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(COURTESY PHOTO) The Watoto Children’s Choir from Africa will perform twice on Sunday at Ray of Hope Church north of Comanche.

Choir of orphans will share at Ray of Hope Church

A choir of orphans, the Watoto Children's Choir from Africa, will share stories of triumph over tragedy in two performances planned Sunday at Ray of Hope Church north of Comanche.

The children, ranging in age from 6 to13, have dealt with hardships that most Oklahomans would have trouble even imagining, like the loss of entire families wiped out by AIDS or children being forced to take up arms in brutal conflicts in places like northern Uganda. While their stories' beginnings are gut wrenching, Ray of Hope Youth Pastor Kraig Ramsey said the lives they've created for themselves and the unity of purpose they've found in spreading God's message of rescue and love are incredibly uplifting and inspiring.

Ramsey said it took fully three years of planning ahead to bring the Watoto Children's Choir to Stephens County. On the eve of their two free performances  scheduled for 10:45 a.m. and again at 6 p.m. at the church between Duncan and Comanche at the intersection of U.S. 81 and Refinery Road  he said hopes are high that Ray of Hope, which has seating for more than 800, will be filled. The morning performance may last a little longer, while the evening performance should last about an hour, he said.

Ramsey, who first saw the choir perform a few years ago, said there are 20 children joined by nine adults. He described their performances as vibrant and colorful mixes of traditional African and urban sound and dance. They've entertained, while at the same time raising awareness of the plight of orphaned and vulnerable children, in tours that have taken them all over Africa, Asia, Europe and South and North America.

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