The choir at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina is getting ready for HBCU Sunday -- are you?

It’s one of the most joyous Sundays of the year, when the Cathedral gathers to celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

On Sunday, we’ll welcome the choir from Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina; the Winston-Salem Journal recently caught up with the Singing Rams as they got ready to make the trip:

“Every time I was in D.C., and passed by that cathedral, I’d say, ‘Lord, please. I would love, before I retire, for my singers to sing in that cathedral.’ So here it comes full circle,” said D’Walla Simmons-Burke, the director for choral and vocal studies in the university’s music department.

The 35-member choir will perform pieces written and composed by Black musicians. They are: “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” “Rock in Jerusalem,” “Take it to the Lord in Prayer” and “Even Me.” In addition, the Burke Singers, a smaller ensemble that Simmons-Burke directs, will sing “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize.”

The annual celebration of HBCUs is part of Black History Month. Alumni, organizations and families are invited to attend the free service.

Burke-Simmons said she is particularly excited for her students to sing in a cathedral.

“Cathedrals are built for that very reason, so that sound travels, and none of them have experienced that,” she said. “Churches, within the last 20 years, everything has to be amplified, so that alone is going to be a very different experience.”

In addition to the Singing Rams, we’re thrilled to welcome the Rev. Dr. Kenyatta Gilbert, dean and professor of homiletics at Howard University School of Divinity, as our guest preacher.

We hope to see you there, but if can’t make it, you can join the livestream from home!

(photo courtesy Allison Lee Isley of the Journal)


Kevin Eckstrom

Chief Public Affairs Officer

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  • worship