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The idea of the India Children’s Choir came to Ronald Wells, a minister of music at the First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina, in 1979. Both he and his wife Mary Jane had travelled to India to participate with Bibles for the World president Pu Rochunga Pudaite. He felt the story of how the Hmar tribe discovered Christianity should be told through their children’s voices and with music.

Eleven years later, in 1990, Ronald’s dream became a reality and he resigned his position at the church to work full-time on the India project. The musical, he created, shows the birth of Christianity to the Hmar tribe. It is a journey of both courage and compassion, and it engaged audiences throughout the US.

A year earlier, Rochunga and Mawii’s daughter Mary quit her travel consultant business and headed to India to audition children for the choir. Finally, the hundreds of children who responded were narrowed down to the chosen 31 choir members from the ages of eight to twelve. The children were not only from the Hmar tribe, but from the Haokip, Paite and Lusei tribes, as well.

The planning was then underway for bringing the newly established choir to America. There were fundraising, scheduling, meetings and prayer sessions for the group. The children spent countless hours together as they were under the guidance of James Songrolal Songate, the musical director of the Manipur mission schools. They studied and sang together, waiting to be told it was time for their journey to begin.

The children finally arrived in Chicago, where they were guests of the Consul General of India. After meeting him for dinner, they headed out in a 1972 MCI bus and along with Ronald they headed to Spartanburg, South Carolina. When they arrived, they were introduced to their local host families who introduced them to American culture. Once becoming comfortable in their new surroundings, they began learning the new musical, Headhunters to Hearthunters, with Ronald as their director.

April 19, 1990, was the first performance for the India Children’s Choir at the First Baptist Church in Spartanburg. They were attired in native dress and performed as if they had been doing this for years. All 400 performances that year were performed in the same manner.

The professionalism of the India Children’s Choir continues today, as they make stops throughout the United States. They perform in different cities, states and church denominations. The children make a lasting impact on audiences with the spreading of Christ’s love.
Picture&Story courtesy: Bibles for the World

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  1. What is the latest news on India's Children Choir? Are there still taking new recruits ?


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