Suffolk woman plays with Winds

Published 9:12 pm Monday, December 8, 2014

A Suffolk woman will be the featured musician at the Tidewater Winds concert on Dec. 15 at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach.

Christine Comer, a 19-year-old percussionist in her third season with the group, will be featured for the holiday performance “Celebrate the Season … And All That Jazz!”

Comer graduated in 2013 as the valedictorian at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy and now is a sophomore at Tennessee’s Belmont University, majoring in classical percussion performance.

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Comer, the daughter of John and Kim Comer, started taking piano lessons before her fourth birthday and also played saxophone in high school. But percussion is by far her favorite, and her favorite percussion instrument is the marimba.

“I think it’s one of the more melodic percussion instruments,” she said. “It’s closely related to piano. Coming from piano to marimba is a natural transition. It stands alone as a solo instrument very well.”

Comer is an intern with the Tidewater Winds and plays with them only while home on breaks from college. She got started in the band, because she was taking lessons from the principal percussionist for the group.

“It sounded like a good opportunity,” she said.

Comer said she hopes to make music a career but does not yet know exactly what that career will be.

“I’m exploring a lot of options,” she said. “There are a lot of careers in music that I didn’t know about before I came (to college),” she said. “I’m not set on one career yet.”

Comer’s role as featured musician will allow the audience to get to know her a little better, she said.

“The featured musician is just a way to connect the audience with the band more personally,” she said. “This allows us to connect with our audience, which I really like.”

Comer, who was also on the sailing team and in the National Honor Society while at NSA, likes being outside — particularly on the water — when she’s not doing anything that has to do with music.

Comer said next week’s concert will feature mostly Christmas music. The concert band plays in the first half of the program, with the jazz band playing second. She is in the concert band.

“I really enjoy playing with the Winds, and I’m thankful to have the opportunity to learn from so many great musicians,” she said. “It’s a good experience for me.”

Tickets for the show, which begins at 7:30 p.m., are $27 each and are available at