College of Arts and Sciences

Mrs. D' Walla Simmons Burke

Mrs. D'Walla Simmons-Burke

She has studied voice with Anna L. Lumpkin (GA), Vernon Holliston (GA), Princess Brown (GA), Shelia Maye (VA), Samuel Roberson (VA), Dodi Protero (IL), William Warfield (IL), and mentor Roland M. Carter (TN). Simmons-Burke has held teaching positions in the Fulton County Public Schools (GA), Voorhees College (Denmark, SC) and presently at Winston-Salem State University where she has been the Director of Choral &Vocal Studies and Coordinator of the Choral/Vocal/Piano Area of the Fine Arts Department for 20 years.

Simmons-Burke is the founder of three of the four choral ensembles currently existing within the Fine Arts Department at Winston-Salem State University (Winston-Salem State University Women; Winston-Salem State University Men and the renowned Burke Singers). She has performed frequently as a soprano and in such operas as Lost in the Stars, LaTraviata, Amahl and the Night Visitors, The Telephone and The Old Maid and the Thief. She continues to appear as a guest soprano.

February, 2004, D'Walla debuted (soprano) with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra in a concert of music by African American composers (Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Holiday Celebration) as guest soloist with . In April, 2008, she conducted Gabriel Faure's Requiem with the New England Symphony and New England Symphony Chorale at Carnegie Hall. She returned to Carnegie Hall, January, 2010 to conduct the Winston-Salem State University Choir in concert. Burke has also traveled internationally with her choral ensembles. The Winston-Salem State University Choir has performed and recorded (Somewhere Far Away; Albany Record Label) with the Dvorák Symphony Orchestra in Prague, Czech Republic. This compact disc was nominated in 5 categories within classical music for the 2010 Grammy Awards. The renowned Burke Singers have also traveled nationally and performed with Grammy Award Winner Patti Austin in concert. Under her baton, her choral ensembles have performed for such regional and national dignitaries as President George W. Bush; Kweisi Mfume; Susan Taylor; former North Carolina Governor James Hunt; Maya Angelou; Dick Gregory and Pope John Paul II, to name a few. Her exceptional and diverse vocal and choral pedagogies are continuously demonstrated through the outstanding students she has produced. As a result, Burke has been the recipient of several teaching and service awards such as the Patterson Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award (1996) and the Cedric Rodney Service Award (2006), both from Winston-Salem State University. D' Walla is also the recipient of many community service and performance awards. She has been honored by the National Women of Achievement and the Winston-Salem Urban League for her national achievements in music with the "Keepers of the Dream Award" and the "Larry Leon Hamlin Legend's Award". D'Walla was one of four national conductors of the 105 HBCU Voices of History Concert Choir who received the Kennedy Center of Performing Arts' Medallion (Washington, DC) for her outstanding work in the field of choral music on the Kennedy Center Stage.

D' Walla is listed in Outstanding Young Women of America and holds memberships in many other organizations such as the Music Educators National Conference; the American Choral Directors Association; the National Association of African American Studies; the National Association for the Study and Performance of African-American

Music; The Intercollegiate Music Association (board member); the National Associations for African American, Asian, Hispanic, and Latino Studies; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., The Moles, Inc. and The Links, Inc.

She is often sought after as a sacred music and multicultural choral clinician/ lecturer/soloist. Simmons-Burke has also made numerous guest appearances as a guest conductor and adjudicator for collegiate choral festivals and workshops and several high school and middle school All-State and All-County festivals. She is married to Fred A. Burke and they have two daughters (Teresa and Tammy) and two grandsons (Hunter and Carson).

Contact Information

Office: (336) 750-2525
Email: burkedw@wssu.edu

Winston-Salem State University

601 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

Winston-Salem, NC 27110

Phone: (336) 750-2000



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