African Children’s Choir to Perform on MLK Day
The choir of talented children who have lost relatives has gained international recognition.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
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Durham, NC -- The African Children’s Choir will perform at Duke University 3 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, in Page Auditorium as part of the university’s Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration.
The event is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the Bryan Center Parking garage; directions are available here. A reception in the Bryan Center will follow the performance.
The African Children’s Choir comprises talented children, many of whom have lost parents and relatives to disease. The group performing at Duke and a sister choir based in England have appeared on “American Idol,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Ellen’s Really Big Show”; performed with Bobby McFerrin, Mariah Carey and Paul McCartney, and had their music featured on the soundtrack for the movie “Blood Diamonds.”
The choir has a dual mission of nurturing its child members through education, health care and supportive relationships, and of presenting a message of hope about their home communities through their singing and dancing. The choir sings traditional African songs, American spirituals and contemporary Christian praise music. Listen to the choir (Windows Media Player required).
African Children’s Choir manager Elsa Mugyenzi said the choir’s performance will be in the spirit of the King holiday.
“As Martin Luther King was a positive catalyst for change on behalf of African
Americans suffering human rights abuses, the African Children’s Choir is a voice and positive force for change on behalf of the most vulnerable African children suffering from poverty, war and disease,” Mugyenzi said.
The performance is part of a series of events at Duke celebrating King. The events’ theme, “The Power of Youth,” focuses on caring for children and how college students can bring about social reform.
“In the African Children’s Choir, we experience youngsters suffering as victims of poverty and disease while at the same time acting on behalf of their own recovery and growth,” said Benjamin D. Reese Jr., Duke’s vice president for institutional equity and co-chair of the university’s King commemoration committee. “We, as a committee, selected them because we saw in them a powerful example of King’s view of young people having ‘a true sense of their own stake in freedom and justice.’”
Other King events, free and open to the public, include:
-- A presentation by filmmaker Katrina Browne on her documentary “Traces of the Trade: A Story From the Deep North,” which explores her family’s historic involvement in the slave trade, at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, in Room 153 of the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy’s Rubenstein Hall.
-- A production of the “Secret Life of Bees” by the American Place Theatre, based on the book by Sue Monk Kid, which follows a Southern teenage girl who comes of age in the 1960s under the tutelage of three beekeeping sisters. The play has two showings in the Doris Duke Center at Duke Gardens: at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, and at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19.
-- A program in Duke Chapel at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, featuring a keynote address by Children’s Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman.
-- A screening and discussion of the film “Durham: A Self-Portrait,” which chronicles the city’s role in such aspects of American history as race relations, industrialization and entrepreneurship. The event is at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, in the Bryan Center’s Griffith Film Theater.
-- The Million Meals volunteer service event, which will prepare pre-packaged meals for people in need of food around the world, from 6-10 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, in the Walker Complex at North Carolina Central University.
The Duke Martin Luther King website has a complete list of events, plus clips from King’s 1964 speech at Duke. For more information, contact Sharon Caple at firstname.lastname@example.org or (919) 684-8353.