A native New Yorker, Eric Milnes has received critical acclaim for performances as conductor, organist and harpsichordist throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia.
Recent appearances at major international festivals featured him at Regensburg, Potsdam and Bremen festivals, Germany, Utrecht Festival, Netherlands, Bruge Festival, Belgium, Lufthansa Festival, London, The Forbidden City Concert Hall, Beijing, in Tokyo and Osaka, Early Music Festival, Bolivia, and at Salle Gaveau, Paris.
North American performances include Mostly Mozart Festival, Boston Early Music Festival, Santa Fe Festival, and as conductor with Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Portland Baroque Orchestra, New York Collegium, Montreal Festival, Ottawa Festival, and at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Jordan Hall, Boston, and the Glenn Gould Theater, Toronto.
His discography features him on over fifty CD’s for the ATMA and PGM labels. His latest disc, Cuidades de Oro (sacred music from colonial New Spain) won the 2016 JUNO (Canadian Grammy) for the best Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral Performance, and was named CD of the Month by Toccata Magazine (Germany). His disc of New Brandenburg Concertos was named CD of the Month by WQXR radio in New York. Handel’s Messiah under his direction was broadcast, live, coast to coast, on NPR’s Performance Today. Eric is also a recording producer for labels such as Blue Heron (Boston) and ATMA Classique (Montreal).
Eric was long-time Director of Music at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Locust Valley, New York, and Director of the Trinity Consort, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Portland, Oregon. He was recently awarded the Bishop’s Medal for Distinguished Service to the Episcopal Church. His degrees are from Columbia University and The Juilliard School, New York. He takes greatest pride in the accomplishments of his daughters Mary Leah (Vanderbilt University, ’15) and Hannah (Columbia College, ’16).
Barbara Gessler, Secretary
Barbara grew up in Germany. She received a Master’s degree from the University of Cologne in German Literature, Philosophy and Communications. During a year of studies in Vienna she met her husband Paul (who is from Michigan). Both relocated to Amsterdam, where they lived for almost 10 years. In Amsterdam Barbara worked as an editor and translator, specializing in subtitling, and also trained as a gold and silversmith. In 1998 they moved to Larchmont/Mamaroneck. Their son Leon studies acting at Carnegie Mellon University, and daughter Lily is a student at MHS and at the School of American Ballet. Since 2006, Barbara has worked as the Parish Secretary for St. Thomas Church, a job she loves.
Kate Beeby, Director of Christian Education
Kate Beeby serves as Sunday School director, overseeing Christian formation programs for children and families, including the nursery and Sunday School at St. Thomas. An almost-cradle-Episcopalian, Kate was born in St. Louis, Missouri, then moved east to Duxbury, Massachusetts, where, through a friend, she found her way to a vibrant Episcopal church there. After high school, Kate left small town life for the big city, earning a B.A. from NYU and an M.A. in urban policy from the New School where she met her husband, Louis Scenti. For a number of years, Kate focused on her career, holding several management and analytical roles at the NYC Department of Sanitation, followed by a position as an administrative dean at Columbia University. Nine years ago, seeking balance and community connections, Kate shifted gears so she could spend more time with her young daughter, Addie, as well as cultivate some deeper roots here. In their search for a diverse and welcoming faith community, Kate’s family chose St. Thomas as their church home. Kate is honored to serve as Sunday School Director and knows that the children of St. Thomas Church, through their abundant curiosity and questions, help her to grow in her own faith, while she helps them to grow in theirs. Kate is a member of Forma, an association of Episcopal educators and Christian formation professionals, and holds Safe Church certification.