With all smiles, a talented group of 7- to 11-year-old members of the African Children's Choir recently took the stage at Statesboro New Covenant Church to delight those in attendance.
On the road for 14 months, the children have performed traditional songs and spirituals and gospel favorites in 33 states and Canada.
Statesboro New Covenant hosted the choir members and their chaperones, with the group spending the night with families from the church. Church members provided some meals in the church building as well as some in the homes of the host families.
The choir performed on the morning of Sunday, July 28, in traditional African clothing with beautiful children's voices, synchronized movement and dance and drum accompaniment.
The African Children's Choir is a nonprofit humanitarian and relief organization dedicated to helping Africa's most vulnerable children. The organization works in seven African countries; the group performing in Statesboro was from Kampala, Uganda.
Music for Life, the parent organization, sponsors several schools in the Kampala area. Children audition to be part of the choir. Those selected are musically talented and teachable, but the organization chooses children from the neediest situations.
Once the children are selected to be part of the choir, the money they raise during the tour from free-will offerings guarantees their future education when they return home, from middle school through college.
"The kids love performing and being with host families," said Melanie Todd, an African Children's Choir chaperone and administrator. "They know what this means for their future and education. And this has the potential to help their brothers and sisters go to school, too. It's the hope that those who have been through the program will turn around and help families and break the cycle of poverty once educated."
The program has been in existence for 29 years and has helped educated more than 52,000 children.
New Covenant Pastor David McLendon said his church was honored to host the African Children's Choir.
"We love missions, and this was an opportunity to sponsor a cross-cultural experience for our community and further the kids' education," he said.