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 is coming to two venues on the North Olympic Peninsula this month.
On Wednesday, the choir will sing at 7 p.m. at the Revolution Church at 3415 S. Peabody St., in Port Angeles.
On Sept. 28, the children will perform at 7 p.m. at Sequim High School’s auditorium, 533 N. Sequim Ave., hosted by the Eatern Hills Community Church.
Admission is by donation.
Donations from the concerts will support the choir youngsters and others in up to 35 programs aimed at educating Africa’s most vulnerable children, said choir manager Tina Sipp.
“The money goes far beyond supporting [the choir]; it helps 1,000 to 1,500 students per year,” Sipp said. “They really are just ambassadors for many other children.”
Choir members are selected based on need, Sipp said.
“We are trying to help the families we can impact the most by providing education for the children,” she said.
The African Children’s Choir’s tour begins today 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 said the majority of the choir’s 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 sung alongside artists such as Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey and Michael W. Smith.
Sipp said choir members gain much from being part of the tours.
“The children come from a small radius of experience,” she said. “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 said.
“Plus [there is] the opportunity they have to bless people,” she said. “Their culture is a giving culture. ”
For more about the African Children’s Choir, see www.africanchildrenschoir.com.