Carlo Curley – with his gargantuan frame, towering personality, and prodigious talent – was a star of the organ world for more than 40 years. He loved his audiences and they loved him. His programmes included something for everyone, from his own arrangements of simple tunes such as the Londonderry Air to the fantastically-complex works of Max Reger. All of which were invariably played faultlessly, always with passion, and often from memory!
His flamboyant showmanship and business-like attitude wasn't always to the organ establishment's liking but the fact is that no other organist pulled-in audiences as large as he did. When churches and cathedrals the world over wanted to raise money for their organs, they would book Carlo to "put bums on seats". More importantly, he inspired hundreds, possibly thousands, of youngsters to take-up playing the organ – in Britain, the States, and elsewhere. His vast repertoire of gags and anecdotes ranged from the mildy-amusing (often told at concerts) to the downright outrageous (usually reserved for conversations with close friends).
Some other organists sought to imitate him, with varying degrees of success, but none equalled him. He was unique and, as the phrase has it, we shall probably not see his like again. His memorial service took place on Friday 26 October 2012 at Pershore Abbey, where the hymns included his favourite, Abide With Me. Afterwards, his ashes were interred in the Abbey's Memorial Garden, along with those of his mother.