Child choristers win East Ren’s hearts and minds

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Generous East Renfrewshire families opened their hearts, homes and wallets to welcome children from wartorn parts of Africa and to raise funds and awareness of the work of the African children’s choirs programme.

Almost £2,800 was raised at a recent recital in Giffnock as part of a world tour.

Organiser Elaine Clarke explained: “The money goes towards schooling and training of all the choirs in Africa.

“The Choir’s international educational endeavour provides unique training for the children.

She continued: “Once choir members have completed a concert tour, they will return to their homelands with the tools necessary for bettering their future.

The children in a schools choir have been on tour for a year touring in Canada, USA and UK and return to Uganda at the end of this month.

“The primary goal of the choir is to raise awareness of the need of destitute and orphaned children in Africa and to raise funds for continued development and support of the African Children’s Choir Programmes.

“The four children we had staying left a postcard thanking us for the food, the warm beds, the showers, playing puzzles with them, having them to stay.”

She continued: “It was an absolute pleasure for all the host families to help in this way.

“The actual concert was just amazing. I never heard such applause – the children melted the hearts of their audience.”

The African Children’s Choir is composed of African children, aged seven to 10 years old.

Many have lost one or both parents through the devastation of war, famine and disease. Their message represents all the children of a continent and they demonstrate the potential of African children to become strong leaders for a better future in their land.

Over the past 20 years, children’s choirs have appeared in thousands of concerts around the world, including concerts at the Pentagon and the United Nations.

They have been featured on popular television and radio broadcasts such as GMTV and Blue Peter.

However, organising this event was Elaine Clarke of Giffnock South Church, who stepped up after a last minute venue cancellation.

She said: “We stepped in as a venue at very short notice. We had concerns over finding the host families and getting an audience on Hogmanay. It worked out very well with all the choir accommodated and more than 450 attended.”