News Releases Sunday, July 6, 2003


Society for the Performing Art News Release
For Immediate Release
Contact: Tammy Lorkovic

Family Fun Series Friday, February 11, 2000 (7:00 P.M.)

Order online at ticketmaster.com

HOUSTON--(Jan. 11, 2000)-- Society for the Performing Arts, bringing the world’s best to Houston, presents the remarkable youth ensemble who have become advocates for HIV/AIDS prevention in Uganda...the Children of Uganda, February 11th at 7:00PM in Wortham Center’s Cullen Theater.

The Children of Uganda perform songs in Luganda, Swahili and English, as well as such tribal dances from throughout Uganda as the Bakisemba (a Buganda tribal dance celebrating the making of banana wine for the king), and the Ekizino (a Banyankole ritual tribal dance with prayers for a good agricultural season). The authentic instrumentation includes a full complement of four Engoma (drums), Andugu (African bow harp), Edingidi (tube fiddle), Endere (pan pipe), Akogo (thumb piano), Amadinda (African xylophone). The colorful array of authentic costumes include Ekikoyi (colorful long skirt or wrap for special occasions/celebrations), Kanzu (white long gown worn by the men of the Baganda tribe on special occasions) and Ebitambaala (African head pieces).

The 18-member Children of Uganda, ranging in age from 7 to 15, have become the goodwill ambassadors to the world for the 1.5 million orphans of their country. The Tour of Light 2000 marks only the fourth tour by this extraordinary group, winners of the "Best Performers" award at the acclaimed 1993 Children's Festival at Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

In 1972, Sister Rose Muyinza, a Catholic nun, founded the Daughters of Charity Orphanage in the capital city of Kampala, Uganda. This orphanage has become a wellspring of Ugandan culture; it is, in fact, the source of the Children of Uganda's Tour of Light 2000. The mission of the orphanage is to care for thousands of children who have lost parents to war, AIDS and other diseases.

"HIV is particularly devastating to women and children in Africa," said Dr. Mark Kline, director of the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. "More than half of all adults infected with the AIDS virus are women, and more than 1,000 infants are newly infected with HIV every day. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, nearly 10 million children have become HIV/AIDS orphans."

The Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative will provide an information table at the concert performance highlighting Baylor’s efforts to provide physicians and nurses in other countries the knowledge and skills to prevent and treat HIV infection.

Sister Rose Muyinza recognized a real and important opportunity for the children to become advocates for HIV/AIDS prevention. At first performing as part of local ceremonies - weddings, births, and other events - Children of Uganda, under the direction of Frank Katoola, now travel throughout Uganda, sharing their message of hope, instructing the public and celebrating the rich heritage and history of their parents, grandparents and great grand parents.

Uganda’s devastating crises during the latter part of the 20th century have seriously disrupted the complex fabric of family and village life that previously nurtured and depended on a rich and varied oral culture. Traditions of storytelling, teaching and performance that had been transferred from generation to generation over time have become seriously threatened. Children of Uganda began as an effort by the Daughters of Charity Orphanage to teach orphaned children the songs and dances - and the lessons and history they conveyed - to a generation for whom they would have otherwise be lost; to empower these children with the hope and joy that singing and dancing offer.

Uganda is a landlocked African plateau country straddling the equator and bordered by Sudan to the north, Congo the west, Rwanda and Tanzania to the south and Kenya to the east.

Tickets to the Children of Uganda’s February 11th, 7:00 PM performance in Wortham Center’s Cullen Theater are $32 - 22 -- children’s tickets are half-price. Tickets are available at the new SPA Ticket Services Office located at the Jones Hall street level box office as well as all Ticketmaster locations including Fiesta, Kroger and Foley’s. For information or to charge by phone please call the new SPA Box Office number: 713.227.4SPA (4772). Tickets may also be purchased on-line at www.ticketmaster.com.

Children of Uganda

Winners of the "best performers" category at the acclaimed 1993 Children's Festival at Wolf Trap in Washington, DC, Children of Uganda is composed of eighteen children ranging in age from six to sixteen years.

Children of Uganda’s Tour of Light has been produced in the USA on a grass roots level biennially since 1996. Through appearances at universities, community and civic theaters, schools and churches, the Tour of Light, a project of the Uganda Children's Charity Foundation (UCCF), is designed to promote global awareness of the AIDS related crisis in Uganda and to raise funds to provide basic necessities and education of Ugandan orphans.

The 2000 tour - from February 5 to April 28 - includes performances and educational activities in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin, Texas; in Scottsdale and Tucson, Arizona; in New York City and Washington DC; and in Davis, Palo Alto, Pasadena, and Santa Barbara, California.

The Uganda Children’s Charity Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Dallas. Because of the financial commitment of its donors, UCCF directly supports over 600 orphans - paying for their education, food, medicine and shelter. UCCF’s support also extends to three orphanages, two primary schools, a school for the disabled, and a special outreach program for children of HIV positive widows.


The nation of Uganda is the result of the unification of ancient kingdoms and many smaller independent chieftainances. In all, Uganda has 52 different ethnic groups, each with its own language. The largest cultural group (tribe) is the Buganda people, whose kingdom, located in central Uganda, has always been influential in Ugandan affairs. Their language is Luganda. Other major tribes include the Acholi, Batoro, Karamajong, Banyankole, Banyoro, Basoga, Basamia, Bagisu and the Lugbara. Music and dance are an integral part of all of these cultures as is a rich tradition of storytelling and folklore.


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Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative
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