African choir touches hearts

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A bumper crowd descended upon Coleraine College on Monday, December 15, as the school hosted a visit of the African Children’s Choir.

The audience were treated to an evening of signing and praise from the eighteen young Ugandans whose energy, enthusiasm and vitality touched all who saw and heard them.

The choir from Coleraine College joined forces with choirs from Killowen Primary School and St John’s Primary School to form a massed choir to support and sing with the African children.

The African Children’s Choir was established by Coleraine man Ray Barnett in 1984 to help and provide support and education for some of Africa’s most vulnerable children.

Since then over 1,000 young people have been involved in the project since its inception.

Ray is a former pupil of both Coleraine Boy’s Secondary School, the predecessor to Coleraine College, and Killowen Primary School, so it was extremely fitting and poignant that the concert was hosted in Coleraine College and involved choirs from both of Ray’s old schools.

Twenty years ago children from St John’s and Killowen Primary Schools performed with the African children at a concert in Coleraine Leisure Centre.

This concert was one of the very first cross community projects that both primary schools took part in.

During this visit to Northern Ireland the African children performed in 17 concerts before touring America and Canada.

Through ticket sales, offerings, sales of official merchandise and fund raising events from all three schools, well over £3,000 was raised to support the work of the African Children’s Choir.

College Principal Mr Ricky Marsh thanked all those who helped in any way to make the night such a success and commented that it had been a privilege to be part of the whole experience.