Juneau will host the African Children's Choir in four church performances over the next week, on Sept. 10, 12 and 14. The choir, made up of kids ages 7 to 11 from Uganda, Kenya and other African countries, has been touring the U.S. for more than 25 years in different configurations, raising awareness and generating funds to address some of the most pressing needs facing those who live in the children's home countries.
The choir was originally envisioned as a single project by Canadian founder Ray Barnett, but the success of the first tour, and the ongoing needs of those living in East and South Africa, led to a continuation of the group.
The idea for the choir began while Barnett was doing humanitarian work in Uganda in the late 1970s and early 1980s. On one trip, he heard a child who'd just lost his home begin to sing, and was struck by this expression of hope in the midst of devastating conditions. When he returned home, he began thinking about how he could share the effect of that one personal interaction on a broad scale, and use that positive force to work for change.
He established the first choir in 1984 and used the donations from the shows to help pay for children's education and housing. As the choir grew over the years, funds were used to help not only the choir members, but other children left homeless or orphaned by war and disease. The group now travels around the country, performing at churches, schools and other community centers.
In Juneau, the group will perform four times: At 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10, at Faith Lutheran Church, 2500 Sunset; at 9 and 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 12, at Auke Bay Bible Church, 11970 Glacier Highway; at 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 12, at Chapel by the Lake 11024 Auke Lake Way; and at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, Chapel by the Lake.
For more information about the African Children's Choir, visit africanchildrenschoir.com.