African Children’s Choir sings in Waukegan to highlight education needs
By Dan Moran For Sun-Times Media December 5, 2013 1:26PM
The 40th African Children's Choir in the organization’s history is scheduled to make two local stops on its current Midwestern tour, starting with a free performance this Sunday, Dec. 8, at Waukegan Community Church. | Submitted photo
The African Children’s Choir
Free performances at 6 p.m. Dec. 8 at Waukegan Community Church, 1016 Grand Ave.; and at 7 p.m. on Dec. 10 at Joyful Harvest Church in Johnsburg, 5050 N. Johnsburg Road.
Call (874) 360-1008 or visit www.africanchildrenschoir.com.
Updated: February 4, 2014 2:37AM
Launched in 1984 during the Ugandan civil war, the British Columbia-based African Children’s Choir project aims to provide educational opportunities for young people in East Africa who might otherwise never see the inside of a college classroom.
The focus of that mission is the sharing of song, and the 40th choir in the organization’s history is scheduled to make two Lake County stops on its current Midwestern tour, starting with a free performance this Sunday, Dec. 8, at Waukegan Community Church.
According to Sarah Lidstone, North American choir operations manager, the three-week tour began this week in Madison, Wis., and looks to bring a flavor of the Ugandan culture to the United States from Iowa and Illinois to Ohio and New York.
“The theme of it is how East Africa celebrates Christmas, so it kind of takes the audience through the story of what it would be like,” Lidstone said. “Obviously, it’s a different culture, so we highlight that through song and dance and through story as well.”
Lidstone added that the 80-minute show is staged at both regional theaters and churches, and the tour arranged stops in both Waukegan and at 7 p.m. on Dec. 10 at Joyful Harvest Church in Johnsburg, 5050 N. Johnsburg Road.
“Each choir is a new set of children and the choir tours last for about a year,” she said. “When they return to Uganda, they return to their boarding school and they have sponsorship and they’re given an education for their college or university.
“Part of this program of touring is to raise awareness, (and) some of the children who will be performing in the choir still need sponsors, so this is also an opportunity for people to become involved and become a sponsor to one of the children,” Lidstone added.
According to information provided by Music for Life, the choir’s parent organization the program has educated more than 52,000 children over the past three decades. Along with Uganda, choir members are drawn from Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa.
“We work with children that are vulnerable and in great need, so education is one of the ways that can be a huge part of changing these children’s lives, so that is what our goal is,” Lidstone said. “Through the fundraising efforts and through the awareness, we allow these children to make a difference in their communities back home.”
The performance at Waukegan Community Church, 1016 Grand Ave., is scheduled for 6 p.m. Both the Waukegan and Johnsburg concerts are free and open to the public.