Ltd., an East Midlands based company dealing with sealants, adhesives, building and roofing products. I retired 2 ½ years ago following a stroke from which he has made a wonderful recovery.
I have been married to Lucy for 46 years. (see 1974 photo of me on our wedding day) and we have a daughter Daniela who has two boys Liam (10) and James (6). Lucy comes from an Italian family and our extended family connections are very important to us and having married into the mafia, I thought I’d better start learning to speak the language !!! which I can now do almost fluently (even better after a few glasses of wine).
When did you become interested in singing?
I started singing in the church choir (St. Mary’s Ladybrook), where my main influence was the choirmaster, Brian Gaunt. Brian sent me on a residential choral course in Darley Dale when I was 15, which I enjoyed and met likeminded choristers from around the country. This stayed with me until I joined Mansfield and District Male Voice Choir.
What encouraged you to join the choir?
Daniela, our daughter, was a member of Cantamus for over 7 years and we became involved supporting and helping the choir. We went with them on several tours, the most memorable being an 18-day trip to Japan in 1994. Meryl Chambers was Daniela’s music teacher at All Saints School, and she accompanied me on the piano when I was asked to sing at a couple of Masonic functions. It was then that Meryl suggested I joined Mansfield and District Male Voice Choir which I did in 2005. Meryl initially put me into the 1st tenor section, but in 2014 I moved to the baritones which felt more comfortable for my voice range.
Could you tell us about what you enjoy about the choir and perhaps tell us your most memorable moment?
For me, many of my fellow choristers and certainly of interest to potential new choristers is the great camaraderie they would enjoy by joining. My favourite, special moments in the choir have been taking part at large venues like the Royal Albert Hall in London, especially in 2018, being just a few months after suffering a stroke.
What are your other musical interests?
Outside of choral music I enjoy 60’s/70’s music, melodic rock, blues and some classical. My all-time favourite band is Queen, who I saw live on five occasions and on other occasions since Freddie Mercury died.
Geoff with James and Daniella