2018-06-21 / Obituaries

Constance Doane Young Andrews

Constance Doane Young Andrews — beloved choral director and organist, spouse, mother, grand- and great-grandmother, mentor and friend — died peacefully June 17, 2018.

She was 97, and was preceded in death in 2006 by her husband of 64 years, the Rev. Nigel Lyon Andrews.

Connie was born and raised in Newport, the youngest of four children of Dr. and Mrs. John Albion Young (Ellen Spooner Gladding). She attended local schools and took independent studies in music performance before graduating from the Lincoln School in Providence. An avid sailor, she survived shipwreck in the legendary 1938 hurricane and continued her studies at Yale University School of Music, graduating in 1943 and winning several prizes. At Yale, she met her future husband; they married in March 1942 in the chapel of St. George’s School.

Following the war, they moved to Syracuse, N.Y., where Nigel practiced law and Connie served as organist and choir director of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. During their years in Syracuse, they were instrumental in founding the Syracuse Friends of Chamber Music, along with Louis Krasner, concertmaster of the Minneapolis Symphony and then head of the Strings Department at Syracuse University. Dmitri Mitropoulos, conductor of the Minneapolis Symphony and later of the New York Philharmonic, took a personal interest in the group, and Connie was active as a musician playing under his direction as well as with Adrienne Galimir Krasner, Louis Krasner’s violinist wife.

In 1953, with two sons and a third on the way, the family moved to New Haven, Conn. where Nigel attended divinity school, and then to Old Lyme, where he became vicar and then rector of St. Ann’s Church and Connie became its organist and choir director; together they grew the congregation and built the church into a thriving parish. In 1962, Nigel was called to be rector of Trinity Church in Concord, Mass., and Connie subsequently became its organist and choir director as well. In 1979, they moved back to Jamestown, R.I., where Nigel became rector of St. Peter’s by the Sea in Narragansett, and in 1981 Connie was appointed director of Newport’s Swanhurst Choral Society, Rhode Island’s longest continuing chorus. She directed Swanhurst for 12 years before becoming director emerita on her retirement in 1993. She also served as organist and choir director of the Chapel of St. John the Divine in Saunderstown.

Connie also was a passionate advocate of musical education for children. In Syracuse, she arranged concerts by professional musicians in the public schools under the auspices of the Junior League; in Old Lyme she founded the “Music for Children” program, which engaged distinguished musicians to play in the public schools and organized trips for children to attend dance performances at Connecticut College and opera performances in New York City. Both in Old Lyme and Concord she organized children’s choirs as well as adults, inspiring and mentoring generations of young singers. She served on the Diocesan Music Commissions of three Episcopal dioceses, and was a Life Member of the American Guild of Organists, the Association of Anglican Musicians and the American Choral Directors Association.

She is survived by three sons: Professor Richard Nigel Lyon Andrews of Chapel Hill, N.C. and daughter-in-law Hannah Wheeler Andrews, Paul Shipman Andrews of Oakland, Calif., and John Albion Young Andrews of Jamestown; granddaughter Sarah Andrews Roehrich and her husband Roland M. Roehrich of Wakefield, Mass.; grandson Christopher P. M. Andrews and his wife Professor Emily Harville, of New Orleans; grandson Paul G.C. Andrews and his wife Monica Cherry of Loveland, Colo.; granddaughter Elizabeth Andrews Richmond and her husband Elliot Richmond, of Jamestown; and six great-grandchildren.

Her funeral will be at 10 a.m. Monday, June 25, 2018 at Trinity Church in Newport, followed by a reception at the church and a private family burial in the churchyard of St. Mary’s Church in Portsmouth.

In lieu of flowers, the Andrews family invites friends to join with them in contributing in her name to Trinity Church designated for its Music Fund, 141 Spring St., Newport, RI 02840.

Funeral arrangements are by the O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home. For more information and online condolences, please visit www.oneillhayes.com.

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