SAS RECEIVES SIGNIFICANT GIFT TO ENDOW PERFORMING ARTS FACILITY


Managing a 550-acre campus with more than a dozen buildings takes a lot of work and resources. In the early 2000s, the board of St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School made the wise move to require that fundraising for all new construction include the endowment of the facilities’ upkeep. The first building constructed after the policy was put into place was McCrory Hall for the Performing Arts, the school’s beautiful performance space.

John S. Zeigel, a member of the St. Andrew’s class of 1952, stepped up to the challenge. In 2007, Mr. Zeigel informed SAS that the school had been included as a beneficiary of his estate. When he died in March 2021 at age 86, St. Andrew’s-Sewanee was informed that Mr. Zeigel had left more than $1.8 million to provide for the general endowment of the school and to establish the John Stoufer Zeigel Fund to permanently support the operation and maintenance of SAS’s McCrory Hall for the Performing Arts and the music and drama programs which take place there.

A native of Colorado and longtime resident of Santa Fe, Mr. Zeigel was born into a prominent New Mexico family. His father was a ranch-owning physician, and his mother a classically trained pianist. After graduating from St. Andrew’s, Jack received his undergraduate degree from Pomona College and pursued advanced studies in the classics at Harvard. He would go on to teach at Cal Tech, in the University of Colorado system in Grand Junction, and ultimately gained distinction as Professor of English Emeritus at Mesa State University. Influenced by his mother, Jack’s musical proficiency was with the violin. He publicly performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto as a teenager. Decades later, in retirement, Jack maintained a strong interest in musical organizations, frequently attending concerts and opera performances, and serving on the board of the Grand Junction Symphony.

Dedicated in 2009, McCrory Hall for the Performing Arts was made possible through the generosity of Martha McCrory, longtime director of the Sewanee Summer Music Center at the University of the South, and the many donors who joined Ms. McCrory in wanting to provide St. Andrew’s-Sewanee and the surrounding community with an outstanding space for musical performance. An arts venue for the region, as well as an auditorium for the school, the building also provides space for the school's music classes, rehearsals, private lessons, theatre, technical theatre, and songwriting and recording programs.

The facility includes a 300-seat, acoustically rich auditorium, a music classroom, and a recording studio. Each year, thousands of patrons come to McCrory Hall to enjoy plays, musicals, speakers, and concerts. The SAS student body gathers in the hall several times a week for all-school assemblies. In recent years, McCrory Hall has welcomed performances by the Sewanee Summer Music Festival. Over the years, McCrory Hall for the Performing Arts has also hosted a variety of professional performances, including Amanda Shires, the Vega Quartet, the Blakemore Trio, Jack Pearson, Act of Congress, Emma King and the Heart Sets, the Tennessee Fiddle Ensemble, the MTSU Guitar Quartet, the Anima Baroque Ensemble, and more.

“Many years ago,” said SAS Head of School Karl Sjolund, “Jack told a member of our staff ‘Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ We are grateful that Jack’s heart and treasure were at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee. We look forward to honoring his memory with beautiful music for many generations to come.”

Thanks to the generosity of its alumni and friends, St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School’s endowment currently exceeds $25 million.

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