The wide, joyous white smiles of 18 Ugandan children lifted the spirits and melted hearts at the WIN Entertainment Centre on Sunday.
Their back-up - 1000 singers in a Massed Choir - creating a sweet, inspirational sound that stirred the soul and raised the roof for the Under One Sky spectacular.
The nine girls and nine boys make up the 42nd African Children’s Choir. The organisation, now in its 30th year, chooses children from needy circumstances with many of them orphaned through war, famine or disease.
Those who would not otherwise get the chance of an education are accepted into the primary school and then supported financially on through to secondary school and university.
The choir has traditionally travelled the world on tour and performed for dignitaries. The current choir, has spent seven months touring the United States and is now half way through a two month tour of Australia.
One choir member Angel, aged 9, lost her father at an early age. Her younger siblings live at home with her mother who is described by the ACC’s choir director Evah Nambatya, as a peasant.
Without the help of the African Children’s Choir Angel would never have had the opportunity to travel, let alone gain an education. Now the world is her oyster.
At the age of seven Ms Nambatya’s world changed when she was chosen to be join the 13th ACC, she later went on to study beauty threapy before becoming the ACC’s choir director. Other former members have become doctors, nurses and midwives.
The primary goal of ACC is to raise awareness of destitute and orphaned children in Africa and to raise funds for continued development and support of the academy.
‘They have loved being in Australia,’’ said Ms Nambatya, of the current choir. ‘‘It’s pretty here and all of the children have been trying to speak Australian, like: ‘g’day mate and see ya later’, it’s really funny. This has been an amazing experience for all of them.’’
Marsha Gusti, founder of Gold Coast charity KwaYa, has been helping ACC since 2011. The foundation, which organised the tour, has also raised $310,000 for the school.
‘‘The children come from really dire circumstances, but they have such joy in their life that it humbles us all,’’ she said. ‘‘They are truly beautiful.’’
The aim of KwaYa is to connect cultures through song and music.
Australian singer/songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke also performed with the African Children’s Choir at the WIN Entertainment Centre.