Choir brings the sounds of Africa to Morpeth
A children's choir brought the sounds of Africa to Morpeth at the weekend when they performed live for crowds in the town's centre.
The Pearl of Africa Children's Choir from Uganda held an open-air concert in Morpeth Market Place on Saturday to kick-start their tour to raise much-needed funds for schools and orphanages back home. Throughout the afternoon they wowed passers-by with a mix of traditional African music, dance and drumming.
The choir is touring England this autumn to support the work of UK-based charity Pearl of Africa Child Care. The charity raises money for the Molly and Paul Child Care Foundation in Uganda, which aims to give young people, from one of the world's poorest nations, a safe place to live and the chance of an education.
The talented singers, dancers and drummers are some of the 2 million orphans in the African nation as a result of HIV/AIDs, disease and war. They are currently being cared for in schools funded by the Foundation in the country.
The tour is the main fundraising method used to raise the £325,000 it costs to keep the schools open every year, ensuring the Foundation can continue to give over 2200 children the chance of a brighter future.
Last year, the choir raised over £14,000 in the North East alone thanks to generous donations from local residents and businesses.
Before their performance in the Market Place, the choir members enjoyed a special reception with the Mayor of Morpeth, Councillor Phil Taylor. The reception, which was held in the Mayor's Parlour at Morpeth Town Hall, gave Councillor Taylor the opportunity to welcome the choir back to the town and see them perform.
He was also able to meet some of the local residents who have worked tirelessly to bring the children to the North East again for the tour. Whilst the choir is in the area they are staying with a number of host families and using Morpeth Methodist Church as their base.
Councillor Phil Taylor said: "We really look forward to having the choir in Morpeth. It is a very worthy cause and we want to support them in any way we can. I will be attending the performance at Morpeth Riverside Centre on Saturday too."
The choir followed up the concert in the Market Place with performances at Scots Gap Methodist Church and Hirst Park Middle School in Ashington.
This week they have also spent time with local school children at Stobhillgate First School and Collingwood School and Media Arts College, giving workshops in singing, drumming and dancing.
Morpeth resident, Kim Black, who is a Trustee for Pearl of Africa Child Care, said: "The performance in Morpeth Market Place was a great way to kick-start the tour and as always the choir has been met with a very warm welcome from people in the local area. On behalf of the organising committee in the North East, I would like to thank everyone who has shown their support so far by attending concerts and giving generous donations.
"There is still a long way to go to reach our fundraising target and we hope that many more people will come out to see the choir and help us raise money for the charity at the remaining concerts."
Tickets for the concert at Morpeth Riverside Centre on Saturday cost £5 and are available by ringing 01670 514 665.
The choir is also performing at Bothal Middle School on Monday and Ashington High School on Wednesday.
If you would like to make a donation to the charity online, visit www.pearlofafrica.org.uk. You can also donate £5 by texting 'Care38 £5' to 70070.
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