The performance was also the choir’s last one U.S. soil for this season as they head for Europe to finish the nine-month tour. The choir was composed of 18 children from Uganda who will receive guaranteed education through university level thanks to the Music For Life program, the parent program through which the African Children’s Choir was born.
Ever since its first tour in 1984, the African Children’s Choir has funded education for about 52,000 children, and Sunday’s performance was a great send-off for the kids as they make their way across the Atlantic in the next couple of days.
“These children are such great kids, they have so much fun,” tour leader Kyle Serquinia said. “They love performing, it’s a huge part of their culture, the drumming and the singing and the dancing. It is not always this packed, but we love it when there’s a packed house.”
The children receive education when they’re on the road, and will return home when the tour concludes in June to resume their education. The performance began with a lot of high energy from the audience as they clapped along and snapped pictures of the performers. During the performance, each child took a chance to step up to the mic to relay their dream careers, and the audience was full of smiles as each future doctor, lawyer, banker, teacher and police officer took their turns.
Phyllis Reed, who got to the church early enough to snag a seat at the front of the sanctuary, convinced her sister to attend the performance with her after learning about it through an article in the paper. She’d never seen the African Children’s Choir perform before, but said she was excited to see what all was in store.
“I just thought it would be an awesome experience to hear the children sing,” she said. “I think it’s so neat that this is an educational opportunity for them.”
Church officials estimate hundreds of guests turned up to watch the choir, filling every available seat in the pews and balcony and pushing audience members to the aisles, floor, choir seating behind the altar and into the foyer of the sanctuary. Karen Lane, Jonesborough UMC’s pastor, has hosted the choir three times as a church leader, and said she was hoping for a big turnout, but didn’t expect the numbers she got on Sunday night.
“People are very excited to hear them sing, they care about children and they care about education,” she said.
Email Jessica Fuller at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jessica on Twitter @fullerjf91. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jfullerJCP.