April 14, 1959-September 26, 2016
Peter Jay Hopkins was director of music at St. Stephen's Church from early 2014 until his untimely death on September 26, 2016.
Peter arrived at St. Stephen's just as the parish was moving into temporary worship spaces to allow for extensive renovation of our Gothic church building and never missed a beat. He and his wife, Paula Pugh Romanaux (an accomplished organist in her own right), and their daughter Hannah came to Richmond from Philadelphia, where Peter and Paula had been on the staff of St. Peter's Church. Paula is now the organist at Bon Air Baptist Church.
Peter received his B.Music and M.Music degrees in choral conducting from Michigan State University, and was a longtime student of renowned German conductor Helmuth Rilling. He sang in Rilling’s Gächinger Kantorei and Oregon Bach Festival choruses, and assisted Rilling in preparing these professional ensembles for performance. A lyric tenor, he concertized in Germany, Austria, and England in addition to the United States. He also served as a music teacher at the elementary, secondary and post-secondary levels.
At St. Stephen's, he conducted the St. Stephen's Choir, Sanctuary (the Compline choir), and the Virginia Girls Choir, and founded the Virginia Boys Choir in 2015. Among the highlights of his all-too-brief tenure here were a Christmas 2015 radio broadcast of "A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols" featuring St. Stephen's choirs, and a spring concert celebrating our return to the renovated nave, featuring our choirs, musicians from the Richmond Symphony, soloists from England, and his wife Paula Pugh Romanaux playing the Aeolian-Skinner organ.
Peter was a runner who enjoyed adventure runs (including “Mud Runs”) and an avid gardener. He was loved for his warmth and wonderful sense of humor.
You can read Peter's obituary as published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch here.