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African children's choir coming to Airdrie

By: Dawn Smith

  |  Posted: Thursday, Feb 07, 2013 01:08 pm

Airdrie's Living Springs Christian Fellowship church is hosting the Watoto African Children's Choir, Feb. 13. The evening will feature dancing, singing and stories from the Ugandian-based organization.
Airdrie's Living Springs Christian Fellowship church is hosting the Watoto African Children's Choir, Feb. 13. The evening will feature dancing, singing and stories from the Ugandian-based organization.
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Airdrie and area residents are invited to attend a musical celebration at Living Springs Christian Fellowship church on Feb. 13 at 7 p.m.

The Watoto African Children’s Choir will be performing at the church as part of its sixth tour entitled Beautiful Africa: A New Generation.

The evening will feature original African music, dance routines and life-transforming stories.

It’s not the first time the choir has visited the church and spokesperson Peggy Buzzard said she is looking forward to the return of the group.

“It was excellent, they are very enthusiastic and so much fun,” said Buzzard of the previous concert she attended. “It’s just a fun evening. It’s a good family event, something everyone can come out to.”

Entrance to the concert is free, but a donation collection will take place during the performance with the money going to support the choir, which is made up of youth, ages seven to 13.

The money will be put to good use, according to Art Henkel, the choir’s public relations manager.

“Watoto is a Swahili word for children and in Uganda we care for 2,600 children,” said Henkel, explaining the Watoto organization is much more than choir tours.

Watoto is a non-profit organization working in Uganda that was founded by Canadians Gary and Marilyn Skinner 20 years ago.

The faith-based organization offers holistic care for children and war-affected women in the African country.

As part of its program, the Watoto Children’s Choir was established in 1994. Choirs travel internationally for six months as ambassadors for the millions of children in Africa who are orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS, war and poverty.

The children in the choir have suffered the loss of one or both parents and live in one of the three Watoto Children’s Villages where they receive care and education.

“Children can stay until they have graduated from university,” said Henkel, explaining that Watoto children get only one chance to tour.

“This is their opportunity to experience a new culture, and get to practice their English,” said Henkel.

“Our whole goal is to build future leaders for Uganda, this a great opportunity. It is a great experience for them.”

Henkel said the concert will not only be entertaining, but will give attendants an opportunity to get to know what is happening in Uganda and how they can get involved.

“They tell their stories, it is heart-gripping,” said Henkel, adding some of the children have recently come out of extremely difficult circumstances.

“It is really a celebration of what has changed in their life.”

Henkel encourages residents to attend the concert.

“Come out for an evening of fantastic celebration from young children,” he said. “They have something to celebrate it is certainly an enjoyable evening.”

For more information, visit www.watoto.com


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