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Choir of orphans to perform at AoA's Maguire Sunday

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Members of the Matskio Orphan Choir perform in this handout photo provided by the International Children's Network, which sponsors the choir's performances around the world. The choir will perform at Arts of the Albemarle's Maguire Theater Sunday at 2 p.m.

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A choir made up of orphaned children from several countries in Africa, Asia and South America will present a concert Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Maguire Theatre at Arts of the Albemarle.

There is no admission charge for the concert by the Matsiko Orphan Choir but a love offering will be taken in support of the children.

The Rev. Chip Broadfoot, rector of Christ Episcopal Church, is excited about the choir's visit to Elizabeth City.

"They bring such joy and promise and hope," Broadfoot said.

Christ Episcopal Church is paying for the use of the theater and members of the church are hosting choir members in their homes Saturday and Sunday nights.

Broadfoot explained that the choir is sponsored by an agency called the International Children's Network.

In addition to the Sunday afternoon concert, the choir will also sing at the 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. worship services Sunday at Christ Episcopal Church.

Broadfoot said the choir members are orphaned children from countries such as Liberia, Peru and India.

During a visit to Elizabeth City last year the choir sang at Sheep-Harney Elementary School.

Broadfoot said the choir was an inspiration to Sheep-Harney students.

"They could see children who are trying to beat the odds," he said.

The choir members give people hope for a better life because they have goals for their lives despite the very challenging background that they come from, Broadfoot said.

Broadfoot said the talented children travel all over the country, accompanied by chaperones from their home countries who home-school them while they are on tour.

The choir will also have CDs and other items for sale at the concert.

Don Windham, founder of the International Children's Network, said he and his wife started working with orphans and at-risk children around the world in the 1990s.

"We started finding sponsors for orphans and at-risk children," Windham said. "The sponsorships enable the children to go to a Christian School and also give them an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty."

Windham said it's a mission field of 600,000 children around the world. Many are orphans but others are at-risk, including being at risk to be trafficked.

A few of the children served through the network have actually been rescued from trafficking, Windham said.

Windham said the children have a "testimony of overcoming."

He said the choir was started to get the children into places where they could share that testimony.

"The children can tell the testimony much better than any adult could," Windham said.

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