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Singing their hearts out

The loudest cheer from Sunday night’s 5-4 win over the Phoenix Coyotes didn’t come in overtime when Kevin Bieksa scored the game-winner for the Vancouver Canucks.

It came pre-game, after the anthems.

If you were at Rogers Arena, you know exactly why.

The Canadian and American national anthems were performed by the Watoto Children’s Choir, a group of young boys and girls orphaned from HIV/AIDS, war, poverty and disease.

Since 1994 the Watoto Children’s Choir has traveled internationally, accompanied by a team of adults, presenting Watoto’s vision and mission through their stories, music and dance.

Watoto choirs act as ambassadors to raise awareness about the plight of the orphaned and vulnerable children of Africa.

The choirs have literally seen and done it all, from playing at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant in 2012 and performing at the White House in 2003, to singing in Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Australasia, UK, Germany, France, USA, South America, Hong Kong, China and Japan.

This wasn’t their first time to Canada, but it was their first time watching a hockey game, let alone bringing down the house before the puck was even dropped.

According to the Watoto website, each of the children in the choir has suffered the loss of their parents either through war or disease and live in Watoto children’s villages. The experience gives the children exposure to other cultures broadening their worldview. It also gives them confidence and boldness and helps them rise up out of their own situations of sadness and despair.

Based on the ear-to-ear smiles of the children, the choir is helping them not only cope with loss, but enjoy life to the fullest.

Thank you not only for the rousing anthems, but for helping bring awareness to your amazing choir. We look forward to more anthems in the future!