Watoto Children’s Choir performs in Clarendon Hills
A traveling group of the Watoto Children's Choir will perform in Clarendon Hills.
Christian Church of Clarendon Hills, 5750 Holmes Ave.
6 p.m. July 1
Free; free-will offering will be accepted
More concert information at (630) 323-3456 or www.ccch.org
For more on the choir and mission, see watoto.com
Updated: June 26, 2012 9:24PM
Today, they’re the smiling, joyful members of the Watoto Children’s Choir. But not all that long ago, they were “forgotten children of Africa.”
Orphaned, homeless, sick, injured and victimized by the brutal wars and AIDS/HIV that have swept across Africa in the past decades, “they’ve all got some terrible tragedy in their lives,” says Rev. Robert Locklear, pastor of the Christian Church of Clarendon Hills.
However, thanks to the Watoto mission of Uganda, which, since 1994 has worked to save women and children of Africa, these children have a stable home, education, health care, food, clothing and above all, safety.
So now, Locklear says, “They’ve found a joy in music that they want to share, and they want to help others.”
Thus, a group of 22 young performers now on tour in the U.S. will perform their bright, lively program of music and dance at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 1, at the church, 5750 Holmes Ave.
This is one of several traveling troupes of the Watoto Children’s Choir that has become advocates and fundraisers for the mission, and to raise awareness about the plight of those Africans who continue to suffer.
“We’ve been hearing about them for a while, but this is their first visit here,” says Locklear. The children will present a song or two during the regular worship services at the church on Sunday morning, July 1. But it’s at their official 6 p.m. show that same day when they pull out the stops.
Their program, called “Beautiful Africa,” is, Locklear says, “a kind of journey through Africa. They wear brightly colored costumes, and it’s a program that mixes technology and music, and they mix their music, the sounds of their drums, with American songs.”
Locklear notes that the program is free, and everyone is invited. “We have 720 seats, but we can put up folding chairs too,” he said. A free-will offering will be taken, and all money collected will go directly to the Watoto mission.
“This is a unique opportunity to meet face-to-face the people who will benefit from your donation,” says Locklear.
The choir members and their 11 chaperones will mingle with the audience following the show.
Locklear notes that this will be another great opportunity, particularly for youngsters who attend the show. “They’ll have a chance to meet other children who’ve come here from the other side of the world,” he says. “It should be a lot of fun for the whole family.”