Our Staff

The people that make things happen

Dr. Sonja Sepulveda, Artistic Director


Joined our staff as Artistic Director in June 2015. She is proud to continue the high level of musicianship that Barbara C. Beattie, Founding Artistic Director of the WSYC started 22 years ago.

In addition to her role with the WSYC, she is also the Director of Choral Activities and teacher of Theory at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and conducts the Salem Chamber Choir, Chorale, and SuperTonix.  She came to Salem following positions at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky and Brewton Parker College in Mt. Vernon, Georgia. Graduating from Winthrop University with a Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music degrees, Sonja Sepúlveda earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of South Carolina where she directed the Renaissance Singers and Carolina Alive. Her choirs have toured Europe, Mexico, and Canada and have performed for the National Cathedral, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, National American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), Southern Division ACDA, and the Music Educators National Conference (MENC). She conducted, as well sang choral parts for the ABC mini-series, North and South. Sonja Sepúlveda sang with the Robert Shaw Festival Chorus for eight years. In 2006, she founded the Palmetto Voices, a choir of alumni students and current students. The choir strives to preserve the legacy of the Spiritual and sang at Southern ACDA in 2012, National ACDA, Dallas, Texas, 2013 plus Alabama ACDA in 2014.  In the summer of 2013 the Salem College Choirs were chosen for the Aegean Festival in Greece and sang the Verdi Requiem, televised concerts of opera choruses and solo concerts.  In June 2015, Dr. Sepulveda’s choirs were invited to sing the Vivaldi Magnificat in Florence, Italy where Dr. Sepúlveda conducted this work combined with two other university choruses and the Orchestra da Camera Fiorentina.

Lori J. Prescott, Executive Director


Originally from Lancaster, PA, Lori has lived in North Carolina for the over 30 years. She holds an honor graduate Bachelor’s Degree from Johnson University in Knoxville, TN. After college, she worked for seven years as the Director for the non-profit organization S.A.F.E. Events which produced such celebrations as Project Graduation and First Night Piedmont, an alcohol/drug-free arts celebration. Following her term with S.A.F.E. Events, she then moved into the advertising world as an Account Executive and finally the Business Manager for The Woodbine Agency, a brand revitalization advertising agency in Winston-Salem. Lori worked at Woodbine for 16 years before joining The Winston-Salem Youth Chorus in February of 2014. Not only does she have a strong resume working with non-profit and advertising agencies, she also brings her passion for music as a professional vocalist. She has studied music in Nashville and Knoxville, TN and has traveled all over the world performing concerts. Her enthusiastic personality, organizational, management and communication skills, non-profit/business experience, and love of the arts will certainly assist in the advancement of the mission of the Winston-Salem Youth Chorus.

Lauren Thayer Winkelman, Accompanist

lauren-winkelmanA versatile performer, pianist Lauren Winkelman has appeared as both soloist and collaborator with orchestras, chamber music groups, instrumental soloists, and singers. She was educated at Baldwin-Wallace College (B.M., piano) and The Cleveland Institute of Music (M.M., accompanying) where she received the Gwendolyn Koldofsky Award for Accompanying. Her primary teachers have included Anne Epperson, Anita Pontremoli, and George Cherry; and she has held staff accompanying positions at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, the Meadowmount School of Music, and the Killington Music Festival. As a freelance pianist in the Winston-Salem area, she has performed with UNCSA faculty, the Carolina Chamber Symphony Players, and the Winston Salem Youth Chorus. Mrs. Winkelman also has an avid interest in sacred music and is an active church musician, serving as the Music Ministry Associate and Organist at Knollwood Baptist Church.

Chris Duffer, Chorus Manager


Chris started her tenure with the chorus as an active parent volunteer and her strengths coupled with her desire to see the chorus succeed are what drew her into the WSYC position she has held for over four years. She has extensive office management and bookkeeping skills, having served as Administrative Assistant in charge of Pilot Payroll at Leisure Air, Lab Technician at Bowman Gray School of Medicine and Billing/Inventory Clerk at Vol T. Blacknall Company, among other positions

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