By STEVE EIGHINGER
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
HANNIBAL, Mo. -- The Rev. Jeff Anderson calls the appearance of the Watoto Children's Choir of Africa a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The choir, which has 22 members ranging in age from middle school to late teens, will appear at 7 p.m. April 12 at Calvary Baptist Church, 4605 W. Ely Road. It will present a "concert of hope" entitled "Beautiful Africa: A New Generation." The concert will feature vibrant African music, dance and "life-transforming stories," Anderson said.
"The choir normally appears only in large metropolitan cities, but through our church's mission work in Africa where the Watoto orphanage is located, they agreed to come to our church," Anderson, the church's pastor, said.
The public is welcome.
Anderson said the concert ties into his church's ongoing mission of trying to help children worldwide. He said there is no better way to spread the Gospel than "helping change a child's life."
Watoto Children's Choir is based in Kampala, Uganda, at Watoto Church. Watoto means "children" in the Swahili language. The choir is made up of children who have lost one or both parents to the AIDS epidemic or to war. The choir has toured Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia, New Zealand, Israel, Japan, Brazil, The Netherlands, China, Germany and Australia, accompanied by a team of 10 Ugandan adults.
The choir's performances are a blend of native African rhythms, contemporary Gospel music and ethnic dance. They have released several albums, including "Cast Your Burdens," "Jesus You Alone" and "Mambo Sawa" (Life is Good).
"This will be a rare cultural experience for a small town and small church," Anderson said.
Anderson said the choir will arrive on the day of the concert, perform, stay the night in houses of church members and then leave early Saturday.
For more information, contact Calvary Baptist at (573) 221-1404.