Members of the African Children’s Choir celebrate in Uganda before leaving on their world tour. The children are singing free concerts in Surrey on Nov. 12 and 15.

African Children’s Choir ‘upbeat, hopeful and joyful’

Ugandan choir holding two free performances in November.

It was more than just their voices that captured Sarah Lidstone’s heart.

The songs of the African Children’s Choir told stories beyond what the lyrics said.

“It’s very upbeat and hopeful and joyful,” said Lidstone, the North America Choir Operations Manager for the African Children’s Choir, which is based out of Langley.

“It’s a concert where the children all come from very needy backgrounds. You see children where, even though they don’t have very much, they still have joy and hope.”

The choir was founded 30 years ago to provide education to children in Uganda, and audiences around the world.

Composed of a group of 18 Ugandan children, the group is touring the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom before returning back to Africa where the children will attend school.

All of the students are sponsored for their education until they finish university in their early 20s.

Through their parent company, Music for Life, which works in several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, more than 52,000 children have received education since they began.

For Lidstone, who started with the choir in 2008 and has chaperoned past tours, the experience is “inspirational.”

“It melts down people’s hearts,” she said.

“When we tour the children stay for one night with a family, and the families are in tears the next day saying goodbye to them. Just having the children in their homes for one night, it really impacts them.”

Performing a mix of Ugandan songs, gospel and traditional drumming, the choir is hosting two free shows in Surrey in November.

The first, on Nov. 12 is at the Good Shepherd Church, 2250 150 St. at 7 p.m. The second, on Nov. 15 is at the Legacy-A Church of the Nazarene, 9012 160 St. at 7 p.m.

There are no tickets needed for these events, but donations are accepted.

The children will also be selling handmade goods brought from Uganda following the performances.

For more, visit www.africanchildrenschoir.com.

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