Members of the Ugandan Kids Choir danced their way to the stage, and they danced their way off it, and they probably danced their way into a few hearts at Hidden Creek Community Church on Sunday.
Ten children from Uganda — five boys and five girls, ages 7 to 12 — entertained the church congregation in west Olympia for about an hour. There was singing and dancing, and all of it was spirited, loud and rhythmic, generating the kind of beat that made watchers want to tap their feet right along with them.
Their visit was arranged by Childcare Worldwide, a Bellingham-based nonprofit that aims to “empower children in the developing world.”
More specifically, the nonprofit supports children’s education in nine countries, including Uganda, from primary education to a trade school or university, said Richard Carey, the group’s tour leader. The choir is a ministry of the nonprofit, according to marketing materials distributed at the church.
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After Carey introduced the choir, they burst from the back of the church and danced their way up the aisles to the stage. They then launched into three songs before each child introduced themselves and their age to the audience.
“Greetings from Africa,” they finally said as a group. “We are happy to be here.”
In addition to the music, Carey also addressed the congregation to remind them about the nonprofit’s mission and to solicit donations or find someone willing to sponsor a child in Uganda.
“It’s good the kids are ready, because I’m choking up as usual,” said Carey, who became emotional talking about the plight of some children in the developing world.
The children are set to visit churches in 12 states over 11 months. Carey travels with the group; the tour also includes a teacher and a music director, he said.
Music director Esther Birungi said some of the children are orphans.
After Washington state, the choir will head to Indiana and Illinois, and then will hit other states along the Mississippi River before wrapping up the tour in Oklahoma and Texas.
During the trip, the children stay with host families, Carey said.
According to a Childcare Worldwide brochure, 88 cents of every dollar donated is used for its programs.