A spectacular concert has marked the retirement of a well-loved bury musician and teacher.  

Katie Geelan, the head of Bury Music Collaborative, has spent the last 18 years in her role bringing music to schools and children across the borough.  

Although retiring as head of the collaborative, Katie is planning to start up her own business and see how much further she can take music.

Bury Times: Katie Geelan playing the violin Katie Geelan playing the violin (Image: Public)

Having worked with a number of schools across Bury, Katie said: ”People say that schools are lucky to have a musician but I don't think the schools are lucky, I think music is an absolute priority.

"It shouldn't be seen as a luxury because every child deserves a high-quality musical education.

Read more: Manchester Bomb victims remembered by Bury Fire Choir

“I could never see myself leaving this job but I turned 50 this year and as much as I love working in the five schools, I would like to work on a more flexible basis and try and impact more children across the borough and a wider range of schools.  

“I think I'm at the point now where I want to see how much further can take music across the authority, through education and collaborating with different organisations to create events for our children within the borough.” 

Bury Times: Bury Parish Church concert Bury Parish Church concert (Image: Public)

Katie’s final carol concert with the schools, in aid of Bury Hospice, took place last week in what was an "emotional" event at a packed out Bury Parish Church.

Although leaving her position with the schools she hopes that the tradition will continue next year.   

Read more: Bury Parish Church hosts a night of 'hope and solidarity' for Ukraine

She said: “The concert was just brilliant and the quality of the singing from everybody involved was just outstanding. 

“I am very proud it was such a special evening.  

“I am incredibly well supported by so many people who contribute so much to the success of these large-scale events. 

Bury Times: Bury Parish Church concert Bury Parish Church concert (Image: Public)

“Everyone has been so complimentary about the service and commented on the beautiful singing, it is a wonderful way of helping the hospice.”  

As well as being a choral leader and teacher, Katie plays a number of instruments, including the violin as part of her solo act, "Fiddlestix", which has increased in demand over the past few years. 

She has made it very clear the act will continue as well as the running of Bury Fire Choir and Encore Fire Choir which will begin recruiting new members in 2023. 

She said: “I do want to carry with them, they have continued from strength to strength, particularly in the last 12 months. 

“I'm very passionate about both these choirs and hopefully we'll be able to encourage more children from schools to come and join them. 

Bury Times: Janet Adams and Katie Geelan Janet Adams and Katie Geelan (Image: Public)

“Although I will be leaving the schools, a few parents, teachers and pupils all come to the choir sessions so it has become our own kind of collaborative and something really fabulous for our town.” 

Katie also thanked Janet Adams, who started the music collaborative.

Katie added: "It was her vision for schools to have better high quality music that drove her to apply for this grant all those years ago.

"She has to take the credit for what has come out of that project, she's an absolutely incredible lady and I feel absolutely blessed that she's been alongside me to guide me."