Peggy Haas Howell - 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.

Peggy Howell with Martin Neary.

Peggy Howell with Martin Neary.

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.