Adventist Musician Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse, 88, Passes
Published: Thursday, September 01, 2011 6:51:29 PM

BY MARK A. KELLNER,  News Editor

Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse, 88, a noted violinist, conductor and Seventh-day Adventist musical powerhouse, passed to her rest August 30, 2011, at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester.

MUSICAL PIONEER: Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse, a longtime Seventh-day Adventist musical educator, passed away on August 30, 2011, at age 88.
[Photos: CUC]
The 40-year-old New England Youth Ensemble, which Rittenhouse founded, counts hundreds of young Seventh-day Adventists as alumni. The group toured much of the world, played numerous concerts at New York’s renowned Carnegie Hall, and remains a noted representative of the Adventist Church as a whole.

Rittenhouse founded the New England Youth Ensemble in 1969 with a group of five students at Atlantic Union College in South Lancaster, Massachusetts. In 1994 the ensemble became the resident orchestra of Washington Adventist University and has since continued to enjoy widespread critical acclaim. Under her direction, the NEYE has performed both nationally and internationally for numerous world leaders.

According to Atlantic Union Conference president Donald G. King, and Atlantic Union College president Norman Wendth, Rittenhouse “was a significant part of our community for many years, contributing both personally and musically to AUC, the Church, and the wider community. Her high standards for sacred music had a profound and far-reaching influence on Seventh-day Adventists everywhere, and the Church is better because of it.”

Weymouth Spence, Washington Adventist University president, added, the school “is deeply saddened at the passing of a true pioneer in Seventh-day Adventist education. [Rittenhouse] was a driving, innovative force with the orchestra and the programs she began.”

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