Wednesday, 02 September 2015 16:18

African’s Children Choir set to perform in Swift Current

Written by  Rose Sanchez
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Swift Current residents will have the opportunity to hear The African’s Children Choir perform when they come to Swift Current Sept. 18.

The group takes the stage at Trailview Alliance Church at 7 p.m. Last week they were travelling through Ontario to perform before making their way to Manitoba and the prairie provinces.
“Our choir is the 43rd in the last 30 years,” says Emily Gronow, tour leader.
This choir, which started working on the performances in February, includes 18 Ugandan children ranging in age from seven to 11.
Pastors and social workers who work in countries with the organizations Music for Life (the parent organization of The African Children’s Choir) deal with will identify children who are struggling in school or pulled out often. Those children are invited to audition for the choir, explains Gronow.
“Their musical, dance and academic ability is assessed,” she adds.
Once children are selected, the rehearsals begin for them to learn the children’s songs, traditional spirituals and gospel favourites they will perform. They also perform traditional African dances for appreciative audiences as well as drumming.
The main tour for the choir lasts between nine to 12 months, with children being away from their families for up to a year. They only get to tour once, and when they return to their homes, they have the opportunity to continue to attend school with help from Music for Life.
“They get to experience new things, travel and practise their English every day,” says Gronow, about the benefits of the tour. “They appreciate the opportunities and they know, not only themselves, but their families, know the bigger picture (and benefits offered by this opportunity).”
When not performing, the children are doing school work with help from the seven adult chaperones. There is also some time to see some of the sites in the countries they are touring. In Ontario, the group has seen Niagara Falls and Canada’s Wonderland.
“They got to experience their first time on a roller coaster,” says Gronow.
All of their concerts are done on a donation basis as opposed to selling tickets. A free-will offering is taken at each performance with all money raised going toward supporting African Children’s Choir programs including education, care and relief and development programs.
This is Gronow’s first time volunteering with the African Children’s Choir. Her work ends at the end of January in her homeland, the United Kingdom.
“I’ve always wanted to work with children from Africa,” says Gronow. “It was the right timing. I was leaving my job and I felt a calling to do work with these children for a year. It’s been a great way to meet so many people from around the world.”
She, along with the children, is in wonder as they make their way through Canada.
“I had not been to Canada before. We’re seeing the differences from the east to west and everything in between. It’s a unique opportunity to see what we couldn’t otherwise.”
Gronow advises Swift Current residents who are interested in taking in the performance of the African Children’s Choir on Sept. 18 to arrive early to guarantee a seat.
“We’ve been overwhelmed with the response in Canada,” she adds, about the audience sizes the choir has performed for so far.
More information about the choir is available online at:

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