African Children's Choir Gives Voice to Hopes for Future

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), April 29, 2003 | Go to article overview

African Children's Choir Gives Voice to Hopes for Future


Byline: Sammi King

Some have witnessed terrible tragedy, the murder of a parent, the death of a friend. Others have wandered for days in search of food, water and shelter.

These are the lucky ones.

They are members of the African Children's Choir, a group of 26 children, ages 5 through 12, many of whom are victims of the political unrest in Africa. These are the ones chosen to tell their story in song, and in turn help the many children who remain in poverty and hardship in Africa.

The Grammy-nominated African Children's Choir will perform at 10 a.m. Sunday at West Ridge Community Church, 36W965 Bowes Road, Elgin, and at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Batavia United Methodist Church, 8 N. Batavia Ave.

The music will be a mix of African, popular, contemporary and gospel music. You'll hear familiar tunes such as "This Little Light of Mine," "O Happy Day" and "Lean On Me." You'll also hear the choir sing African music in its native tongue to the beat of African drums.

During the American tour, the choir has played to standing room only audiences and enjoyed standing ovations at nearly every performance.

The African Children's Choir is part of the Music for Life Organization. Founded by Ray Barnett in 1984, the choir raises awareness and money for the thousands of homeless and disadvantaged children in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Ghana and Nigeria. Presently more than 4,000 children are being helped through the efforts of the choir.

Barnett, a pastor, came upon the idea of creating a choir when he offered a ride to a young child in Africa back in the early 1980s. As Barnett drove, the young boy was so excited that he sang all the way.

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