(Shenandoah) -- Children from the African continent are once again bringing their music to KMAland.
Final preparations are underway for the African Children's Choir's return visit to Shenandoah. As part of its "Just As I Am" tour, the choir performs in concert Wednesday, November 27th at 7 p.m. at the First Baptist Church at 411 West Clarinda Avenue. Speaking on KMA's "Morning Routine" program, Baptist Church Pastor Don Buttry says the choir first performed in Shenandoah in 2017.
"If you were here two-and-a-half years ago," said Buttry, "they really are exciting to see, with the drums and the music. This is kids, so they're always moving. It's awesome--it's the best concert I've seen in my life."
Music For Life--the choir's parent organization--works in seven African countries, and has educated more than 52,000 children, and impacted more than 100,000 people through its relief and development programs during its 35-year history. Buttry says the choir's origin dates back to the mid-1980's.
"In 1984, Ray Barnett was working over in Africa," he said, "and he saw the poverty and the tremendous needs that were over there. He heard one child playing a drum and singing, and he got so excited about it, that he saw that through the music, he could help to educate the kids, and to build back into the community. That's the whole thing that they're looking at.
"They work out of Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa. They want to take these kids, and through this music, educate them, and send them back into their communities," Buttry added.
Buttry's wife Pam discovered the choir while on a trip to the Congo a few years back--and worked to bring them to Shenandoah.
"She's always had a deep love for the Congo," said Buttry. "We now have a son from the Congo. The African children are always so happy and joyful. So, she got to checking it out. I was the one that said, 'aw, I don't think there's any way you can do that.' She started to check it out, and started talking to people that work with the African Children's Choir, and got it lined up to come to Shenandoah. They were very happy to do it. We had a lovely turnout."
Buttry says hosting the choir takes a lot of work from volunteers.
"We've got host families that are putting up the children," he said. "They've got 17 children that are coming in, and seven chaperones. So, we've got places for those chaperones and the children to stay, then to build the equipment--get all the equipment set up."
Admission is a free will offering. More information about the African Children's Choir is available from the group's website.