The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

October 25, 2012

Ugandan children’s choir to perform at First Baptist Church

Staff Writer

TARBORO — Songs of praise from the mouths of orphans will echo through the sanctuary walls at First Baptist Church on Halloween night. The public is invited to the free concert at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The Ugandan Thunder African Children’s Choir will sing, dance, drum and bring an overall high-energy worship experience to the audience. They will sing songs in both African and American styles.

“I think you’ll find that the spirit of the Lord will be at the concert. He was there every time I heard them sing,” said Dr. Sam Gregg, a member of First Baptist Church.

He had the opportunity to hear the choir sing on several occasions while on a mission trip to Uganda, East Africa in September 2011. Among the songs he heard during the Ugandan Thunder performance are “Days of Elijah,” “There are No Orphans of God” and the hymn of faith “Blessed Assurance.”

The choir members are from the Royal School and Orphanage in Uganda. This is the seventh year that the group has toured the United States. The chorus consists of 22 children – 15 girls and 7 boys ranging in age from 10 to 13. The children will sing under the direction of Pastor Ted Moody, whom they know as “Big Daddy.” Moody is the founder of Pennies for Posho, a Christian humanitarian organization based in Zebulon, Ga. that provides aid to 10 orphanages in Uganda.

Gregg recalls the joy that emanates from the children in the choir as they sing.

“These kids are very, very happy even though they don’t have the material blessings of the world,” he said.

In the Royal School, which is a “big step up” from the other orphanage Gregg saw while in Uganda, each child has a bunk and a small box for his/ her belongings. The children rise early and have a cup of tea. Hours later, they have their first meal of posho, a maize-based cornmeal that is the “mainstay” of the diet in Uganda, he said.

“It’s a very poverty-stricken area. A large percentage of the population lives on less than a U.S. dollar a day,” Gregg noted.

He said the AIDS epidemic and political unrest have claimed many lives, leaving a large population of orphans (more than 3 million, according to International Adoption Net). That’s where Pennies for Posho steps in. A love offering is taken at each performance stop in the Ugandan Thunder Tour and all the proceeds go to the humanitarian organization.

Gregg said seeing the Ugandan choir perform will bring to Tarboro audiences a greater awareness of the way people in third-world countries live and will give them an opportunity to count their own blessings.

“We don’t realize the blessing we have being citizens of this country,” said Gregg.

For more information or for reserved seating, call First Baptist Church at 823-0111. First Baptist is located at the corner of Main Street and Wilson.

While in Edgecombe County on Wednesday, the chorus will also visit Stocks Elementary School for a special afternoon performance.