The Kenyan Boys Choir also Known as Boys Choir of Kenya is a choral ensemble of talented boys drawn from high schools and Colleges around Kenya. The choir is dedicated to moulding a world-class choral outfit that offers a platform for Kenyan Boys to nurture their natural talents in Music, dance, and drama while imparting life principles of discipline, hard work perseverance, persistence and determination. In order to shape a youth citizenry that is responsible and of impeccable integrity for effective leadership in the society, the choir advocates for the attainment of quality education for its members. Education is elementary in the augmentation of any individual towards being a responsible and an empowered member of the society; a fact that the Kenyan Boys Choir believes in and strives to inculcate.
The choir has its roots in Aquinas High School Nairobi where it was the school’s main choir. In 2004, The Boys Choir of Kenya was choir founded under the auspices of the then St. Louis African Chorus (currently African Music Arts) under the mentorship of Dr. Fred Onovwerosuoke, a renowned Musicologist, and Cross-Cultural educator. It was during the same year that the choir made their maiden tour out of their home country Kenya to the United States of America. Audiences and press alike followed the boys through the Northeast, up to Quebec, down to Atlanta, through major cities in the Midwest. The St. Louis African Chorus, managed to tour the choir in more than 12 different states conducting workshops and concerts with their U.S. counterparts. It was also during their performance in St. Louis that they had a week dedicated in their honor as ‘‘the Boys Choir of Kenya week’’ by the Mayor of the city of St. Louis due to their magnificent performance.
Upon their return to Nairobi after a successful tour in 2005, The Boys Choir of Kenya expanded its membership to include students from other High Schools and colleges from within Nairobi and its environs. Students from other schools who were eagerly interested in joining the choir but were locked out due to its exclusivity to the Aquinas high School fraternity got a chance of being part of one of Kenya’s most celebrated youth group. The choir hence had a national outlook due to its representation by students from all over the country.
Now with a national outlook, The Choir was becoming everybody’s favorite, with corporate firms and individuals inviting them to perform during various occasions. During the 2006 4th of July celebrations at the U.S Embassy Nairobi, the choir delighted their host, His Excellency Ambassador Michael Ranneberger who couldn’t stop looking at his guests with a smile on his face as they enjoyed the performance by the Choir. Ever since this day the Choir has been the main entertainment group during these celebrations. It was also during the same year that the choir charmed sports lovers from all over East Africa during the auspicious Sportsman of the Year Awards (SOYA Awards), an annual award ceremony in celebration of the best athletes from within Kenya and the larger East Africa.
In 2007 the Choir was back in the U.S. courtesy of The Micato Tours and Safaris Company which was hosting more than 3000 tours and travel agents from all over the world during the month of August in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Early 2008, in the month of February the Choir toured three different states in the U.S. again which was now becoming their home away from home with a huge fan base across the entire country. This time around the Choir flew for 12 straight hours to Los Angeles California where they entertained clients and friends of the Micato Safari Family. From Los Angeles, the Choir went to Las Vegas again for a bigger audience of more than 7000 who were attending the 70th Anniversary ceremony of The Carlson’s sharing the platform with renowned artists like Tony Benet and Paul Potts amongst others. Regis Philbin, who was the master of ceremony, couldn’t stop praising the boys’ performance which had impressed all who had attended including the Swedish Queen. Before heading back home, the Choir held a couple of workshops in St. Louis with their counterparts The St. Louis Children’s Choir. It was also during their stay in St. Louis that they managed to record their second Album Dubbed ‘’Amerika Jambo’’ which was released in the month of January 2009.
2008 was a very busy year for the Choir who had to go back to the U.S. on the month of July after being invited by The Okobos shoe Company in Las Vegas. The Choir caught the attention of all who attended the World Shoe Association forum at the Las Vegas convention center. The company which was only 5 hours old had already made it into the headlines on some of the magazines at the convention, after the sterling performance by the Choir. The Choir also recorded a jingle for the Okobos Company within the same period of time.
Three months later the Choir was again back in the U.S. to perform at a Rock Concert as the Curtain raisers with Artistes; Death Cab for Cutie, Jewel among others, giving impressive performances.
2010 saw the choir tour the greater U.K. on a series of performances from Britain, Wales, Ireland to Scotland with massive audiences enthralled by the cultural display staged by the choir.
In January 2011, the choir was invited by WE Charity Organisation to perform for Grammy award winner Nelly Furtado who was in Kenya on a charity mission. She was thrilled by their performance of an articulate Africanized rendition of her hit song “Powerless” and was left in awe.
In June 2011 the choir performed with sensational UK Artist Ely Goulding at a performance organized by Free the Children In Maasai Mara and the audience were mesmerized by the choir’s performance of her hit song “Lights”.
In September 2011, WE Charity Organisation invited the choir to participate in WE DAY celebrations in Toronto, Canada where the choir performed before thousands of enthusiasts in Air Canada Centre Arena. The choir also got an opportunity to share the stage with
- Grammy Award winner, Nelly Furtado
- Popular Canadian rapper and producer Kardinal Offishall
- Renowned Canadian artists and performers: City and Colour, Nikki Yanofsky and Neverest Band
- Platinum-selling, JUNO Award-winning Canadian pop icon, and producer, Shawn Desman
Dignitaries that the choir interacted with during the tour include
- Mary Robinson; first female President of Ireland and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
- Patch Adams; social activist, citizen diplomat, and author
- Rick Hansen, Canadian Paralympian
- DEGRASSI actors Munro Chambers and Aislinn Paul
- Award-winning actor, film director and political activist, Danny Glover
It was also during this performance that they collaborated with Nelly Furtado in singing her hit song ‘Powerless’. The choir also got the exceptional opportunity to feature on Nelly Furtado’s album ‘The Spirit Indestructible’ and recorded with her a track entitled ‘Thoughts’.
In June 2012, their Fourth album Liberty was recorded in Nanyuki Kenya and it featured compositions, folk tunes, and arrangements of applauded pop tunes. The album was launched in Canada in 2013.
In June 2012, through the invitation of WE Charity Organisation, the choir serenaded assorted personalities, artists and audiences from all over the world at Maasai Mara including
- Donisha Prendergast – Filmmaker, actress, dancer, poet and Bob and Rita Marley’s granddaughter
- Spencer West
- Nelly Furtado– Grammy and Juno award-winner and Free The Children ambassador
In April 2013, the choir went down in the books of history by being among the cream of Kenyan artists that performed during the inauguration of the fourth president of Kenya, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta.
Many international artists visited the country in 2013 courtesy of WE Charity Organisation and the choir continued with their unmatched reputation of adding value and staging unforgettable presentations of their hit songs. The artists comprised
- Jonas Jonas–Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum artists
- Demi Lovato– Award-winning singer-songwriter and Free The Children ambassador
- Victoria Duffield – Canadian singer, actor, and dancer
- Tyler Shaw – Certified gold selling artist and Free The Children Ambassador
- Kay – Canadian singer-songwriter
- Kardinal Offishall– Award-winning Canadian rapper and record producer.
- Nelly Furtado– Grammy and Juno award-winner and WE ambassador
- The Tenors– Juno Award-winning Multi-platinum singers
These artists could not resist but get on stage to perform with the choir. It was also during this year that the choir was highly commended by luminaries from various walks of life who were in the country in support of Free the Children. They held that not only was the choir’s performance breathtaking, but it made them long for their next visit to the country.
In September 2013, the choir embarked on its first ever three-month tour to North America courtesy of Free the Children where they performed more than 300 shows spreading love and joy to hundreds of thousands in Canada and the United States while championing for WE’s Campaign; Be the Change. The choir shared the stage with world-renowned artists including
- Imagine Dragons – Award-winning, multi-platinum rock band
- Jonas Brothers – GRAMMY®-nominated, multi-platinum artists
- Hedley – Multi-platinum, JUNO, and MMVA Award-winning recording artists
- Down With Webster – Five-time JUNO Award nominated, platinum-selling genre-defying band
- Carly Rae Jepsen – Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum singer-songwriter
- Fifth Harmony – America’s first teen girl group
- Bridgit Mendler– Platinum selling artist and star of Disney’s Good Luck Charlie
- Jesse Giddings– E! News correspondent and Free The Children ambassador
- Bare-naked Ladies – JUNO Award-winning rock band
- Cast members from the Emmy-nominated TV series DEGRASSI
- Donisha Prendergast – Filmmaker, actress, dancer, poet and Bob and Rita Marley’s granddaughter
Memories of the spectacular collaboration of the choir with Chris Tse – ( former Me to We inspirational speaker, national spoken-word champion and humanitarian) remain edged in minds of the young fans who were part of WE Day in 2013. Check out there performance > Kenyan Boys Choir and Chris Tse
The Choir also got to interact with luminaries who were motivational speakers such as
- Kofi Annan – Former Secretary-General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Laureate, who has recently launched the ‘Kofi Annan Dialogues’, a series of online conversations inspiring young people to lead
- Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – The first elected female Head of State in Africa
- Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan
- Martin Luther King III – Human Rights advocate and eldest son of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons – CFL Hall of Famer, Vice Chair of the Toronto Argonauts
- Spencer West – Me to We inspirational speaker, Free The Children ambassador, author and double amputee who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro on his hands and in his wheelchair in June 2012
- Molly Burke – Visually impaired Me to We motivational speaker who speaks out against bullying and the power of hope
- Robin Wiszowaty – Me to We motivational speaker, author and WE Program Director in Ghana and Kenya
- The Honourable Roméo A. Dallaire – Lieutenant-General and author
- Debby Ryan– Disney Channel actress and musician
- Mia Farrow– Award-winning actress, activist and United Nations ambassador
- Magic Johnson– NBA legend, two-time hall of famer and philanthropist
- Mikhail Gorbachev – Former President of the Soviet Union and Nobel Peace Laureate
- Jillian Martin – Miss Teen Canada-World 2013
- Martin Sheen – Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actor and activist