The American Guild of Organists celebrates the life of Dr. JOYCE JONES, FAGO (1933–2022) who died in Waco, Tex., on February 28, 2022, at the age of 89. Dr. Jones was a lifetime member of the AGO and perhaps the greatest proponent of the Guild’s Pipe Organ Encounters program for youth, having directed and hosted more POEs than any other person. Dr. Jones was honored in Fort Worth, Tex., as the recipient of the 2010 AGO Endowment Fund Distinguished Artist Award Recital and Gala Benefit Reception.
“Dr. Jones enjoyed a long and productive career as a performer and academician,” declared AGO Executive Director James Thomashower. “She was a lifelong ambassador for the organ, and a truly dedicated, indefatigable proponent of teaching young people how to play the organ. Dr. Jones made an enormous, very positive difference in the lives of countless students including current and former members of the profession.”
During her astonishing career, which spanned seven decades, Dr. Jones performed in all 50 states and abroad. Her performance engagements included such venues as the Riverside Church, the Mormon Tabernacle, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Chartres Cathedral, and the Meyerson Symphony Center. She was the first woman to perform on the organ at the Crystal Cathedral, the first organist to play for the Grand Teton Music Festival, and the only female organist chosen to play with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra at the inauguration of the Ruffatti organ in Davies Symphony Hall. She was a featured performer at AGO regional and national conventions, including the Centennial National Convention in New York City in 1996. Dr. Jones will be forever remembered for her dazzling organ technique that rendered breathtaking performances of such virtuosic works as the Flight of the Bumble Bee.
Joyce Jones devoted her professional life to making friends for the organ, through community concerts, organ dedications, children’s concerts, and “Access to Music” programs. She has been widely acclaimed since making her debut with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra as the only organist ever to win the prestigious G.B. Dealey award.
Dr. Jones was the Joyce Oliver Bowden Professor of Organ and Organist in Residence at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, from 1969 until her retirement in 2012. She earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Texas and a Master of Sacred Music degree in composition from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She was a Fellow of the American Guild of Organists. Dr. Jones was a composer of numerous published works, including the organ method King of Instruments, and recorded for Word, Rosenhaus, and Motette Records.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, March 13, 2022 from 3:00–5:00 p.m. at the OakCrest Funeral Home (4520 Bosque Blvd, Waco, TX 76710). A funeral service will be held on Monday, March 14, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. at the Seventh & James Baptist Church (602 James Ave, Waco, TX 76706).