The NCCU Choir has distinguished itself as a North Carolina treasure and one of the nation's most outstanding choral ensembles. The choir continues to exceed the expectations of audiences nationwide, often surpassing professional choirs in sophistication and versatility. Their performances during annual tours as well as campus events consistently receive excellent reviews from both musicians and music critics. With its repertoire of sacred and secular music, the choir delights audiences with traditional church music, anthems, masses, oratorios, contemporary gospel songs and jazz choral arrangements.
The NCCU Big Bands, under the direction of Dr. Ira Wiggins, have earned top honors at numerous American and international festivals and have twice performed at the White House. Performances have featured many jazz greats, including Jimmy Heath, Branford Marsalis, Joey Calderazzo, James Moody, Keith Copeland, Donald Brown, Kenny Burrell, Roy Hargrove, The Count Basie Orchestra, Clarence Seay, Frank Foster, Curtis Fuller, Ed Thigpen, Louie Bellson, Grady Tate, Alvin Baptiste, Clark Terry, Ellis Marsalis, Dick Oatts, Terell Stafford, Steve Wilson, Vanessa Rubin, Nicholas Payton, Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker, Freddie Cole, Antonio Hart, Nnenna Freelon and others.
Jazz Vocal Ensemble
The NCCU Vocal Ensembles have won accolades at numerous American and international festivals and have twice performed at the White House with the NCCU Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combos. The Ensemble and guest artist Joey Calderazzo were featured at the 2008 International Association for Jazz Education Conference in Toronto, Canada. The Ensemble performed with pianist Geri Allen and vocalist Carmen Lundy at the NCCU Jazz Festival in 2007. In 2009 they became the first college vocal group to perform at the prestigious Notre Dame Jazz Festival
Operatorio Performance Ensemble
The guitar ensemble was launched as a performing group in 1996. The ensemble renders masterful renditions of classical, jazz and world music repertoire on acoustic and electric guitars. Director Baron Tymas arranges and composes for the group, and ensemble members have the opportunity to contribute works as well. The group is frequently invited to perform for university events, as well as for off campus events throughout central North Carolina.
The NCCU Handbell Choir is open to all university students and meets twice a week. The Handbell Choir performs on a four octave set of Malmark handbells. The students in this ensemble are introduced to basic ringing techniques, repertoire, and leadership training. The choir not only learns bell literature, but receives instruction on how to initiate and build handbell programs in churches and communities. The repertoire includes classical music, spirituals, sacred music, and contemporary popular music. The NCCU Handbell Choir has performed locally and in surrounding counties and they are under the direction of Dr. Paula Harrell.