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Leading Kenyan choir poised to make history

By George Orido | Published Tue, November 28th 2017 at 00:00, Updated November 29th 2017 at 13:26 GMT +3
Members of the Nairobi Chamber Chorus in New York ahead of their main show on Broadway today. [Photo:George Orido|Standard]

The Nairobi Chamber Chorus (NCC) has been invited to perform on Broadway - the heart of New York City's performing arts scene

Founded in October 2005 by Ken Wakia, NCC could easily be described as the leading choral group in Kenya today.

The members are drawn mostly from universities, including Strathmore Business School and Kenyatta University.

The choir will be making history as the first Kenyan outfit to perform on main Broadway in New York City.

The group is in New York as the star performer at the prestigious American Institute for German Studies Global Leadership Award dinner.

“Our mission is to enable young Kenyans to participate in high-quality musical forums to build their careers or expand their knowledge and interest in the arts,” said Mr Wakia, a musicologist and Fulbright scholar.

The event will be held at Cipriani Broadway and will celebrate global economic and business success.

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“Being asked to perform at this year’s Global Leadership Award Dinner is a great honour for us and speaks volumes as to the role Kenya, the Nairobi Chamber Chorus and music is playing in the global leadership arena,” said Wakia.

Already, NCC has performed at a number of venues prior to the main show tomorrow, including Trattoria Dell'Arte, Redeye Grill and Bond 45.

"It's just amazing; the voices... I have been moved to tears just listening to them," said Sarah Ford, one of the organisers of the trip.

Charity concerts

The group has performed predominantly at charity concerts across East Africa, the US, Spain, the UK and most recently, Denmark.

Their notable performances include representing Kenya during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee at Windsor Castle in 2012 and performing for President Barack Obama on his visit to Kenya in July 2015.

In 2016, the group collaborated with Festival Singers of Florida to establish ‘AVoice4Peace,' a worldwide peace campaign that has since seen choirs from around the world performing the Zulu peace song, ‘Ukuthula’, during World Peace Day celebrations.

The repertoire for today's event includes Nyumba Ya Mwari Witu, Halleluya, Musa, My Lovely Elizabeth, Sigalagala, Ting’a Malo, Wana Baraka, Indodana, Because All Men are Brothers, Ukuthula and Rocking Jerusalem.


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