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, Parish Administrator
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 and made this community their home. They have two adult children: son Leon is an actor, and daughter Lily is a dancer. Since 2006, Barbara has been the Parish Administrator for St. Thomas Church, and she has enjoyed every year.
A Westchester native, Michele grew up in Hastings, now lives in Eastchester, and is a member of Christ Church Bronxville.
Michele has spent the bulk of her career as an investment banker and investment manager at firms such as DLJ, Lehman Brothers, Freddie Mac and MassMutual. More recently she has shifted gears. She was CFO and President of Xylo Corp., a music education software start-up, and now is focused exclusively on non-profit organizations. Since 2017, she has consulted and had interim positions with religious, arts, social justice, and educations organizations.
Her passion for non-profits comes from her longtime volunteer service at Christ Church, and her alma mater, Dickinson College. At CCB she served on the finance committee, taught Sunday School, volunteered with Young At Arts and Midnight Run, and served as the Church’s Treasurer. At Dickinson, she has been on the Board of Trustees for nearly 20 years and has Chaired the Finance, and Investment Committees during that time. She currently Chairs the Facilities Committee.
Michele and her husband Ken (a cradle Episcopalian) have a son Dylan, a senior at Irvington High School, and a daughter Caroline, a junior at Eastchester High School. Michele grew up birdwatching and last month added 12 new birds to her life list. As a family, they enjoy seeing musicals, traveling, hiking, snorkeling and scuba diving.
David grew up in Mamaroneck and brings an incredible wealth of experience to his position as Property Manager. Before coming to St. Thomas, David worked for the New York State Thruway for 37½ years. He managed I-95 from Connecticut to just outside of New York City, supervising a large staff and dealing with all aspects of highway maintenance. He was also the superintendent of an eighteen-family apartment building in Harrison. When he’s not working, David enjoys boating, motorcycles, archery, and spending time with his fiancé, Patty.