Thirty years after the first choir came to the West, the latest version of the African Children’s Choir will perform in Puyallup and Olympia on Sunday.
The first choir was created in 1984, when human rights activist Ray Barnett went to Uganda during its civil war. While there, he and his team came up with the idea of creating a choir to help the children of the war-torn nation. From there, orphaned and vulnerable children in the Kampala and Luwero districts of Uganda were selected, housed and taught to perform.
In the decades since that first tour, African youths have been coming to the United States to perform and share their stories of growing up in war-ravaged Africa. In return, proceeds from the choir’s shows have helped build children’s homes and schools in Uganda and other African nations.
Music for Life, the parent organization for the choir, now works in seven African countries: Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa. The organization has taught more than 52,000 children and impacted the lives of more than 100,000 people in East Africa through its relief and development programs. More than 1,000 children have performed with the choir in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.
Previous versions of the choir, whose participants range in age from 7-10 years old, have performed before England’s Queen Elizabeth II for her diamond jubilee, as well as alongside artists including Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey and Michael W. Smith.
The concerts feature well-known children’s melodies, traditional spirituals and contemporary songs.
Performances will take place at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Puyallup and Calvary Chapel in Olympia, and are free and open to all.
Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640
African Children’s Choir shows
Admission: Donations welcome at both locations.
When: 8 and 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
Where: Immanuel Lutheran Church, 720 W. Main Ave., Puyallup.
When: 7 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Calvary Chapel, 919 Division St. NW, Olympia.