Obituary: Priscilla Adams Rigg, 90

by | Apr 30, 2019

Priscilla Adams Rigg passed away on Wednesday, April 24, 2019, wife of the late James F. Rigg of East Greenwich.

Born in Tunbridge, Vt., she was the daughter of Emma and Russell E. Adams and granddaughter of Nina and John Q. Adams. The family lived briefly in Ascutney, Vt., before settling in East Greenwich, where Priscilla continued to live, study and work for 80 years. She earned her music skills at the Rhode Island Conservatory of Music, New England Conservatory of Music (with Yuko Hayashi), International Organ Institute in Haarlem, Holland, with Anton Heiller, and through a great variety of special workshops and courses. Her first professional church organist position began at age 12 at the Quidnessett Baptist Church in North Kingstown. Next it was Music Director at the Navy Chapel at Quonset Naval Air Station where she played for Protestant, Catholic and Jewish services and directed their choirs of children and adults. Finally, in 1964, she became director of music for the St. Luke’s Episcopal Church where she remained for 50 years, retiring in 2015. Read an article from that time here.

In her professional career she served on several boards, including the Association of Anglican Musicians (AAM); Anglican Musicians’ Foundation; Anglican Musicians Finance Committee; Music Commission for the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island (chair); American Guild of Organists; Music-on-the-Hill, founder and director of the community concert series; and Priscilla Adams Community Music School, director.

Priscilla Adams Rigg

In 2011 she was awarded a Doctor of Music degree honoris causa by the St. ,Dunstan’s School of Sacred Music, for her work in the Episcopal Church in Rhode Island, music ministry at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and her international involvement in many aspects of her professional career.

Long an advocate for youth choirs, she directed programs for inner city children and made several music mission trips to work with children in St. Vincent, St. Croix, and Grenada in the Caribbean. She was a member of the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM), which is a music achievement program for choristers founded in England and brought to the United States over 100 years ago. In 2010 she established the first RSCM Summer Training Course for children and adults at Salve Regina University in Newport. In five years the course tripled in the number of choristers attending from all over the U.S.

She was responsible for the publication of a new curriculum of Christian education linking music and liturgy that was intended to be used as a companion to the RSCM Voice for Life program with youth choirs. The focus for her entire career was working with children from ages 4 to 18 and incorporating them fully into the musical life of a church.

In 2015 she moved to OceanView in Falmouth, Maine, where she helped to establish and direct a new chorus for residents (featured here). She also helped to inaugurate a new RSCM choir program for children at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Falmouth.

She leaves a niece, Rebecca Adams Andreozzi; a nephew, Nicholas Adams Sampson; and goddaughter Priscilla Williams and husband Tom and their families with extended families in Maine, Massachusetts, and Virginia

An evening prayer and vigil will be held at The Episcopal Church of St. Mary Church in Falmouth, Maine, on Friday, May 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. A burial mass with reception to follow will be held on Saturday, May 4, at The Episcopal Church of St. Mary Church at 4 p.m.

You may offer your condolences or share your memories at the Jones, Rich and Barnes Funeral Home. Internment will be private at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to:

Hospice of Southern Maine, 180 US Route 1, Scarborough, Maine 04074.

St. Mary’s Church RSCM program, 48 Foreside Road, Falmouth, Maine 04105.

OceanView at Falmouth Chorus, 20 Blueberry Lane, Falmouth, Maine 04105.


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Judy Stenberg
Judy Stenberg
May 3, 2019 1:49 pm

Godspeed Priscilla. You were an inspiration to many and will be remembered with much love. God must have needed you to shape up some angel chorus.


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