Performances raise funds for higher education in a war-torn land
The University of Liberia Alumni Chorus (ULAC) was formed in 2009 by a group of Liberians who had decided to leave the country because of civil unrest, turmoil and war. They will end their sixth year of performing when they perform in Minnesota September 26 at the Discovery Church in Brooklyn Park.
They perform at different locations around the nation annually to raise funds for their scholarship program, which supports college students at the University of Liberia. They also raise funds to support the Annual Teaching Excellence Award presented annually to encourage and recognize Liberia University faculty to strive for sustainable teaching excellence.
“I do not sing with the choir,” stated ULAC sponsor Sawie Nebo, “but I have supported the rebuilding of Liberia’s positive rebuilding efforts. I have lived here in Minnesota for 30 years, and my brother and I have established two beauty and cosmetics businesses here. At the upcoming Discovery Church performance there will be a wide assortment of good music, including gospel, opera, Negro spirituals and African music. If you love music, you will enjoy this show.”
Nebo continued, “There will be musicologists involved whose main function is translating the African music into written music. My aunt, Agnes Nebo von Ballmoos, was an ethnomusicologist at the University of Liberia. She was a founding member of the University of Liberia music program, and we have been raising money for a $10 million performing arts center at the University of Liberia in her name.”
At the start of this journey, their declared mission was to “dedicate our efforts to assisting in the restoration of the University of Liberia to an accredited institution of higher education. We will continue to raise our voices in song to achieve our goals. Light will again shine through the darkness. We are one in song.”
ULAC President Charles Russell said, “We were formed in 2009 after many of us had relocated to America. To help regrowth in Liberia, we decided to come together annually to perform in several different U.S. cities. We have performed in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Boston, to name just a few.
“We raise money to support our alumni,” Russell continued. “This is much needed after over two decades of civil war. There is a lot of yearning within the Liberian people. The war took a heavy toll on the infrastructure of the country, and we must be able to enjoy the opportunities we have struggled to obtain.
“We strongly urge to keep our people connected to our culture. It’s okay to look back; however, we must get back and give back, and not forget, and become even stronger and better.”
ULAC’s musical performance will take place Saturday, September 26, at the Discovery Church, located in Brooklyn Park. For more information, call 651-644-9504.
Raymond Jackson welcomes reader responses to email@example.com.