The Winston-Salem State University Choir is one of the oldest student organizations on the campus of Winston-Salem State University. There is evidence to prove that the institution of the choir predates the Department of Music, of which it is now a part.
The University Choir is now under the leadership and baton of Maestra D’Walla Simmons Burke. This University Choir has performed commissioned works, such as Undine Smith Moore’s On Imagination and I Too, Michael Williams’ Recent Reflections on Deep River, S. Van Dixon’s arrangement of Come Sunday, and Stacey Gibbs’ arrangements of Hold On and Oh, What a Beautiful City. Under the leadership of Maestra Simmons-Burke, The Winston-Salem State University Choir has traveled nationally and internationally—including Nassau, Bahamas and Prague, Czech Republic—and has recorded and performed with major symphony orchestras such as the Winston-Salem Symphony, Gateways Festival Orchestra, Dvořák Symphony Orchestra, and the New England Symphony Orchestra on major works including Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Fauré’s Requiem, Haydn’s Creation; and Rossini’s Stabat Mater.
Currently, The Winston-Salem State University Choir has recorded 7 compact discs under Maestra Simmons-Burke’s leadership. Somewhere Far Away, recorded in Prague, was published by a major recording label (Albany Records) and nominated in 5 categories of the classical genre for a Grammy (2010). This choir has performed as the featured guest for several major music conferences and has also performed on many national stages such as Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. In May 2014, The Winston-Salem State University Choir made its South Africa debut and also was featured at Lincoln Center in the premiere of Rosephanye Powell’s Cry of Jeremiah. The ensemble is well sought after for its moving renditions of major choral works, spirituals, and world music.