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By COLLEEN MCCARTHY
A childrenâ€™s choir is bringing the songs and dances of Africa to Mississippi State Universityâ€™s Lee Hall tonight.
The Holmes Cultural Diversity Center is hosting the Grammy-nominated African Childrenâ€™s Choir at 7 p.m. tonight in the Bettersworth Auditorium.
â€śThe Holmes Cultural Diversity Center strives to coordinate culturally enlightening and educational programs for students, faculty, staff and the surrounding communities,â€ť Program Coordinator Brea Roth said. â€śThe music is joyous and inspiring, the message is life changing; and the bright smiles of the children touch hearts in a very special way. It will also give people an opportunity to share in proving the lives of thousands of homeless and disadvantaged children in Africa.â€ť
The African Childrenâ€™s Choir was started in 1984 by human rights activist Ray Barnett, who witnessed thousands of children become orphaned by the Ugandan Civil War. The choir selected orphaned and vulnerable children between ages 7 and 11 from Kampala and Luwero, Uganda, and gave them musical training.
The African Childrenâ€™s Choir began to tour, and the money earned supported the children, funded membersâ€™ education and helped build an orphanage in Kampala.
Since 1984, more than 1,000 children have participated in the program. The 38th generation of the choir is now touring the country sharing its music and spreading its story.
Once they return to Africa, they will be given an education, leadership training and spiritual ministry.
The choir works with the Music for Life Institute, which has relief and development programs for children in Africa.
The event is free to the public, but a free-will offering will follow the concert where donations will be collected for the organization.
For more information on the African Childrenâ€™s Choir, visit http://www.africanchildrenschoir.com.