The African Children’s Choir will be giving a concert at First Baptist Church of Port Orchard (2308 Sidney Ave., Port Orchard) on Wednesday Sept. 26 at 6:30 p.m. Here at the Tacoma Weekly, we generally restrict our coverage to events in Tacoma. We are making an exception for The African Children’s Choir because – as editor Matt Nagle put it – “it’s a bunch of sweet African kiddos.”
In 1984, in the midst of Uganda’s bloody civil war, human rights activist Ray Barnett was called on to help the many thousands of orphaned and starving children who were abandoned and helpless to feed and protect themselves. Realizing the enormity of the task Barnett and his team came up with a unique approach. The only way to make a meaningful difference was to impact the lives of these children, one child at a time.
“Inspired by the singing of one small boy, we formed the first African Children’s Choir to show the world that Africa’s most vulnerable children have beauty, dignity and unlimited ability.”
The first choir was formed in 1984, selected from orphaned and vulnerable children in the Kampala and Luwero areas of Uganda. After the choir was trained to perform and readied for living in new and different cultures, the children traveled from Uganda to tour among the North American church communities.
They immediately impressed audiences with their vibrancy and outstanding musical talent. They quickly became a mouthpiece for the plight of the many thousands of vulnerable children like them in Uganda. The funds they earned through donations provided for their own support and education and more. The proceeds of the first African Children’s Choir tour also funded the building of an orphanage back in Kampala from which a second African Children’s Choir was selected.
And so, the story of the choir’s work began. In the early years, they would tour principally in United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The proceeds of their tours, and the sponsorship support they would attract, funded a growing program of establishing literacy schools to enable the very neediest children to get a foot up into proper education.
Meanwhile, the continuing care, education and development of returning choir children was assured through the proceeds of choir tours and the generosity of sponsors and donors.
To date over a thousand vulnerable children have been through the choir program and the funds they have generated have provided the opportunity of education and hope for many thousands like them in some of the most desperate and needy areas of Africa.
The African Children’s Choir melts the hearts of audiences with their charming smiles, beautiful voices and lively African songs and dances. The program features well-loved children’s songs, traditional Spirituals and Gospel favorites. Performances support African Children’s Choir programs, such as education, care and relief and development.
Music for Life (the parent organization for The African Children’s Choir) works in the African countries: Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and South Africa. MFL has educated over 52,000 children and impacted the lives of over 100,000 people through its relief and development programs during its history. MFL purpose is to help create new leadership for tomorrow’s Africa, by focusing on education.
The African Children’s Choir has had the privilege to perform before presidents, heads of state and most recently the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II, for her diamond jubilee. The Choir has also had the honor of singing alongside artists such as Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey, Michael W. Smith, and other inspirational performers.
The African Children’s Choir is currently touring the Western states. Port Orchard, however, will be the nearest the group comes to Tacoma. No tickets are required, but donations are appreciated.
For more information, visit www.africanchildrenschoir.com.