THUNDER BAY – Children represent hope for the future.
That’s what drives the African Children’s Choir, which will brings it inspirational and heartwarming show to Thunder Bay on Aug. 30 with a pair of performances.
“I think what people walk away with is that they’re very inspired by the children. It paints a different picture of Africa. We tend to hear more about its challenges than the beauty and potential that’s within the continent,” choir manager Tina Sipp said in a recent telephone interview.
“I think the faith of the children, as well as the joy and energy they exude, is much more of what people take away. I think the heart and the spirit of the children is what captivates people.”
The choir is currently composed of 18 children from Uganda – nine boys and nine girls – between the ages of seven and 10 from schools benefited by Music for Life, which organizes the choir. The organization supports about 7,500 children in seven countries and has educated more than 52,000 children.
The 80-minute concerts, which feature a mix of ethnic worship music as well as contemporary gospel tunes with dancing and drumming, promise an energetic performance punctuated by bright displays of colour from the children’s traditional costumes.
The choir is in the middle of a cross-country tour that is taking them east from the Atlantic coast of Prince Edward Island all the way to Vancouver Island. Along the way, they’ve been taking in distinctive landmarks and attractions, including an unforgettable trip to Canada’s Wonderland.
Showing the children that a world exists outside of Africa is an important aspect of the tour.
“During the time what’s planted is where I come from is not where I need to remain. I can become self-sufficient, become self-sustaining and I can break the cycle for me and my family,’” Sipp said. “So much is being implanted in them for their future.”
The choir has previously performed for international dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth II for her diamond jubilee and have sang alongside notable music icons such as Paul McCartney and Mariah Carey.
Performing on such big stages hits the adults more than the performers.
“What’s so sweet about them is they don’t even really recognize that. They don’t know who these people are really,” Sipp said. “They’re just so unassuming and it’s just another concert. They don’t get nervous or stage fright. They’re not in it for themselves and it’s just fun.”
The African Children’s Choir will perform on Aug. 30 at the Calvary Lutheran Church at 11 a.m. and then at the Lakeview Presbyterian Church at 7 p.m. Both concerts are free to attend but donations are welcome.