The young vocalists are making their way across the West Coast, singing for a better life for themselves and their fellow Ugandans thousands of miles away.
Bringing familiar children’s songs, traditional Spirituals and gospel favorites as well as African songs and dances, the African Children’s Choir comes to Sequim High School’s auditorium, 533 N. Sequim Ave., at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28.
Donations from the concert go to aid the choir youngsters and others in up to 35 programs aimed at educating Africa’s most vulnerable children, says choir manager Tina Sipp.
“The money goes far beyond supporting (the choir); it helps 1,000 to 1,500 students per year,” Sipp says. “They really are just ambassadors for many other children.”
Choir members are selected based on need, Sipp says.
“We are trying to help the families we can impact the most by providing education for the children,” she says.
The African Children’s Choir’s tour started Sept. 16 and will traverse the West Coast and as many as 12 states along with several Canadian provinces.
The choir is also releasing a new album, “Just As I Am” — with well-known hymns performed to African rhythms.
Sipp says the majority of the choir’s Sept. 28 Sequim concert repertoire is featured on that album.
Music for Life, the parent organization for The African Children’s Choir, works in African countries Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa. The organization says it has educated more than 52,000 children and impacted the lives of more than 100,000 people through its relief and development programs.
Music For Life’s purpose is, representatives say, “to help create new leadership for tomorrow’s Africa by focusing on education.”
The African Children’s Choir has performed for presidents, heads of state and most recently Queen Elizabeth II for her diamond jubilee. The choir also had the honor of singing alongside artists such as Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey and Michael W. Smith, among others.
Sipp says choir members gain much from being part of the tours.
“The children come from a small radius of experience,” she says. “Seeing and experiencing different things (gives them) a vision of what they can become. It becomes a realistic goal that they can go on and get a college education and make their own impact.”
Immersion in speaking English is also a key learning experience for the choir members, Sipp says.
“Plus (there is) the opportunity they have to bless people,” she says. “Their culture is a giving culture. ”
Eastern Hills Community Church is hosting not only the concert but choir members as well. Each hosting church provides lodging, Sipp says, with a chaperone and two or three children in each host home.
Families provide food and lodging, she says, so all funds raised at the concerts can go toward the organization’s programs, Sipp says.
For more about the African Children’s Choir, see www.africanchildrenschoir.com.