Want to do something good for the world and also get more back than you gave? Then go to the Power Center this weekend and enjoy the Children of Uganda”s “Tour of Light.” Not only do the proceeds from the tour go towards children who have lost parents due to AIDS or war in Uganda, but you also get to see an exciting, first-rate performance of African music and dance.

Paul Wong
Uganda? You got it!<br><br>Courtesy of UMS

The performers in this show are not professionals rather, the Children of Uganda are talented youths between the ages of six and 17.

But even though the performers are young, the show isn”t anything less than impressive. The dancing is dynamic, the music infectious and the skits reflect the joy and hope that is seen within the performers themselves. Given the situations of the children, one might find it surprising to see them so happy to be on stage however, Luke Filose, the publicist for the Children of Uganda, said the audience should expect the opposite. “They really love what they do it shows on the smiles on their faces and in how they work and how they move together on stage. It reveals the joy in their hearts,” he said.

Each member of Children of Uganda hails from the Daughters of Charity Orphanage in the capital city of Kampala. Through tours such as this , the performers are given the chance to raise money for those who are in similar situations back in Uganda.

The audience can expect to see a variety of different acts on stage. The award-winning performance showcases many of the cultural aspects from the African continent. It consists mainly of songs and historical dances from Eastern Africa, Uganda, Rwanda and also the Congo. Many of these songs, dances and ancient rituals have evolved over the past hundreds of years to the traditional style it is performed in now.

The Children of Uganda”s purpose is not only to raise money, but also to inform the audience about the plight in Uganda and the surrounding areas. Uganda is a country ravaged by AIDS, war and poverty, where tuition at school costs as much as the average year”s income. The proceeds from the “Tour of Light” go toward the Ugandan Children”s Charity Foundation, which supports two orphanages and over 650 orphans. The program pays for the children”s education, food, medicine, and shelter, in addition to a separate facility for children of HIV positive widows. The program also emphasizes cultural education to a generation that may have never had a chance to learn the traditions of their heritage otherwise.

Frank Katoola, the program”s choreographer and director, has taught dance, music and drama for years in Kampala, Uganda. He has worked for numerous charity organizations, including World Vision Uganda, Habitat International, the American Peace Corps, as well as the Uganda Children”s Charity Foundation. Katoola has also founded the Tender Talents Theatre Company, which focuses on issues such as child abuse and the welfare of children in Uganda.

Although the Children of Uganda originally started performing at weddings, local ceremonies and births, they moved to the U.S. when the first lady of Uganda, Janet Museveni, invited the ensemble to Washington, D.C. in 1993. Since their first appearance back then, the Children of Uganda have toured bi-annually across the U.S. They were in Washington, D.C. before coming to Ann Arbor and are also touring around San Francisco, Boston, Dallas and other cities for the remainder of the tour.

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