Music With A Message

touring African choir highlights plight of orphans

Tom Giffey

The kidnapping of more than 200 girls by a terrorist group in Nigeria recently brought attention to not only the plight of African children in areas of unrest but also to most Americans’ relative ignorance of issues impacting that continent. Outside of the occasional media attention brought by war or famine, Africa seems very distant for us – geographically and emotionally. Later this month, however, a troupe of singing and dancing children will bring Africa – with its problems and promise – home to the Chippewa Valley. The Watoto Children’s Choir  will perform a show entitled Beautiful Africa: A New Generation on May 21 at Cedarbrook Church in Menomonie. The group is composed of Ugandan orphans who have lost one or both parents to war or disease and now live in one of the “children’s villages” created by Watoto Church, a Christian mission group based in Kampala, Uganda. The children’s villages aren’t traditional orphanages; instead, they offer a more holistic approach for children, who are provided with education and health care and live in small groups in homes, where they are cared for by housemothers. For 20 years, 64 choirs from the villages have toured the world to share their personal stories – and to highlight the challenges of other Africans devastated by AIDS and violence – through music and dance that blends gospel with African traditions. Expect a vibrant performance that will move your feet – and maybe your heart.

Watoto Children’s Choir • Wednesday, May 21, 7pm • Cedarbrook Church, N6714 470th St., Menomonie • FREE • (715) 231-5433 • watoto.com