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African choir brings music, smiles to Quincy

By Alice Du Pont

First Baptist Church in Quincy was almost packed to the rafters Tuesday, July 23, when the Daraja Children Choir of Africa performed. The children’s dynamic voices had people standing on their feet, waving their hands in praise.


The purpose of the choir, according to a press release distributed by sponsors, is to glorify and worship God and to inspire Americans, Kenyans and Ugandans to use the gifts each has been given to serve one another as faithful stewards of God’s grace. The concert tour also provides the children the opportunity for cross-cultural exchange and to interact with those who attend the concerts.

Choir members, interns and staff live in the home of hosts where they learn firsthand how many Americans live, eat and play. The experience, the release stated, allows the children to experience the spiritual culture of the United States and to encourage them to understand their global role in the kingdom of God, leading them to a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.

Three words summed up how First Baptist Church member Deloris Smith felt about the performance: “It was wonderful,” she said. The choir last visited Quincy two years ago.

At 6:30 p.m., the music began and the drums beat as the room filled with the sound of the Daraja Children’s Choir. Dressed in vibrant turquoise and gold costumes, the smiles on their faces were as bright as their native dress.

Daraja is a Swahili word for bridge. The organization’s 410 Bridge provides Christ-centered community initiative development in Kenya, Uganda and Haiti. Bridge 410 volunteers serve in 26 communities serves reaching more than 300,000 people with clean water, quality education, health and wellness and economic development initiatives.

“My heart was just full when I left there. To see the faces of these kids and to know their background, it makes you want to become a sponsor,” said Sheriff Morris Young. The July 23 performance was the second time Young had seen the children perform.