Sitting in the Memorial Chapel on Thursday night, I quickly realized that the Destiny Africa Children’s Choir is not really a choir in the traditional sense. Not just because the choir is completely composed of Ugandan orphans who have suffered through terrible tragedies, but because each member does more than just sing—they dance and play the drums, full of energy and joy, ebulliently enthusiastic for their art.
The Destiny Africa Children’s Choir (DACC) is the children’s choir of the Kampala Children’s Centre in Uganda, which rescues orphaned children and offers them support and care.
“In the Protestant Christian Community, one of our core values is service,” said Protestant Chaplain Reverend Joan Cooper Burnett. “When I heard the DACC was coming back to the area for a second tour, I thought it would be great to have the children here for our kickoff service event. I was extremely excited [that they had] a date available to perform at Wesleyan.”
The two-hour concert Thursday night was divided into three “scenes:” Flight, which expresses the desire of children to escape from conflict; The Journey, which is about the journey of the children, inner and outer, through their war-torn country; and Home Again, a celebration of peace and life that emerges despite the pervasive violence.
Personally, I found the drumming to be the most dynamic element of the entire performance. The loud, rhythmic beats added even more spirit to the already incredibly moving songs.
In addition to the live performance, video vignettes documenting the lives of those who live in the Kampala Children’s Center (KCC) divided the “scenes”. The clips showed the tragedies that wreak havoc in Uganda and leave nearly two million of its children orphaned. Yet they also spoke to the healing power of organizations like the KCC, which attempts to give the most love and care to kids with the least hope for a brighter future.
Hope truly is the overarching message of the DACC. At the beginning of the performance, each child spoke about their passions, interests, and what they wanted to be when they grew up. An orphaned child from an impoverished, war-torn country has to overcome amazing odds to become a doctor, a teacher, or a musician, but every child up on the stage cheerfully stated their cherished dreams without a trace of doubt. The program said that Destiny Africa was “the voice of hope.” Through their music, these children are spreading and embodying the message that hope for Africa is not lost.
Cooper Burnett has plans to collect items for the DACC throughout the year, with drop-off locations set up in Usdan, Olin Library, and certain residential halls. She said there were many things she hoped the audience took away from the concert.
“Awareness, a change of heart, sponsorship of children living outside of a privileged community, and a new faith!”