St. John's music program is an important and exciting part of our common life and a vibrant witness to the community at large. Our choirs for adults, youth, and children lead our Sunday worship at 10:30 and we frequently have guest instrumentalists. We regularly present concerts or other special music to the community.

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Organ Master

St. John's Choirs

St. John's Parish Choir, led by Peggy Haas Howell and composed of men and women, rehearses on Thursday evenings at 7:00 p.m. as well as on Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. We sing a wide variety of interesting and challenging music, from Medieval chant to Renaissance polyphony to Shaker pieces to African-American Spirituals to music by many contemporary composers. We also sing for special events. In July and early August of 2015, the Parish Choir sang three services at Wells Cathedral, England, followed by four services at St. Davids Cathedral, Wales. The group included thirty-six singers, Organist Patrick Hawkins from Columbia, South Carolina, and Director Peggy Haas Howell. The photo on the left was taken with several priests at St. Davids Cathedral, Wales.

The choir usually sings several concerts, evensongs, or other special musical events during the year. On December 20, together with Cantate Children’s and youth Choir of Central Virginia, they will sing a Christmas concert “Carols and Lullabies” at St. John’s. In April of 2016, at a Lynchburg Symphony concert, the choir and several area college choirs will sing the Brahms “Requiem”. If you are interested in singing in the Parish choir, please call Peggy Howell at 528-1138, ext. 20, or email We are always happy to welcome new singers!

Our choirs for young people are part of the Royal School of Church Music program. Children begin by participating in a Training Choir,where they learn to sing as well as to develop skills necessary to participate in worship services. The Training Choir is open to children who are at least in second grade. It meets from 4:15 - 5:10 p.m. on Wednesday afternoons. In February, the children become full members of the Treble Choir and receive an RSCM medal. Treble Choir is composed of children and youth who began singing with the Training Choir. They learn healthy vocal production and being music reading, as well as learning both service music and choral repertoire. They rehearse on Wednesday afternoons from 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. Training and Treble Choirs sometimes sing with the adults of the Parish Choir. To enroll your child in our choirs for children or youth, or for further information, call Peggy Howell at 528-1138, ext. 20, or email

Organist and Choir Master

PEGGY HAAS HOWELL is the Organist and Choirmaster at St. John’s Episcopal Church. She graduated from Susquehanna University with a Bachelor of Arts in Church Music degree, and from Union Theological Seminary, New York City, with a Master of Sacred Music degree. She also attended the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Hamburg, Germany. Her organ teachers have included Harald Vogel, Cherry Rhodes, Heinz Wunderlich, Charles Dodsley Walker, and James Boeringer.

As a choral conductor, Peggy Howell directs the children’s, youth, and adult choirs at St. John’s. She is also the music director of Cantate Children's and Youth Choir of Central Virginia. Cantate is a community children’s and youth choir which is celebrating its 23rd season this year. An auditioned group of 40 boys and girls between the ages of eight and eighteen, the choir is in residence at St. John’s Church. Cantate is dedicated to bringing classical choral music to the children and youth of central Virginia. Ms. Howell was the director of Chorale, the concert choir of Randolph-Macon Woman's College from 1996-2001.

Peggy Haas Howell is well-known as an organ recitalist in the United States and Europe. She has won top prizes in many organ playing competitions, including first prize in the National Young Artists Organ Playing Competition of the American Guild of Organists (1974), and a shared top prize in St. Alban’s International Organ Interpretation Competition in England (1977). She has played recitals in Finland, England, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, and the United States. She has recorded for the BBC, for Sender Freies Berlin, for the Finnish Broadcasting Service, and for Raven Recordings. Before moving to Lynchburg, Virginia in 1996, Peggy Howell taught organ for ten years at Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. This past spring, she played four organ recitals in Germany, Poland, and Hungary as well as presenting two master classes in Poland.

St. John's Organ

St. John’s new organ was built by Richard Howell and Company and dedicated in late 2011. The mechanical action organ has 3 manuals and 32 stops. To see the specifications and hear a recording of the organ, go to and click on St. John’s.

Organ and Choir Concerts

December 18 ~ 5:00 p.m.
Christmas Lesons & Carols
     Presented by St. John's Parish Choir and The Cantate Children's  and Youth Choir of Central Virginia
     This beloved service of scripture lessons and carols old and new will feature " Christmas Lullaby" by John Rutter,
     "A spotless rose" by Herbert Howells, "Noe! Noe! by Mack Wilberg, as well as works by Willcocks, Laridson,              Gallina, Berg and Bedard.

February 17 ~ 7:00 p.m.
     Gedymin Grubba Organ Recital
      Pre-concert reception at 6:00 p.m.