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African Childrens Choir comes to Monte Vista Chapel
choir pic
The African Childrens Choir will perform at Monte Vista Chapel at 7 p.m. Jan. 24. - photo by Photo Contributed

Charming smiles and beautiful voices will soon fill the sanctuary of Monte Vista Chapel, as a children’s choir from Africa makes their way to Turlock.

Featuring well-loved children’s songs, traditional spiritual and gospel favorites, the African Children’s Choir concert is a free community event where attendees can take the opportunity to help support programs such as education, care and relief and development programs in Africa.

Music for Life, the parent organization of the African Children’s Choir, continually works in seven African countries, including Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa. Through the organization’s efforts, over 52,000 children have received education alongside over 100,000 people who have been assisted through its relief and development programs.

By focusing on education, Music for Life aims to create new leadership for Africa’s future.

Since beginning in 1984, the African Children’s Choir has performed for presidents and other world leaders, including their recent visit with Queen Elizabeth II, for her Diamond Jubilee. Additionally, the choir has sung alongside artists such as Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey, Michael W. Smith, and several others. Most recently, the African Children’s Choir accompanied South African opera singer, Pumeza Matshikiza, on some of the tracks for her debut album recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London.

According to the organization, many of the children within the African Children’s Choir have lost one or both of their parents to poverty or disease. Before being selected to join the choir, the children attend Music for Life camps where they are provided with games, crafts, music and daily devotions. Children who are selected for the tour will spend nearly five months at the Choir Training Academy in Three Rivers, South Africa, where they learn the songs and dances while attending school.

Recognizing that most schools in Africa are poorly equipped, with a student-to-teacher ratio of 100 to 1 in many places, the organization has put together a team of dedicated teachers to help keep class sizes small. In addition to traditional core curriculum, Music for Life schools offer classes in computer studies, art, music and several extra-curricular programs to help develop athletic and artistic skills.

Although the concert is free and open to the community, a free-will offering will be taken to help support the many educational programs and relief provided through Music for Life.

 The African Children’s Choir concert will begin at 7 p.m. on Jan. 24 at Monte Vista Chapel, located at 1619 E. Monte Vista Ave.