Children's choir brings African flair to Rock County
JANESVILLE—More than 20 members of the Watoto Children's Choir of Uganda will offer insight into their lives when they perform in Janesville and Beloit on Saturday and Sunday, May 17-18.
The children, ages 7 to 12, will sing up to eight songs, dance and share experiences through short videos.
Phillip Mugerwa, who leads the choir, said all of the children have lost one or both of their parents. They live in three Watoto children's villages in Uganda, where they receive care and schooling.
Since the choir began traveling abroad in 1994, more than 1,000 choir members have raised awareness about orphaned and vulnerable children in Africa. More than 60 choirs have traveled globally to give children a bigger worldview.
“We try to give many children the experience,” Mugerwa said. “Most children can sing and dance. They have a small audition. After touring with one choir, we go home and train a new one.”
Most songs are in English. Some are worship songs. Some are contemporary and represent the future of Africa. One is a modern hip-hop number.
Dance steps are specially choreographed to the songs, Mugerwa said.
He explains that the performance is about more than entertainment.
“Our singing and dancing are really about praising God,” Mugerwa said. “It is a way to give thanks for the good things God has done through the choir.”
Children will perform at New Life Assembly of God in Janesville and Central Christian Church in Beloit.
The choir started its journey in Texas four months ago and traveled through several Southern states before coming to the Midwest. The choir is part of Watoto Child Care Ministries, an international organization caring for about 3,000 children.
“Main goal of our choir is to share the love of Jesus while we travel,” Mugerwa said. “We believe that Jesus is the hope of the world.”