Members of the African Children's Choir spread the message of hope during their performances. The group has two concerts in Nanaimo Sunday (Nov. 8) at the First Baptist Church.

Choir sings message of hope and beauty

NANAIMO - The African Children's Choir performs two shows in Nanaimo Sunday (Nov. 8) at the First Baptist Church.

Members of the African Children’s choir have witnessed the darker side of life but when they sing on stage they bring a message of hope and beauty.

There is delight in their voices that sing with an exuberance and knowledge that life can change if their positive message reaches the right ears.

The African Children’s Choir visits Nanaimo Sunday (Nov. 8) during two performances at the First Baptist Church.

“It’s more than just a concert for a lot of people it’s really eye opening and people go away thinking how can I make a difference,” said Emily Gronow, tour leader for the choir.

It’s an experience that Gronow experienced first hand. She attended a performance last year in her home in England. She was so moved by the performance she decided to get involved in the organization and has been touring with the children since February.

“That is key… bringing an image of hope and positivity to a world that needs help,” she said.

The children in the choir are travelling around the world. It’s an exceptional experience for them, explained Gronow.

“They are experiencing living in a completely new way,” she said.

For example, Gronow said many of the children saw snow for the first time this tour. They were surprised how cold it was and didn’t know what to do with it.

“As a group the beauty of experiencing new things together is very much like a family. It’s amazing to see,” said Gronow.

The African Children’s Choir was founded by British Columbian resident Ray Barnett in 1984. He decided to take an innovative approach to raise money to fight poverty, starvation and disease in Africa. According to the organization’s website Barnett knew people “get uncomfortable and tired of seeing depressing images,” so he decided to create an organization that inspired hope and showed beauty and the possibility of change.

Attendees get a chance to meet the children after the performances and the people who work and travel with them as they tour the globe.

The African Children’s Choir performs Sunday at the First Baptist Church, located at 1650 Waddington Rd. There are two shows, 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. Money raised during the choir’s travels goes to establish schools throughout Africa for children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access education. According to the choir’s website money raised has also recently been used to help orphaned children in South Africa who were “battling hunger and disease.”

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