An Appreciation: Joan Reddy, Music Director at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

Submitted by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

Joan Reddy – Image (c) Life Touch

On Monday, June 9, nearly two hundred friends and family members gathered at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church to celebrate the life and ministry of Joan Reddy. A longtime Lexington resident and, more recently, a resident of Carleton-Willard, Joan served as St. Paul’s music director and organist from 2001 until her death on June 3.

During her tenure at St. Paul’s, Joan not only led Sunday worship and the adult and children’s choirs, but also directed concerts and frequently shared special music with the parish. Highlights of these extra offerings included a performance of Faure’s Requiem by the choir of St. Paul’s and guests from several other Bedford churches; afternoon Hymn Sings for the whole congregation; and frequent piano-and-violin performances with her son, Conall, and granddaughter, Niamh, during Sunday services.

Joan had a special gift with young people. She taught piano lessons to generations of children and young adults, and led the youth choir at St. Paul’s for many years. A no-nonsense teacher, she knew how to capture a child’s interest and attention: when she discovered that her junior choir members were consistently late to rehearsal because they were loading up on coffee-hour goodies in the parish hall, she began bringing her own bags of cookies to church—only available to those who stayed for rehearsal.

Joan’s strong faith was a source of support throughout her life, and especially in her later years when she faced several bouts of serious illness. Her work as a breeder of English Setters and English Cocker Spaniels brought her tremendous joy. She was an active and thoughtful reader, and a regular audience member at the Boston Symphony Orchestra and other cultural institutions in and around Boston.

As a musician, Joan was precise, demanding, and smart; as a friend, she was warm, gentle, and witty. Till the end, she was indefatigable: only weeks before her final illness, she was planning out repertoire for the 2014–2015 program year.

Joan Reddy as a young woman - Image courtesy of her daughter, Deirdre Ryan
Joan Reddy as a young woman – Image courtesy of her daughter, Deirdre Ryan

From her childhood in Michigan, through many years in Cambridge as an active member of First Church Congregational, through her long tenure as resident and teacher in Lexington, and finally to her friendship and ministry at St. Paul’s, Joan’s presence enriched every community she touched.

Donations in Joan’s memory can be made to the Fender Music Foundation (, the MSPCA (, or to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 100 Pine Hill Road, Bedford, MA 01730.

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