University Receives $4 Million Gift to Support University Choir


At a reception following an Evensong service in All Saints’ Chapel on Jan. 28, Acting Vice-Chancellor Nancy Berner announced a $4 million gift to support the University Choir from Christina Vial Comer, C’95, and Patrick B. Comer, C’96. “This contribution will establish multiple student scholarships for members of the choir across all sections—soprano, alto, tenor, and bass—as well as provide critical funding for departmental operations, institutional programs, choir tours, and more,” Berner said.

When Christina Vial Comer, C’95 spoke about that gift at the reception, her first comments were directed to the choir itself—not just the present choir, which celebrated Evensong that evening, but choirs of the past and choirs of the future.

“Without your contributions, Sewanee would be a different place,” she said. “You are in All Saints’ Chapel every Sunday. You contribute at Holy Week, Lessons and Carols, convocations, and Evensong. Your voices make possible spiritual moments that touch the congregation and choir alike. When we were in the University Choir, we had many such moments, and we are called to give back. So don’t forget to give back.”

The Comers both sang in the University Choir as college students, with Christina, a music major, serving as president, soprano section leader, and also performing many solos. Patrick, a music and theatre double major, served as tenor section leader and, as a senior at Sewanee, the choir performed an Evensong service that he had written.

The Comers’ vision is that the gift honors the contributions of choristers across the decades and ensures the viability of the choral program as a center of excellence for Sewanee for many years to come.