African Children’s Choir coming to Merced

A vibrant blend of gospel with African traditional music, along with bright costumes, drumming and dancing, is coming to Merced this week as the African Children’s Choir returns to Gateway Community Church for a special performance.

The 90-minute program is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the church, 353 E Donna Drive.

Admission is free, but donations and sponsorships are encouraged, according to Sarah Lidstone, the group’s North American choir operations manager.

“(Audiences) can expect a wonderfully moving program,” Lidstone said. “These children are ambassadors for the other children that are in our program.”

The choir is being brought to Merced through the Music for Life Institute, which works in several countries to provide educational opportunities for vulnerable children.

Lidstone said the choir is composed of children ages 7 to 11 years old, most of whom come from areas near Kampala, Uganda.

The children travel through North America and Britain with a group of adults and their conductor, Veronica Namuyaba, who was once a member of the choir herself.

According to the group’s website, the first choir was formed in 1984. The children were selected from orphaned Ugandan children. The proceeds from their tours go toward establishing schools and fostering literacy in poor children.

To date, more than 1,000 children have participated in the choir program.

For more information about the group, visit africanchildrenschoir.com.

Sun-Star City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsunstar.com .