Photography

Meredyth (Manns) Jones

March 14, 1933 ~ October 27, 2021 (age 88)

Obituary

Meredyth (Manns) Jones passed away peacefully on October 27, 2021, in Ithaca, New York. The family is grateful to the staff at Longview, Bridges, and Cayuga Medical Center for their tender care.

Meredyth was born on March 14, 1933, in Toledo, Ohio to Doris (Stewart) and Walter Manns. She excelled in piano, organ, and voice throughout her childhood years and went on to receive her BA and MA in vocal performance at the University of Michigan. Her career began at the University of New Hampshire where she was hired in 1956 for a music faculty position and where she met her future husband Paul, who taught in the chemistry department. In those days, only one member of a married couple was allowed to be full time faculty, but marry she did, forcing her to give up her position. She never once complained but continued on at UNH and later at Phillips Exeter Academy as adjunct voice instructor, ran a vibrant private studio, and was the Director of Music at the Community Church of Durham for decades.

Optimistic, fiercely creative, and with legendary energy and drive, Meredyth created scores of musical productions in the town of Durham, gleaning for any talent that might be unharvested and including a multitude of community singing voices, instrumentalists, and actors in her endeavors. From an organist who started a new career to a trumpet player coerced into ringing in Christmas Day at midnight from the church steeple, many musicians rediscovered their gifts through her encouragement. She wrote: “My chief professional concern and passion was to enable as many people as possible to experience the joy and exhilaration of singing, whether as a fine soloist or a first-time choir member.”

Meredyth founded the Seacoast Singers and Amare Cantare, putting on full-scale productions over the years with choirs and orchestras, including Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Haydn’s Creation, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Brahms’ Requiem, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, an Elizabethan Feast (fully costumed and including a Renaissance dinner at the New England Center), and a full Shaker Worship Service performed at Snively Arena. She drew out local teens in musical productions such as Godspell, Emmanuel, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and was the visionary behind the New Hampshire Singing Children, in which she conducted a chorus of 500 elementary school students from across the state for the nation’s Bicentennial. In 1985, to celebrate J. S. Bach’s 300th birthday, she hosted a “Bach Marathon” which included over 150 musicians performing for 12 hours. Meredyth also spearheaded the fundraising, purchase, and installation of an Austrian Rieger organ for her beloved church.

Abundantly generous and a magnanimous gift giver, she adored gatherings at her home for her choirs and friends as well as holidays with family, feeding many and sparing little. Having spent four sabbatical years in Germany because of Paul’s research, she never flinched at stepping into the unknown, which included crossing the Atlantic by ship with two toddlers in tow, diving wholeheartedly into German culture, and even giving birth in a German hospital.

Though she suffered a catastrophic stroke in 2012, she never complained. When asked if she felt frustration, she said, “Of course not. I’m never bored.” Her inspiring patience and endurance throughout her disability moved us all, and at the same time her loving family is grateful that she is no longer confined by gravity.

Preceded in death by her parents, husband, and brother John Manns, Meredyth leaves her children, Sarah (Craig) Cummings, Amy (Brad) Robinson, and Paul (Claire McDougall) Jones; grandchildren Anna, Owen, Talitha, Obadiah (Orian), Naomi (Stephen), Silas (Rae), and Hannah (Kai); great granddaughter Eva; nieces and nephews.

A memorial service celebrating Meredyth’s life will be held in Durham, NH at a later date. If one wishes to honor her memory with a contribution, we suggest the Community Church of Durham Choir Fund, P. O. Box 310, Durham NH 03824. 

Meredyth (Manns) Jones passed away peacefully on October 27, 2021, in Ithaca, New York. The family is grateful to the staff at Longview, Bridges, and Cayuga Medical Center for their tender care.

Meredyth was born on March 14, 1933, in Toledo, Ohio to Doris (Stewart) and Walter Manns. She excelled in piano, organ, and voice throughout her childhood years and went on to receive her BA and MA in vocal performance at the University of Michigan. Her career began at the University of New Hampshire where she was hired in 1956 for a music faculty position and where she met her future husband Paul, who taught in the chemistry department. In those days, only one member of a married couple was allowed to be full time faculty, but marry she did, forcing her to give up her position. She never once complained but continued on at UNH and later at Phillips Exeter Academy as adjunct voice instructor, ran a vibrant private studio, and was the Director of Music at the Community Church of Durham for decades.

Optimistic, fiercely creative, and with legendary energy and drive, Meredyth created scores of musical productions in the town of Durham, gleaning for any talent that might be unharvested and including a multitude of community singing voices, instrumentalists, and actors in her endeavors. From an organist who started a new career to a trumpet player coerced into ringing in Christmas Day at midnight from the church steeple, many musicians rediscovered their gifts through her encouragement. She wrote: “My chief professional concern and passion was to enable as many people as possible to experience the joy and exhilaration of singing, whether as a fine soloist or a first-time choir member.”

Meredyth founded the Seacoast Singers and Amare Cantare, putting on full-scale productions over the years with choirs and orchestras, including Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Haydn’s Creation, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Brahms’ Requiem, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, an Elizabethan Feast (fully costumed and including a Renaissance dinner at the New England Center), and a full Shaker Worship Service performed at Snively Arena. She drew out local teens in musical productions such as Godspell, Emmanuel, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and was the visionary behind the New Hampshire Singing Children, in which she conducted a chorus of 500 elementary school students from across the state for the nation’s Bicentennial. In 1985, to celebrate J. S. Bach’s 300th birthday, she hosted a “Bach Marathon” which included over 150 musicians performing for 12 hours. Meredyth also spearheaded the fundraising, purchase, and installation of an Austrian Rieger organ for her beloved church.

Abundantly generous and a magnanimous gift giver, she adored gatherings at her home for her choirs and friends as well as holidays with family, feeding many and sparing little. Having spent four sabbatical years in Germany because of Paul’s research, she never flinched at stepping into the unknown, which included crossing the Atlantic by ship with two toddlers in tow, diving wholeheartedly into German culture, and even giving birth in a German hospital.

Though she suffered a catastrophic stroke in 2012, she never complained. When asked if she felt frustration, she said, “Of course not. I’m never bored.” Her inspiring patience and endurance throughout her disability moved us all, and at the same time her loving family is grateful that she is no longer confined by gravity.

Preceded in death by her parents, husband, and brother John Manns, Meredyth leaves her children, Sarah (Craig) Cummings, Amy (Brad) Robinson, and Paul (Claire McDougall) Jones; grandchildren Anna, Owen, Talitha, Obadiah (Orian), Naomi (Stephen), Silas (Rae), and Hannah (Kai); great granddaughter Eva; nieces and nephews.

A memorial service celebrating Meredyth’s life will be held in Durham, NH at a later date. If one wishes to honor her memory with a contribution, we suggest the Community Church of Durham Choir Fund, P. O. Box 310, Durham NH 03824. 

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