African Children's Choir to Perform with SSC & Plymouth Students, 2/8 & 10
South Shore Conservatory (SSC) and The Visual and Performing Arts Department (VPA) of the Plymouth Public Schools (PPS) are in for a rare treat as the African Children's Choir (ACC) visits their campuses and performs in concert with their students. All proceeds from these concerts benefit the ACC, which utilizes music to provide food, shelter, education, and medical relief to children in need in Africa. The ACC's first unique choral collaboration, with singers from Plymouth Public Schools is on Saturday, February 8, 7 pm at the Performing Arts Center at Plymouth North High School, 41 Obery Street, Plymouth. On Monday, February 10, 7 pm, the Choir performs with SSC's Pure Treble and Pure Harmony choruses at the Duxbury Performing Arts Center at 73 Alden Street, Duxbury.
Plymouth Public Schools educator Kathy McMinn, conductor of several South Shore choruses, including those performing with ACC, is instrumental in bringing the choir to this area. From 2008 to 2011, McMinn spent part of each summer volunteering in South Africa working for the Music For Life Institute, the parent organization for the African Children's Choir. "As an educator, I always strive to find the most enriching experiences I can for my students. Music is such a strong vehicle with which to do this," shares McMinn. "After spending time in South Africa, it became my secret wish to somehow bring my American students together with students from Africa. You can imagine how surprised and thrilled I was when I realized that was really going to happen! I'm excited that our students will have the opportunity to perform with a world renowned touring choir, and that they will have a chance to work side-by-side with these children from another continent and learn that they are, in fact very similar to them."
Thousands of children were left orphaned and starving in the wake of Uganda's bloody civil war. In 1984, human rights activist Ray Barnett was called in to help. One day, while traveling by jeep to a far-off village, Ray became inspired by the singing of one small boy. He thought that if he could show the world that Africa's most vulnerable children have beauty, dignity and unlimited ability it would be possible to lift Africa up, one child at a time.
The first Choir, which was formed that year, came from Kampala, Uganda. They were taught to sing and dance and drum, and were prepared to live in a very different culture. The choir traveled from Uganda to tour North American church communities, immediately impressing audiences and quickly becoming ambassadors for many thousands of children like them back home. The donations they received not only provided for their own support and education, but proceeds from the first tours also funded the building of an orphanage back in Kampala from which a second African Children's Choir was selected.
Since its inception in 1984, there have been over 1,000 members of ACC. They, in turn, have provided education to over 52,000 children in Uganda, Sudan, South Africa, Ghana, Rwanda, Nigeria, and Kenya. Because of the help they received, they have grown up to lead and develop their beautiful nation. McMinn eagerly awaits sharing her worldly experiences with each of the choirs involved, and enjoying their interaction. "I am excited that my students will see in the African Children's Choir a promise of a bright future, and in turn, see that in themselves. I am most excited for all of my students to learn first-hand that music truly is a universal language. This will be an amazing experience for us all!"