So long, maestro, and thanks for the music

TV's Mr Music Geoff Harvey dies at 83 but his show goes on

Latest in Entertainment
MAESTRO: Geoff Harvey leading his band on Channel Nine.

MAESTRO: Geoff Harvey leading his band on Channel Nine.

Aa

Tributes flow in for much-loved face of Australian TV music.

Aa

He's a young man from a very different musical tradition but celebrated pianist Simon Tedeschi was honoured to take over the ivories from the late, great Geoff Harvey when the comedy revue Senior Moments played in Wollongong last week.

The death of Harvey on March 31 at the age of 83 came as shock to the legions of fans who knew him from his 22 years as musical director with the Nine Network and, more recently, Senior Moments.

"HONOURED": Pianist Simon Tedeschi.

"HONOURED": Pianist Simon Tedeschi.

Tedeschi, 37, said while he had only known the maestro dubbed by Ray Martin the "face of television" a short while, he was full of admiration for his talent, warmth and ability to perform just about anything with almost no notice.

"I grew up watching Geoff on TV and he was very much of the old school where performers like him and Tommy Tycho could turn their hand to any type of music," Simon said.

"Given the nature of live TV, you never knew what was coming up - but Geoff had a phenomenal musical memory and could ad lib at will. I'm not sure we will see his like again."

HIGH NOONS: Harvey with Ray Martin on Midday.

HIGH NOONS: Harvey with Ray Martin on Midday.

Harvey worked on the Nine Network's most popular shows including The Don Lane Show, The Mike Walsh Show and Midday, hosted by Martin.

A talented composer, he composed many theme songs for the network, such as those for The Sullivans, A Current Affair and Today.

A cheeky chap with a distinctly English sense of humour, he was especially popular among older Australians, who flocked to shows like Senior Memories, which took him all over the country.

He also spent 19 years as the musical director of Carols by Candlelight, held in Melbourne on Christmas Eve.

For many years Harvey lived in the Southern Highlands, where he often performed in matinee shows, accompanied the Highland Singers and for a time led a church choir.

WITH THE GANG: Senior moments indeed with Max Gillies, Benita Collings and John Wood.

WITH THE GANG: Senior moments indeed with Max Gillies, Benita Collings and John Wood.

A keen fund-raiser for charity, he and his wife Katrina hosted a cricket match in which Geoff's city friends - many in the entertainment industry - took on the locals.

He was also known as a genial and kind piano teacher.

Harvey's last performance was on TV was on Studio 10 earlier alongside its host and old friend Kerri-Anne Kennerley.

In true showbiz tradition, Senior Moments will continue its national tour. A hilarious take on the pleasures and pitfalls of ageing, its cast includes Max Gillies, Benita Collings and John Wood.

For details and tickets go to seniormomentsshow.com.au

Aa