Laurence Gerrish MBE

was the Choir’s accompanist from its inception in 1949 until his move to Great Malvern in 1995.
Laurence Gerrish
Laurence Gerrish

Laurence was deeply respected by the Choir for his musical skill, the ability to help and lead the weaker parts and his willingness to help and support the Choir at all times.

From the age of 5 years Laurence was a pupil at the Matthay School of Music where Dame Myra Hess was on the staff. In 1933 an organ scholarship took him to Keble College Oxford where he studied music and modern languages, gaining both BA and BMus degrees and regularly appearing in concerts given by the Music Club as a solo pianist and accompanist, serving some time as its president. On leaving Oxford he was pianist to the Joos Leader Ballet School at Dartington Hall in Devon, then joined the music staff at Christ’s Hospital, the Bluecoat School in Horsham, for one year. In 1940 he was called up to serve in the 119th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery and later, as Captain Gerrish, was mentioned in dispatches and awarded the MBE. He followed the Normandy landings and saw action in France, Belgium and Germany. He returned to Christ’s Hospital in 1946 to teach, married Marjorie Eller in 1949, moved to Bromley and from then until his retirement worked with the Bromley Philharmonic Choir, Kentish Opera, was official accompanist at music festivals in the south-east and gave concerts with numerous singers and instrumentalists. He taught privately and was on the staff of the Guildhall School of Music for many years where he was awarded a fellowship.

Laurence Gerrish died on 1st August 1999 in Great Malvern, Worcestershire, whence he finally retired at the age of 79. He is remembered as a talented pianist, a gifted accompanist and imaginative teacher with a keen sense of humour who is greatly missed by everyone.