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Singing Rams keep Faith alive

Singing Divas perform on stage at K.R. Williams Auditorium
Faith Webber (center) performs during the 2017 University Choirs annual Holiday Concert. 

Faith Webber ’17 sang on some of the biggest stages as a member of the University Choir at Winston-Salem State University.

After Webber passed away in a car accident in August, Singing Rams alumni rallied to keep her memory alive.

“Faith belonged to a class of Singing Rams that literally helped save my life in September 2014,” said Maestra D’Walla Simmons-Burke. “ I suffered a serious double concussion from a fall in the choir classroom during class, and I was told by my doctors that because of the quick response of the class, my life was spared.”

Webber and other choir members stepped into leadership roles and made certain that the Singing Rams kept functioning, she said, even planning and programming the 2014 holiday concert. A video from the concert was voted “Video of the Month” by Santa Barbara Music Publishing.

“I looked for ways to honor the work Faith Webber did as a Singing Ram,” she said. “Simultaneously, her peers were also thinking of something and a conversation pursued about what we could do to honor her.”

During Webber’s time at WSSU, the choir traveled to South Africa, recorded a promotional CD for the publishing company Walton Music, and appeared at Carnegie Hall.

After receiving approval from Webber’s family, an alumni scholarship that supports choir members was renamed in honor of Webber. The news was announced at the University Choirs annual Holiday Concert on Dec. 2. Webbers’ parents, the Rev. Charles and Audrey Webber, announced a $1,000 donation. Alumni and guests at the concert also donated an additional $1,165.

Fundraising for the scholarship will continue on Feb. 10 with a benefit concert in Webber’s hometown of Shelby. Organizers hope the concert becomes an annual event.

Webber, 24, a social worker with Cleveland County Department of Social Services (DSS), was on her way to a home visit when the accident occurred. She had started work with the DSS in April.

Those who would like to support the Faith C. Webber Alumni Choir Scholarship also can donate online.

Benefit Concert

The inaugural Faith C. Webber Memorial Scholarship Fund Musical Concert will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10, at Malcolm Brown Auditorium at Shelby High School in Webber's hometown of Shelby. The concert will include a mass choir featuring WSSU’s Singing Rams, Singing Rams alumni, and Kenya Houze and the Greater Community Choir. The concert is free, but donations will be accepted.

About Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region and beyond. Guided by the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment.

holding up a big check
The Rev. Charles and Audrey Webber (center) present a $1,000 check for the Faith C. Webber Alumni Choir Scholarship during the University Choirs annual Holiday Concert on Dec. 2. WSSU Chancellor Elwood L. Robinson (left) and D'Walla Simmons-Burke (right) take part in the presentation. 

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