Choirs combine for African-American series

Choirs from several different religious denominations are performing this month at the Los Angeles Temple Visitors Center in a special concert series.

The concerts are being held in conjunction with a monthlong African American exhibit at the center, according to Doris Russell, a Church member and associate director of public affairs for the African American community in the Los Angeles area."The exhibit includes displays about the Church in Africa as well as items reflecting the history of African American members in California," Sister Russell said.

The exhibit coincides with Black History Month, and features news articles, member profiles, photographs, wood carvings, batiks, antique books, family heirlooms, maps and sculptures.

Included in the exhibit are stories of Church members from Nambia, Zaire, Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Kenya, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Cameroon and Zimbabwe. In addition, the exhibit profiles African American Latter-day Saints from New Orleans, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City, among other U.S. locales.

Two combined choirs of 30 African American children, ages 3 to 13, have presented musical programs at the visitors center, and other programs during the month will include performances by the gospel choir of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church of central Los Angeles and performers from the Bahai' Youth Workshop.

During their programs, children's choirs from the People's United Community Church in Compton and the New Hope Baptist Church in Long Beach sang spirituals to audiences of Latter-day Saints and other guests. The children's program was a big hit, especially with Latter-day Saint children who attended.

"I liked it a lot," said Sarah Sheranian, 9, of the Westwood 1st Ward, Los Angeles California Stake. "All of the children had their parts memorized. You could tell they knew the meaning of the words."

Her 6-year-old sister, KaRynn, agreed. "They had a really good beat and sound," she said. "They were happy, and you could hear it in their singing. You could tell that they practiced a lot."

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