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Singing for a Cause

November 29, 2012

Editor’s Note: The UC Holiday Gala takes place Sunday, Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. in Riggleman Hall’s Geary Auditorium. The concert is free and open to the public.

By Andre Lore

The University of Charleston Concert Choir has a different mission this semester.  Rather than just singing beautifully, as we are still working hard to do, we have decided to go outside Keenan Music Hall and affect the lives of those less fortunate.  As many UC students know, the mission statement of the university is “preparing students for a life of productive work, enlightened living, and community involvement.”  The Concert Choir has decided that it is going to live the university’s mission statement this year, and help change the life of a child in need.  We are coming together, and as a group, raising money to give an impoverished child the gifts that have changed many of our lives: education and music.

Dr. Joseph Janisch spoke to the choir earlier this year about the possibility of adopting a child in need.  After taking a group vote, it was clear that we felt strongly about giving an impoverished child every opportunity he or she needs to succeed.  Having discussed some of the options and details, the choir decided to adopt a child for £35 a month—or roughly $50.  Given that there are over 20 members in the choir, it was decided that giving a little more than two dollars in spending money paled in comparison to having the chance to positively affect the life of a child.  Dr. Janisch acquired some information about the program, and found out that the children least likely to get adopted are teenagers.  The choir came to the consensus that it would be best to adopt a person who might otherwise be overlooked.  The question then becomes, “What does this child get for $50 a month?”

According to the African Children’s Choir’s website, when a group, such as UC’s choir, adopts a child, the child will receive a fully paid tuition to school, school supplies, school uniforms, and a meal every day until he/she graduates from high school.  The Music for Life Institute—the organization responsible for the African Children’s Choir—focuses on the needs of children in the African countries of Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, and South Sudan.  Giving only $50 a month, the education of a child, who might otherwise not receive one, is guaranteed kindergarten through graduation.  Recently, the choir received information on the teenager we adopted—Joash.

Joash is a 17-year-old boy from Uganda.  He, unlike many children in Africa, is not an orphan and lives with his parents.  Joash is currently in the tenth grade.  What does the donation of $50  mean to Joash? In his own words, “Life here in Uganda is not easy, but thanks to your help, I will be able to receive support in such areas as an education that will help me both now and later on in life, books, supplies, clothing, nourishment and medical care…”  The choir will continue to receive information on Joash and learn about his progress throughout the year.  To fully understand why UC’s choir adopted a child, it is important to hear from some of its members.

Many believe, and not incorrectly, that college students have little to spare.  In a time when we are all trying to scrap by to pay our own bills, what would possess us to give away money we desperately need? Chante Reeves, a sophomore, said, “Music has saved my life…Music helps me live that much more abundantly, so who am I not to lend a hand in the lives of those less privileged?”  Dr. Joe Janisch spoke very eloquently about the difference we were making in Joash’s life: “I saw this as a way to make a connection because music means so much to me, and it will mean so much to this child.  I also wanted the choir to see that they can make a difference in the world and empower a child to make a difference in his own life.  My life has been so blessed that it is my responsibility to be a blessing to others.”  The overwhelming majority of the choir shared the sentiment that it is our responsibility as citizens of the world to make a difference in the lives of others—especially when it can be accomplished by sharing our love of music.

Like the University of Charleston, the African Children’s Choir has its own mission statement and purpose: “Helping Africa’s most vulnerable children today, so they can help Africa tomorrow.”  By donating $50 , we not only help a child overcome his or her own obstacles today, but help enrich the lives of children for generations to come.  Education is the most powerful tool that can be given to a child, and this organization helps bring it to those who are in desperate need; all through the gift that is music.

For more information on the African Children’s Choir, please visit their website at africanchildrenschoir.com.

If you are interested in joining or hosting the University of Charleston’s Concert Choir for a concert, please contact Joe Janisch at josephjanisch@ucwv.edu

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