The African Childrens Choir began 25 years ago when humanitarian Roy Barnett gave a small African boy a ride from his war-ravaged home to a neighboring village. During the ride, the boy sang. Barnett returned to Canada determined to bring this child and the others like him to the attention of the Western world.
From those first choirs grew childrens homes and education programs, offering children in war-ravaged countries the chance to be educated and tour the world, sharing their innocence and enthusiasm with people who had never heard of the countries where these children lived.
Now, the newest choir will melt the hearts of audiences with their charming smiles, beautiful voices and lively African songs and dances, when they perform Wednesday at Vineville United Methodist Church, said Dan Underwood, associate pastor at the church.
The program features well-loved childrens songs, traditional spirituals and gospel favorites. The concert is free and open to all. An offering is taken at the performance to support African Childrens Choir program, such as education, care and relief and development programs, Underwood said.
The African Childrens Choir has performed all over the world, including 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 and Keith Urban, Underwood said. We are obviously very excited to welcome them here at our church and in our community. ... One of the things that excited me most when I heard about it was the ability this afforded us to connect with people rather than just a giving opportunity.
The choir will be performing traditional African songs, as well as some traditional praise and worship songs. All of them will have an African flavor through dance, music and costumes.
I hope that anyone who would like to experience a taste of Africa and experience some wonderful music will come out for this free concert. There will be a love offering, which will go to support the choir and also to bring care and revitalization to the communities where the children come from. There will also be CDs and other memorabilia to be purchased to help provide for this choirs continuance, Underwood said. It will be a way for us to give back once weve been given to.
African Childrens Choir
When: 6:30 p.m. Sept. 4
Where: Vineville United Methodist Church, 2045 Vineville Ave.
Information: 478-745-3331; www.vinevillemethodist.com