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African Children's Choir

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[img_assist|nid=51002|title=African Children's Choir members|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=99]

When a single ministry program creates a positive impact in a variety of ways on a diverse group of people, I get chills. Besides the fact that it is an economical use of resources, there's something aesthetically beautiful about the way these inspired programs work. It's like seeing the incalculable benefit of community before your eyes. That is the feeling I had when I learned about the African Children's Choir.

 

I first came across the choir when they performed in the song “Light Gives Heat” on the Jars of Clay album Good Monsters. Their haunting vocals—I still don't know what language they were in—piqued my curiosity. What I learned after a little research is too inspiring not to share with the Urban Ministry community.

The African Children's Choir, today comprised entirely of children ages seven through twelve who have lost one or both parents to AIDS, performs around the world to raise money to support orphanages, schools, and relief programs in Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Ghana, Sudan, Nigeria, and Kenya.

The choir provides its young performers with musical and general education before they embark on their North American and European tour. When the children return home, the choir completely funds their remaining education. In addition to the financial support, I imagine the opportunity to sing in a choir with their peers must be healing in itself.

Musically, the Africans Children's Choir's repertoire is quite diverse. I'm listening to a sampler as I write, and I'm hearing standard hymns, classic Sunday School songs, and contemporary praise/worship music, as well as unfamiliar tunes in a variety of languages. (Sorry, the only one I recognize is English.) It appears that, while the children are learning (at least to sing in) English, which will probably be helpful to their future, they are also embracing what seem to be traditional African songs. (Again, sorry I can't be more specific.) The new version of the choir's site is in beta, and, personally, I would love to see more content about the music the choir performs. Maybe that would even be a good project for some of the older students. But the really important thing is that these children's beautiful, joyful voices serve as positive cultural ambassadors, inspiring in their audience a hopeful vision of Africa south of the Sahara.

CDs and a DVD of the African Children's Choir are available for purchase through their website or Amazon. You can also purchase their music electronically on their website. The choir also appears on the soundtrack to “Blood Diamond” and has been featured on American Idol.

The impact of this ministry on the on the children who benefit from the funds it raises, on the choir members, on their global audience, is immeasurable. Such a work of genius speaks powerfully to the creative inspiration of our God.