Report by Willow Burrows
Starting with a prayer, the Pearl of Africa Children’s Choir steps onto stages all over Cornwall and other places in the UK, to raise enough money to keep their school and 6 others open back home in Kamazunda.
Friday was a busy day for the choir, they visited Threemilestone and Bosvigo Schools in the morning, where primary school students watched in awe as they experienced the energetic performance of the choir. Both Headteachers commented that they were fascinated to watch their own students reactions to Pearl of Africa. After lunch, Cusgarne School visited Richard Lander School to enjoy a third mini-concert. Richard Lander students did not miss out, however, as the inexhaustible choir put on 2 more mini-concerts for KS3 and KS4 that afternoon.
The choir has now been touring for two months, and are due to return to Uganda in two weeks. They have been all over the UK sharing their inspirational song, dance, gymnastics and African culture.
The Pearl of Africa Choir is made up of twenty children, who are chosen from around the two thousand students who benefit from the schools in Uganda.
This year the youngest child is only eleven years old, called Laura. The oldest age is eighteen though there are also trainers who are a little older.
The choir train February-August, Monday to Friday for two hours, and then train for half a day on Saturday. Sunday is their day off. In September, they embark on their European tour.
Robert, the Child Protection Officer for Pearl of Africa, said, ”The children must be proud of themselves, knowing that they are doing good. When they return home it will be the Christmas holidays so they will have a rest. Then after, they will have special classes to catch up on the lessons they’ve missed.” When we asked him if the choir get homesick he answered: “They understand that they are part of a bigger picture and every minute they are here, they earn an extra increment—be that a penny or a pound—for the schools in Uganda. Other students have done this for them in the past. “ Certainly the choir members we spoke to seemed to be having a great time, one said she would like to stay here forever, and another said that even when she has time off still sings and writes music, she said “I think I am addicted to music!”
I asked Flavia, a member of the choir: How do you project so much energy in all of your performances? She answered ”We train a lot and practise makes perfect. We always train with a lot of energy so that we’ll preform with a lot of energy.”
We wish the Pearl of Africa all the very best for the rest of their tour dates and a safe journey home.