Northland News

African Children's Choir makes two local stops

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The world-famous African Children's Choir will perform Feb. 10 at churches in the Northland and Worthington areas.

The group's performance at 10:15 a.m. that day is at Christian Assembly Church, 4099 Karl Road. It will last about 45 minutes, said Amanda Healy, the choir's publicity coordinator.

Then, at 6 p.m., the children will give a concert at Worthington Christian Church, 8145 N. High St. That performance will last about an hour and 15 minutes, Healy said.

This will be the 40th edition of a choir to travel around the world since it was originally formed by Canadian humanitarian Ray Barnett in 1984, Healy said.

The Feb. 10 appearances mark a return to Ohio after an absence of several years.

"We kind of pick different areas at different times," Healy said. "It's been a while since we've been through Ohio, so it was time to come back."

The young people in the choir will stay with host families that evening before rehearsals and school classes the next two days, and then it's on to the next venue.

"Sometimes you'll find us zigzagging across the state and across the country," Healy said.

According to the website for the organization -- based in Langley, British Columbia, with U.S. offices in Bellingham, Wash. -- Barnett was on a humanitarian trip to war-torn Uganda when he "... gave a small boy a ride from his decimated home to the safety of another village."

"During the journey, the child did what he knew how to do best: He sang," according to the website.

"That simple song of dignity and hope became the catalyst for a program that has changed the lives of thousands of children and reshaped the future of the African continent."

Barnett said when he returned to Canada, people were not too interested in Uganda, but he remembered the boy he'd met.

"I knew that if only a group of these beautiful children could go to the West, people would be deeply moved and would certainly want to help," he said on the website.

One of the focuses of the program is to help with the educational needs of all the children who participate in the choir, Healy said.

"Ticket sales directly support the expansion of sponsorship and education programs the African Children's Choir provides for both choir children and thousands of other children across Africa," the coordinator wrote in announcing the local appearances. "To date, over 52,000 children have been educated through the efforts of the choir's programs."

The primary goal of the African Children's Choir is to raise awareness of the need of destitute and orphaned children in Africa and to raise funds for continued development and support of the African Children's Choir programs, according to a choir press release.

Once choir members complete a tour, "they return back to their homeland with the tools necessary for bettering their future," the release stated.

For more information, call Christian Assembly Church at 614-261-8440; or Worthington Christian Church at 614-885-8389.

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