"WINSTON-SALEM, NC -- Winston-Salem State University’s (WSSU) choir is headed back to Carnegie Hall for a May performance in the MidAmerica Productions concert series. But in order to get there, the choir will perform a free benefit concert with an opportunity for attendees to make a contribution during intermission, to help raise funds for their trip, Saturday, January 30, at 5 p.m., at First Baptist Church located at 700 North Highland Avenue in Winston-Salem.
At present, the WSSU choir has raised $24,000 of the $54,000 it will need to make the trip to Carnegie Hall. The benefit concert will raise the remaining $30,000 to reach the goal.
“I hope that our friends will make donations to support what I think is a wonderful opportunity for our students,” said Maestra D’Walla Simmons-Burke, Director of Choral and Vocal Studies at WSSU.
Donations may be made payable to the WSSU Foundation and indicate WSSU Choir Travel #2172 in the memo section. Donations may also be mailed to: 311 Blair Hall, Winston-Salem, NC 27110. You may also contact the Advancement Office at 336-750-3140 or make donations online by going to the WSSU Web site at wssu.edu and click the Donate Now button.
In addition to the WSSU Choir, the performance will feature guest opera singers Kenneth Overton, baritone, and soprano Teresa Moore-Mitchell.
Overton was heralded by the BBC for his “exceptional voice.” Overton made his New York City Opera mainstage debut in 2012 as Doctor Grenvil in Verdi's La Traviata. That season, he also made an acclaimed debut in the world premiere of David Ott's The Widow's Lantern at Pensacola Opera, whereby he was immediately reengaged to star as Joe in Showboat.
His 2012–13 debuts included performances with the New Jersey Symphony and the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra. In collaboration with pianist Kevin Miller, Overton released his first solo CD in the fall of 2013. Been In De Storm So Long: Songs My Fathers Taught Me, is his homage to the spiritual tradition that has been formative in his artistic life.
Moore-Mitchell is a veteran operatic performer and soloist. She has performed several times at Carnegie Hall dating back to 1989 when she performed with the Pfeiffer University Choir in Brahms’ Requiem and a solo performance debut in the soprano role for Anton Dvorak’s Te Deum with the Manhattan Philharmonic Orchestra in 2002. She made her Lincoln Center debut as the Mother of Alexander the Great and Strauss Selections in 2004. In 2010, she was the soloist for the Livingstone College Concert Choir at Carnegie Hall.
She has numerous operatic, theater, and symphonic performances to her credit in the United States and abroad.
The guest artists will be accompanied by Winston-Salem State University’s own piano faculty, Dr. Gregory Thompson and Dr. Myron Brown. The benefit concert will be comprised of music by African American composers, which will include spirituals and art songs.
The Carnegie Hall concert will not only include the WSSU Choir, but will also feature Simmons-Burke as a soloist in the Ensemble Spotlight Series of the MidAmerica Productions concert.
Over the course of 33 seasons, MidAmerica has presented conductors, soloists, and choral and instrumental ensembles from the U.S. and abroad in New York’s Stern Auditorium, Weill Recital Hall, and Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall; and Alice Tully Hall and Avery Fisher Hall, both at Lincoln Center.
The Carnegie Hall Concert will be held Sunday, May 8, at 7 p.m."
- A Press Release