Watoto Children’s Choir brings new show to Saanich churches

Group of 18 Ugandan orphans perform July 5 and 6 at Victoria Christian Reformed Church and Lambrick Park Church

The Watoto Children’s Choir is nearing the end of its six-month tour

It’s not their traditional style of music, but the Watoto Children’s Choir is bringing their exciting new production Oh What Love! to Saanich for two lively performances.

The choir, made up of 18 Ugandan orphans, is performing July 5 and 6 at Victoria Christian Reformed Church and Lambrick Park Church, with Saanich being one of the last stops on their six-month tour. The Oh What Love! show promises a powerful and energetic series of contemporary worship songs unlike anything you’ve heard from the choir before.

“In the past, we’ve done very cultural, African dancing,” said Abby Paterson, tour co-ordinator with Watoto Canada. “This production is a little more modern because Africa, and specifically Uganda, is developing further and becoming more modernized.

“This concert is more worship focused. It’s quite upbeat, very exciting, very high-energy. We’ve had multiple people ask if we’re doing workout videos,” she added with a laugh.

Oh What Love offers a synthpop take on its worship tunes, indicative of an emerging Africa finding its true identity. The music and choreography was orchestrated by a full creative production team based in Uganda.

“They do auditions and then there’s the selection process, then some education courses and practices and training to prep for their time on the road,” said Paterson. “It’s pretty much a six-month process.”

Since 1994, Watoto Children’s Choirs have travelled the world, raising awareness of Africa’s orphaned and vulnerable. The nine boys and nine girls in the choir have each suffered the loss of one or both parents prior to being rescued from poverty and taken to the Watoto village.

As such, Paterson said the show connects with audiences on an emotional level and is something of a passionate experience. “It’s quite sensitive and moving – it’s a very touching performance,” she said.

The choir’s two Saanich stops next week are Tuesday at Victoria Christian Reformed Church (661 Agnes St.) and Wednesday at Lambrick Park Church (1780 Feltham Rd.), both at 7 p.m. Admission is free and donations will be accepted at the shows. The choir will also be raising money through merchandise and child sponsorship.

Additionally, Paterson noted anyone interested in providing meals while the choir is in town can contact her to volunteer. Paterson can be reached by phone at 250-361-4554 or by email at choir@watoto.ca.

For more information about the choir, visit watoto.ca.


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