African Children’s Choir to perform at Maine churches

Posted May 16, 2013, at 5:16 p.m.
The African Children's Choir performs at a recent concert in Pueblo Colorado. It will perform Sunday at churches in Bangor and Ellsworth and Wednesday in Cape Neddick.
Courtesy of African Children's Choir
The African Children's Choir performs at a recent concert in Pueblo Colorado. It will perform Sunday at churches in Bangor and Ellsworth and Wednesday in Cape Neddick.

The African Children’s Choir will perform Sunday and Wednesday at three churches in Maine in Bangor, Ellsworth and Cape Neddick.

The choir was founded in 1984 by Ray Barnett of White Rock, British Columbia.

“Inspired by the singing of one small boy, we formed the first African Children’s Choir to show the world that Africa’s most vulnerable children have beauty, dignity and unlimited ability,” Barnett, who founded the choir during Uganda’s civil war, said on the choir’s website.

The choir is composed of 16 children from Africa between the ages of 7 and 10.

“Many have lost one or both parents through the devastation of war, famine and disease,” the choir’s website states. “They represent all the children of a continent and they demonstrate the potential of African children to become strong leaders for a better future in their land.”

The programs feature African tunes and children’s songs, traditional spirituals and contemporary tunes. Members of the choir also play traditional African percussion instruments.

The primary goal of the choir is to raise awareness about the needs of orphaned children in Africa. The choir’s tours and the sale of CDs and videos raise funds used to educate and care for the children in orphanages in seven African nations — Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa.

The African Children’s Choir also has established a number of special literacy schools in Uganda where hundreds of children learned to read and write. The organization has developed a sponsorship arm where all of the educational needs of these children could continue through secondary school and higher education.

The work of the choir has helped to educate more than 50,000 African children, according to its website.

The choir will perform at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, May 19, at Messiah Baptist Church, 985 Union St., Bangor; 7 p.m. Sunday, May 19, at Faith Community Fellowship, 24 Standard Lane, Ellsworth; and 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 22, at Cape Neddick Baptist Church, 34 River Road, Cape Neddick.

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