Sue Lord recalls hearing the African Children's Choir as an experience of pure joy.
"It's wonderful," the worship coordinator at St. Luke United Methodist Church says. "It's a very exciting experience, uplifting and tremendous."
That first listen was when she was choir director at St. Luke and the church presented the choir. So, when she got a call saying the group was coming back through Central Kentucky and asking if she would like to present them, she jumped at the chance.
Friday night, St. Luke will be the first of seven Central Kentucky churches to present the choir in eight performances in 10 days.
"It would be a great event if adults were doing it," Lord says. "That it's children just makes it amazing."
And the circumstances of the children make the African Children's Choir even more striking.
The choir began in 1984 in Uganda as part of an effort to help children who had been through the country's brutal civil war.
"The mission is helping Africa's most vulnerable children today so they can help Africa tomorrow," choir manager David Turner says.
That happens through schools and other programs across Africa that are supported through the choir tours in the United States and elsewhere.
"Our focus is on education," Turner says. "The choir gets an education just through the travel, and the money raised supports the children when they go back to Africa."
Turner says the programs vary depending on the country they are in because of the many governmental and societal differences in African nations. The organization operates programs in countries such as Rwanda, Sudan and Kenya, despite often less than ideal educational circumstances.
"We adapt to the needs of the area," Turner says. He points to Kenya as an example, saying, "Our headquarters there is just a few blocks from where the violence erupted after the election last year. But the good thing was that since we were already there, we were able to help."
Music often is the thing that helps, he says.
"You can watch the transformation through music and dance," Turner says. "Many of these children have been traumatized and haven't had a chance to develop a means of expression. It's like they are in a shell."
Because the choir has been around for 25 years, Turner says there are many chances to witness the results of a program that has turned out doctors, lawyers, pastors, engineers, journalists and many other professionals in Africa.
Turner's favorite results are former choir members who return to chaperone the tours.
"That just says so much, that the program had such an influence on them that they come back to help," Turner says.
People who come to the performances will see a mix of traditional African music and dance, gospel and some traditional music.
"The biggest thing is their energy," Turner says. "They just go and go and go."