The Nairobi Chamber Chorus has its flag soaring higher and higher and just after a successful tour of Denmark two months ago, the group has just landed a big invite to perform at a global leadership awards gala and thereafter in Broadway in the heart of Manhattan.
The group under the stewardship of Maestro Ken Wakia has left for New York where they will be the star performers at the prestigious American Institute for German Studies Global Leadership Award Dinner.
The event will be held at on Tuesday at Cipriani Broadway and will be focused on celebrating global economic and business success.
And the group received the new with excitement and humility looking at the opportunity with a lot of responsibility.
“Being asked to perform at this year’s Global Leadership Award Dinner is a great honor to us and speaks volumes as to the role Kenya, the Nairobi Chamber Chorus and music is playing in the global leadership arena. It shows that leadership is not just through elective positions,” said Mr Wakia.
He noted that the recipient of this year’s award, Prof. Dr. Martin H. Richenhagen, the CEO of Agco Corporation has made great contribution in agricultural development in Africa.
“We are pleased that Agco is looking into strong partnership with Kenya through Strathmore University. This partnership will help strengthen Kenya’s robust agricultural sector,” he noted.
According to organisers of the event, the 2017 gala titled, Feed The World will highlight the Agco’s accomplishments throughout Africa.
“Over the past 10 years Africa has been a key area of growth and in hour of this growth and the evolution of farming techniques, we would like Nairobi Chamber Chorus to showcase their talent and celebrate their culture with guests at the vent,” said Lucinda Smith, the Agco Vice President in his letter of invitation to the group.
The performance of the NCC underscores the significance of Agco’s commitment to expanding its local footprint in Africa and developing the next generation of agri-entrepreneurs.
“The recently signed agreement between Agco and partners Strathmore Business School (SBS), Harper Adams University in the UK and Kenya-based The Bridge Africa, will create the new agribusiness course in Kenya, known as the Agco Agribusiness Qualification,” said Smith.
Founded in October 2005 by Ken Wakia, the Nairobi Chamber Chorus arguably todays Kenya’s leading choral group.
Membership is drawn from Nairobi institutions, mostly universities, including Strathmore Business School, Kenyatta University and other public universities.
“Our mission is to enable young Kenyans to participate in a high quality musical forum from which to build their careers or expand their knowledge and interest in the arts,” says Mr Wakia a Musicologist and a Fulbright Scholar.
The group has performed predominantly in charity concerts across East Africa, the United States of America, Spain, the United Kingdom and most recently, Denmark.
Notable performances include representing Kenya during Her Majesty the Queen of England’s Diamond Jubilee pageant at Windsor Castle in 2012, singing for President Obama on his visit to Kenya in July 2015, and in 2016 collaborating with Festival Singers of Florida to establish ‘AVoice4Peace’, a worldwide peace campaign that has since then seen several choirs from around the world performing the Zulu peace song ‘Ukuthula’ which is observed as World Peace Day.
Other than the awards event NCC will have a public performance on another Broadway Theatre Minskoff Theatre and will be treated to tours of New York historical sites.
The repertoire for the New York Broadway trip will include I Nyumba Ya Mwari Witu, Halleluya, Musa, My Lovely Elizabeth, Sigalaglaa, Ting’a Malo, Wana Baraka, Indodana, Because All Men are Brothers, Ukhuthula and Rocking Jerusalem.
The songs have different themes of peace, good relations, freedom and love.
NCCs performance on Broadway will be the first ever by an Kenyan art group after Eric Wainanina managed to perform off Broadway with his highly critically acclaimed Mo Faya a couple of years back.
Mo Faya was a musical based on the story of the Luo Legend Lwanda Magere, adopted to real life situations around informal settlements in our urban areas, and the musical directed by John Sibi Okumu was a soft parody on public mismanagement and a call to change.