By George Orido
The venue was the outgoing US Ambassador Scott Gration’s residence in Nairobi’s Muthaiga. The event was celebration of US Independence Day – July 4.
A group of young musicians were ready to belt the first sounds to herald the celebrations of this important day in the calendar of American citizens.
The group, Nairobi Chambers Chorale (NCC), started by singing both Kenyan and American national anthems.
The chorale is used to singing before political and corporate leaders – and they never disappoint. And they were fresh from entertaining royalty in Britain.
“The group is fresh from a major tour of the United Kingdom where they performed at the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee pageant in Windsor,” announced Mr Haynes Jones, the Chancellor of Public Affairs at the US Embassy in Nairobi, and the audience applauded.
In the presence of the Queen, the choir of 28 performed Narudi Mashamabani by David Zalo.
“We Kenyans feel like we own the Queen,” says a jubilant Charles Njonjo, who had accompanied the group in a pre-pageant concert organised by the Kenyan Society in Berkshire, Slough. In a way, Mr Njonjo is right. The then Princess Elizabeth became queen while visiting Kenya in 1952 after the death of her father, King George.
Before the performances at the Queen’s ceremony, the choir joined other groups at the Castle ballroom where Queen Elizabeth shook the hands of the chorale members and said, “I remember that day.”
The Kenyan delegation felt so much at home and assured.
“It was a surprise because I didn’t expect to meet her personally and the experience of holding her hand and our eyes meeting. She was truly real!,” exclaims Maureen, a member of the troupe.