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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Organist and Choirmaster

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. The choir sings 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. 

The choir usually sings several concerts, evensongs, or other special musical events during the year. On December 16, together with Cantate Children’s and Youth Choir, they will present a Festival of Christmas Lessons and Carols at St. John’s.  On March 31, they will present Lessons and Music for Passtiontide.  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  in second grade or older. 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, 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 St. John's choirs for children or youth, or for further information, call Peggy Howell at 528-1138, ext. 20, or email

Organist and Choirmaster

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.  Cantate is a community children’s and youth choir which is celebrating its 25th season this year. An auditioned group of 30 to 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, Poland, Hungry 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. 

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.


St. John's Concerts 2018 - 2019 - For detailed information click here

Sunday, September 9, 2018 -  5:00 p.m.
William Parrish, Jr. and the Cardinal Ensemble

Sunday, October 14, 2018 - 4:00 p.m.  (for details, click here)
Clara Gerdes, organ recital

Sunday, December 16, 2018 -  4:00 p.m.
Festival of Christmas Lessons and Carols
St. John’s Parish Choir and Cantate Children’s and Youth Choir

Sunday, January 27, 2019 - 4:00 p.m.
Cory Whittier, organ recital

Sunday, February 24, 2019 - 4:00 p.m.
Peggy Haas Howell, organ recital

Sunday, March 31, 2019 -  4:00 p.m.
Lessons and Music for Passiontide
St. John’s Parish Choir