They’ve played on the world stage over the past 29 years, the lights shining on these young, talented, Grammy award-nominated children. But when the stage lights go off from each Choir, they’re just a group of kids, playing at host homes, on the beach, or at the park, smiling and sharing stories with families a world away from the slums of Uganda.
One of our Choirs have just enjoyed a short stay in homes across eastern Australia, evoking the same response from their hosts: tears, loving hugs and lasting memories.
Perhaps it’s because families didn’t know what to expect when these kids walked into their homes; it didn’t take long though, for young and older family members to be drawn in by the children’s beaming, optimistic smiles, their hearts opening up over a game, dinner, or reading a book together. It’s been a heart-warming experience repeated family by family, town after town during the African Children’s Choir’s recent tour of the east coast of Australia in July-August this year.
Three years after Kwaya Australia first began taking choral groups to Uganda on a cultural exchange program, participants and their home choirs have opened their homes to the 18 children and their chaperones, providing a unique opportunity to engage and interact directly with the African Children’s Choir.
The Australian visit was tailored for local communities by providing more workshop interactions at schools and community halls, sharing Ugandan culture through song, dance and drumming.
There was an overwhelming response to this cultural exchange tour, with all ticketed concerts and workshops sold out as the group travelled from Melbourne to Sydney, Blue Mountains, Port Macquarie, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast over five weeks.
Everyone who has seen these children perform can see what an incredible potential future they have; they might be kids from vulnerable backgrounds, but they have a world of opportunity ahead of them. It’s that optimism and potential which has opened up the hearts of all Australians who have had interaction with these joyous, talented children.