The University Choir is directed by Dr. Geoffrey Harris Ward and plays an important role in the musical life of the University and All Saints' Chapel. At All Saints', the choir's activities include singing at all Sunday Eucharist services during the term, singing a monthly Choral Evensong and leading the music for University Convocations. In addition to its liturgical duties, the choir offers several concert performances throughout the year, often with orchestral accompaniment. Membership in the choir is open to any undergraduate student and the choir usually comprises about 40-50 singers. Choir members represent a broad spectrum of the student body; music majors sing alongside chemistry majors, English majors with math majors, all united by a love music and an interest in singing, studying and performing the finest liturgical music.
A choir is first mentioned singing at a University service during the ceremony for the laying of the cornerstone on October 10, 1860, when Psalm 100 was sung. Since that time the University Choir has continued to play an important role in the musical life of the University and All Saints' Chapel.
The University Choir is an active touring ensemble. It has performed extensively throughout the southeastern United States as well as in Colorado, New York and Canada. Since 1979, the choir has made ten tours of England, singing the service of Choral Evensong in more than 23 cathedrals and abbey churches. These include the cathedrals of Winchester, Salisbury, Wells, Gloucester, Worcester, Hereford, Bristol, York Minster, Windsor Castle, St. Albans, Rochester, and Canterbury as well as the abbeys of Bath, Tewkesbury and Westminster. The choir has also sung at the American Cathedral in Paris, France.
One of the highlights of the school year at Sewanee is the Annual Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols, which regularly attract nearly 3,000 people to the University campus. This service remains one of the most popular events of the school year for staff, student and alumni. Lessons and Carols is an uplifting and inspiring musical experience which is offered in celebration of Christ’s advent, birth and incarnation. The services for 2017 are scheduled for December 2 and 3.