The African Children’s Choir performs at First Baptist Church on Friday, June 7. (Photo courtesy Sarah Wanyana)

African Children’s Choir coming to Nanaimo’s First Baptist Church

The group’s 17 children are visiting North America for the first time

For the last eight months Janelle Hoekstra has been leading 17 Ugandan children across western North America, stopping at churches along the way to serenade audiences with the music of their homeland.

“To see from where they were back when they started the tour to where they are now, they’ve just grown so much in their confidence and their abilities and their enjoyment and just the way that they relate to people,” Hoekstra said. “They’ve grown so much in how they speak in and outside of the concert, so it’s been really fun to watch them grow.”

Hoekstra is the tour leader for the African Children’s Choir, part of an international Christian organization called Music for Life, which for 35 years has been building schools and educating children across Africa. Each touring choir is made up of a new group of children and on June 7 they sing at Nanaimo’s First Baptist Church.

Aside from the singing and dancing, the performances also feature video segments showing where the children are from and providing a “taste of another culture that is so different from ours but yet so the same.”

After the tour wraps up two days later in Langley the children, nine girls and eight boys from age 8 to 11, will return to their homes in the Kampala area and attend school. Hoekstra said the tour has been a learning experience as well, with the children being exposed to life in North America for the first time.

She said it’s been fun to watch them react to what they find interesting. She said they were “really gripped” by washing machines.

“Our very first day when we had to do laundry they had a washing machine with a glass top so you could see in and that’s what they wanted to do all evening was just watch the clothes spin around,” Hoekstra said. “The little things … just kind of make them giggle.”

WHAT’S ON … The African Children’s Choir performs at First Baptist Church, 1650 Waddington Rd., on Friday, June 7 at 7 p.m. Admission by donation.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ferry sailings scheduled once again at Departure Bay terminal

B.C. Ferries announces that resumption of service June 3 includes four daily round trips

Dump truck crash causes power outage in Nanaimo’s south end

No reports of injuries after crash Monday morning on Old Victoria Road

City of Nanaimo to hold invasive plant ‘drop zone’ event

Public invited to bring invasive plants to Bowen Park’s upper picnic shelter Saturday, May 30

International students ‘biggest unknown’ in Nanaimo school district’s budget planning

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ board will look at preliminary 2020-21 budget this week

Car cruise in Nanaimo lifts seniors’ spirits during pandemic

Cars 4 COVID includes Nanaimo Seniors Village in its route

Dump truck crash causes power outage in Nanaimo’s south end

No reports of injuries after crash Monday morning on Old Victoria Road

UPDATE: Woman airlifted with serious injuries, baby OK after crash in Nanaimo

Collision happened on Jingle Pot Road in East Wellington on Saturday afternoon

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Island Health signs working agreement to turn former Comox hospital into a ‘dementia village’

Island Health has signed a project development agreement with Providence Living to… Continue reading

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

Most Read