Kenyan Boys Choir performs, shares passion for global change


Photo credit: Allie Worchell

The Kenyan Boys Choir performs a traditional song. The group performed at Barack Obama’s inauguration.

Jambo, Jambo, Jambo!

The booming voices of the Kenyan Boys Choir filled the Rose Room. Mesmerized, students looked up, excitement and warmth taking over their faces. In Swahili, Jambo means “Welcome.”

The Kenyan Boys Choir performed on Nov. 30 during lunch. The choir from Nairobi, Kenya, travels around the world performing for people from all walks of life. Their purpose: share joy and their Kenyan culture with the world, one of the performers said.

The choir, which began in 2004, serves as platform for college and high school students from Kenya to nurture talents in music, dance and drama, while implanting life principles of discipline, hard work, perseverance, persistence and determination. 

In 2009, the Kenyan Boys Choir performed at Barack Obama’s inauguration. In the fall of 2017, they signed a contract with WE to perform at schools around the world in order to bring joy and passion for community service.

WE was started by Craig and Mark Kielburger.  According to WE, they are two brothers passionate about making a difference in the world. The organization strives to help youth impact their local and global communities by empowering movements, speakers and ambassadors who come to schools to get people excited about service. Their motto is “making giving back doable.”

According to Ella Tollman ‘19, a WE student ambassador at Archer, because the choir members are WE ambassadors they travel throughout the year and perform at multiple fundraisers — including WE Day, a huge event for the organization. The choir visited Archer because Archer works with WE, and the choir is doing a California pre-WE Day tour.

During the performance the Kenyan Boys Choir sang many songs in both English and Swahili. All discussed unity, community and harmony. 

Tollman was excited that the performers came to share their culture and message of service with the community.

It’s cool because they are such a culturally rich group. They carry so much pride from where they are from. Kenya specifically is a huge branch for the WE Organization,” Tollman said. “Having them come is a [platform for students to get excited about making change].” 

The Kenyan Boys Choir is not the first WE ambassadors to come visit Archer. 

“Last year we had Spencer West come to speak. [He] is a super inspiring man who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with no legs, and he had an amazing story of perseverance. He also taught [me the importance of] stand[ing] up for [oneself] and [knowing] what [one] is capable of,” Livia Blum ’19, one of the Archer WE student ambassadors and co-president of the I Am Club, said.

The I Am Club, founded by Blum and Sammy Raucher ’19, hopes to host more events like the Kenyan Boys Choir in the future. 

“[Archer] is a WE school, and this is our third year,” Raucher said. “Our goal is just to have a lot of different activities, events and speakers, [so the] Archer community gets excited about service and also uses their passion to help them change the world.”

Correction (Dec. 6, 3:05): The original version of this article misspelled the word “jambo” as “jamba.”  This has been corrected.