Photo: Amani Children's Choir/Facebook

A children’s choir from Kampala, Uganda currently touring the United States will perform a concert Sunday afternoon at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Aquebogue.

The 25-member Amani Children’s Choir — kids ages 7 to 15 — is on a nine-month American tour, sharing traditional Ugandan song and dance to raise funds to help their community back home.

On Long Island through May 12, they will perform Sunday at 4:30 p.m. at Our Redeemer. The concert is open to the public and a free-will donation will be taken to support education and facilities, including a girls’ dormitory and drinking water wells in their community back home.

This is the choir’s third annual tour of the U.S. Each year they’ve sent a different group of kids. The tours have been arranged through Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian aid organization that Our Redeemer parishioners have worked with for many years, filling thousands of shoeboxes with supplies and goodies for the organization’s Operation Christmas Child.

Our Redeemer congregant Debbie Sellers has participated in Samaritan’s Purse ministries and for the past two years has hosted visiting members of the Amani Children’s Choir and their teachers in her Reeves Park home.

The choir members travel with teachers from their schools, who are chaperones for the U.S. tour and keep the students up with their studies while on the road.

Nearly every member of the choir visiting this year has received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox, Sellers said.

“What makes them so special is the joy they are filled with,” Sellers said. “Joy is different than happiness. It goes so deep and it just exudes from them in everything that they do.”

Sellers went on a mission trip to Uganda last year, an experience she said was “enlightening and amazing.”

This year she’s hosting three girls, ages 10, 11 and (almost) 15, and one teacher.

“They walked into my home, but more important, they walked into my family,” Sellers said.

As a host, she transports them to appearances they’re making across Long Island while they’re here. Yesterday they were in Flushing, Queens, this morning they had to be at a school in Smithtown by 6:30. It’s a whirlwind, Sellers said, but a lot of fun.

Her Reeves Park neighbors and Our Redeemer congregants have cooked and provided dinners for Sellers and her guests, so she doesn’t have to worry about that after a long day on the road.

“It’s so uplifting how everyone comes together to support you in our community,” Sellers said.

The choir made a 22-hour trip from Uganda to Houston, Texas. They have so far performed in Texas, Georgia, Virginia and New York.

Through traditional Ugandan song and dance, the choir shares their love for God in the goodness of their lives, the group said in a press release. Over the past years the children have appeared in hundreds of concerts around the world.

Their impact of previous tours has given 300 children the opportunity to go to school and to belong to a family that loves them and brought clean water to communities in Uganda that never had water and school classrooms and safe environment (dormitory for 10 girls) for children to attend school.

“The choir’s mission is To facilitate the holistic development of a child, in partnership with support partners and the nurturing environment of the child, to produce servant leaders and self-sustaining Godly generations.”

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.