Peter T. Stapleton

Peter T. Stapleton


In Memory of Peter T. Stapleton — Yale Class of 1965

Peter graced the Christian Science Church in Georgetown (Washington, DC) with his unique musical talents for several years. As chairman of the music committee during that time, I had the special privilege of working closely with him and getting to know him. We became good friends who stayed in touch many years after he left. His dedication to church music showed a deep love of God and spirituality and Christ. “But behold, the half was not told me: his wisdom and prosperity exceeded the fame which I knew!” (paraphrase, Kings 10:7) So I am glad to learn of his articles and compositions, which I shall search out. I am especially grateful to learn of his book, New Directions for a Musical Church, concerning an experimental children’s choir program. Indeed, Peter’s endeavors show where his heart was.

May his continued journey be accompanied by ever more beautiful anthems, many of which he himself raises!

Forever his friend,
Virginia Aycock


Died June 8, 2010

Peter prepared for Yale at Greenwich Country Day School, Greenwich, CT, and Trinity School in Manhattan. He resided in Silliman and pursued a combined major of English and theory of music while acting as chorus director for the Silliman Dramat and director of the Guild of Handbell Ringers.

The October, 2010 Newsletter of the Boston Chapter, American Guild of Organists summarized the fullness of Peter’s life:

“Multi-talented as an organist, author, and composer, Peter also pursued other interests in theology and teaching.

“Peter grew up in Greenwich. Early (music) studies were with Claude Means in Greenwich, Gottlob Ritter and Helmut Walcha in Frankfurt, Germany, and Bronson Ragan at Juilliard… He studied organ with Charles Krigbaum while at Yale and earned a master of arts in teaching degree from Harvard and a master of theological studies from the Episcopal Divinity School.

“Peter worked as a church musician at Episcopal and Christian Science churches in the Boston area, in Washington DC and in California. His choral compositions, some of them commissioned, were published by GIA and Augsburg Press, and he also composed for organ and piano. An educator at heart and interested always in the development of the professional church musician, Peter authored a book, New Directions for a Musical Church, concerning an experimental children’s choir program. He also wrote articles for TAO, the Journal of Church Music, Music Ministry, Pastoral Music, and other music or education journals.

“For eleven years, Peter taught ESL (English as a Second Language) at Kanagawa University, Japan.

“Peter’s enthusiasm for life was unmistakable, his wit and infectious laugh memorable. He was also deeply thoughtful and searching and, for a time, alternated his ‘worldly’ existence with periods of time spent in Episcopal or Buddhist retreat centers.”

Peter died on June 8, 2010.