Changing Lives in South Africa – Singing City 2016 Concert Tour
written by Jeffrey Brillhart, Music Director, Singing City
Singing City gives an informal performance at Pam’s Crèche in Soweto
Taking a tour is obviously one of the great privileges and pleasures of directing a choir! Over the years, I’ve taken my choirs to Brazil, Cuba, the Balkans, South Africa, Germany, Austria, Russia, Northern Ireland and beyond. In spite of loving a particular destination, choirs nearly always prefer to explore a new place for the next choir tour. I am fortunate to work with two choirs that tour. Because of that, I’ve been able to return to destinations that were particularly poignant. In 2007, I traveled to South Africa with the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church Senior Choir. While there, we forged a strong connection with Pam’s Crèche, a daycare center in Kliptown, a shantytown of 45,000 people located in Soweto. The crèche cares for 140 children, ages birth to six, providing food, education, clothing, and a lot of love. My choir was so moved by the experience that it has since raised close to $50,000 for the crèche.
Imagine my great excitement when my other choir, Philadelphia’s Singing City, toured South Africa in July, 2016. We celebrated the Fourth of July at Pam’s Crèche, singing for and being sung to by the children. Words cannot convey my thrill at seeing how the contributions given by the Bryn Mawr choir had come to bear fruit: modern restrooms (Kliptown has only 80 outhouses for its residents) and a real kitchen. I am so grateful to ACFEA for organizing our first visit to Pam’s Crèche in 2007 and for this profoundly moving second visit. Thanks to Pieter Myburgh, ACFEA’s man on the ground, meaningful life-changing connections are being made.