African Children’s Choir to Perform in US Churches

Dorothy Nabwami recalls being one of the lucky ones.

She was 9 when representatives with a newly formed organization called the African Children’s Choir came through her poor village in Uganda and chose her to be part of the international singing group.

She remembers flying on a plane for the first time and touching down in the United States. She remembers soaking in all that America had to offer but knowing that when she returned to Uganda, things would be different for her.
She remembers being happy.
“I loved singing,” she said by phone from North Carolina earlier this week, recalling how she sang in her local Sunday school choir in her village.
Now 27, Nabwami is guiding little souls through their first international experience as a chaperone for the choir, which will perform at a number of churches throughout central Virginia starting next week.
The African Children’s Choir consists of 16 children ages 7 to 10. Many have lost one or both parents to war, famine or disease. The children come from Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, South Sudan, South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana. They spend a year traveling in the United States, Canada or Europe, performing traditional African songs and dances and ultimately, raising money for relief and development programs for African children.
Proceeds from choir trips have allowed choir founders, and its parent organization, Music for Life, to build much-needed orphanages, schools and other resources for children who otherwise have little to no access to such aid.
As such, these resources are available to choir members upon their return to their home countries.
Nabwami said she had a job back in Uganda but gave it up to spend a year working as a chaperone with the choir.
In these children, she sees herself.
“I want to give back to the organization,” she said. When it comes to the children — eight boys and eight girls — “I understand them (and) I really like to be part of these children’s lives.”
Many children don’t have dedicated adults in their lives, but through the choir, she said, “this has really made them open up and share their feelings.”
The children, Nabwami said, call her “auntie.”
“You see happiness in their faces,” she said. “I’m so grateful for the organization.”

hprestidge@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6945

by HOLLY PRESTIDGE|Times Dispatch

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