Voices for Peace belt out songs to unite the World

Members of the Nairobi Chamber Chorus directed by Maestro Ken Wakia perform at the August 7th Memorial during AVoice4Peace music concert last week. [PHOTO: GEORGE ORIDO/STANDARD]

Choral groups across the globe came out to celebrate peace in music with the August 7th Memorial Park being the epicentre of activities in Kenya under the AVoice4Peace2018 movement.

The message across the board was that peace is the more sustainable option to war and the performers shared a message of goodwill to all peace loving people of the world.

Donning white uniform to represent peace, the Nairobi Chamber Chorus looked angelic as they climbed down the staircase from the upper chamber of the circular building into the ground floor, the concert room.

In a rich repertoire of the evening, the choir under the directorship of Ken Wakia performed Sisi Ni Moja (We are One) by Jacob Narverud.

“We all want, we all need, we all seek passion, we all seek joy; we all bruise, we all scar, we all fail, but we learn to thrive; we are one world, one people, and we all breathe the same,” went part of the solemn song against the equally snow white background with pictures of the terror attack on the old US Embassy where over 250 people were killed and hundreds maimed.

The icing on the cake was the now international peace anthem Ukuthula, a South African Zulu song on peace that had all choirs participating sing and beamed live courtesy of the AVoice4Peace initiative.

In Nairobi, the song was ably led by the talented Maureen Obadha as they left the stage spreading themselves and filling the room mingling with the audience including US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec and his wife.

Elsewhere, AVoice4Peace co-founder Kevin Fenton led his Florida Festival Singers in the same vein, also headlining Ukuthula among other peace songs. Vladimir Prelog Choir led by soloist Ivana Gali? belted Ukuthula song arranged by Andre Van Der Merwe from Zagreb, Coatia. Ole Miss Concert Singers sang Let My Love Be Heard by Jake Runestad on this day led by Steh Stellah.

“We were really inspired by these wonderful messages for justice, peace and hope in the world on the wall of the newly curated August 7th Memorial Park. Please make time to visit the park when you can,” said Ken Wakia after the concert.

He was referring to many quotes of world leaders promoting peace as displayed at the Memorial Park including that of the late Koffi Anan, the former UN Secretary General and the one who brokered peace in Kenya after the 2007 elections debacle.

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of the skin, his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love for love comes more naturally to the human heart,” reads a quote from South African peace icon Nelson Mandela on the walls.

Other choirs that performed during the celebrations were West Ranch High School at the Stevenson Ranch in California performing Sisi Ni Moja, St Mary’s International School Show Choir at Mariana Romero Serra in Tokyo Japan performing How Good and Venice High School Chorus at Brittany Smit performing I Will Be A child OF Peace and Ukuthula.

Others were Berlin Public School in Germany rendering Connected, Cy-Fair Chorale in Houston Texas performing Sisi Ni Moja and University of South Florida in Morgan Burburan presenting an array of songs as selected by the AVoice4Peace repertoire.

Also singing were the Mississipi University of Women Choir as well as Maryknoll Middle University Singers led by Chris Phalen, singing Let My Love Be Heard and Florida State University Singers performing I Will Be A Child of Peace.

Choral groupsAVoice4Peace2018 movement7th Memorial Park bNairobi Chamber ChorusKen WakiaSisi Ni MojaUkuthulaUS Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec