African Children’s Choir to share songs

Audiences in Lacombe and Clive will be inspired by sounds of the group

INSPIRATION - The African Children’s Choir is performing at the Clive Baptist Church June 16th and the Church of the Nazarene in Lacombe on June 22nd.

INSPIRATION - The African Children’s Choir is performing at the Clive Baptist Church June 16th and the Church of the Nazarene in Lacombe on June 22nd.

The African Children’s Choir will be lighting up Lacombe and Clive on their tour through Central Alberta this month.

The Choir will perform at the Clive Baptist Church on June 16th and at the Church of the Nazarene in Lacombe on June 22nd. Performances for both are 7 p.m.

The African Children’s Choir is a part of Music for Life. A free-will offering is taken at the performance to support African Children’s Choir programs, such as education, care and relief and development programs.

The children come from families in Uganda, Kenya and a few other regions of Africa.

“I love seeing the host families and people react during the performance. It’s encouraging. It is powerful to see people moved to tears with the joy, smiles and politeness of the children,” said Tour Leader Nate Longstaff.

Longstaff chaperones the choir as the children tour around the world performing their songs and dances. He has a background working with music and youth groups, and has been with the organization for six months.

This year’s tour will include stops in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Alaska and Washington.

“I often ask them if they’re nervous. I describe the symptoms and they always say ‘no’. They love performing and get excited to perform,” he said. “There is too much stimulation and excitement to allow room for homesickness.”

Karlene Crawford, who has worked with the choir for many years said that, “People are not prepared for how excellent this choir is.

“I think that a lot of what we hear about Africa is so negative. The concerts kind of shed a different light and the kids show hope. It really shows a different side of things,” she added.

In the past, Crawford was a representative volunteer for the African Children’s Choir and for their parent organization, Music for Life. She also worked in Uganda as a principal at the music academy, where many of the children attend school after their tour.

Crawford and Longstaff both agreed that the best part of working with the choir is being humbled by the beauty of the children’s interactions and of course the immense talent shown by the children.

Longstaff described his experiences touring with the kids as, “An immense growing-up experience.

“It is such a joy and such a blessing seeing the kids’ characters and personalities. Seeing them grow in size and character is amazing,” he said.

He continues, saying that he finds the children hilarious and loves their great attitudes. He adds that the choir “Is like a big family.”

Music for Life has helped over 60,000 African children through donations, awareness and education and housing facilities built through the collection of funds from the tour.

The children are accepted into the choir after being chosen by a scout based on greatest need and a hunger for bettering themselves. They audition, and are chosen based on musical ability and skill.

After the tour, the kids head back to Africa and most attend a music academy. The academy offers full or half board for students, depending on their home situation and needs.

“The choir works on so many levels. The kids get confidence and really get a voice. They start to understand what they contribute, and bring those feelings back home,” said Crawford. “The kids also really develop when they’re on tour. I’ve seen these children grow and graduate and give back to their communities.

“I think it’d be great for people to know that the choir only represents the work and hope that comes from Music for Life. The sponsorships and other programs that happen in Africa are what they aren’t seeing. Hundreds of kids are in the choirs, but thousands have been helped in Africa through proceeds, awareness and concert fees and donations.”

The performances are emotional and intense.

“These kids come from such humble beginnings and backgrounds. You come away with such a feeling of hope – renewed hope,” said Longstaff.

He says that the performances are, “Ultimately a demonstration in hope and love, which is something lacking in western culture.”


Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Most Read