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A UNITED States college musical ensemble, Gonzaga University Chamber Chorus, wrapped up its local tour — which was part of a two-week excursion of Zimbabwe and Zambia — early this week.


Gonzaga University Chamber Chorus

Gonzaga University Chamber Chorus

The 28-member ensemble, comprising of students from various academic and professional fields, held seminars and workshops with high schools, colleges and prominent choral groups before holding a joint performance with the Chitungwiza Harmony Singers at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe.

United States ambassador to Zimbabwe, Harry Thomas Jnr, who attended the concert, described the group, as “true ambassadors of the United States”.

“It is always a delight to see young, talented people reach beyond their borders to share their gifts, to experience new places and cultures, to approach the world with an eagerness to learn and to grow from other like-minded people around the world. Nothing brings people together like music and the arts,” he said.

The diplomat’s attempt to sing Soul Jah Love’s latest hit song Pamamonya Ipapo, however, left the crowd in stitches.

The group also participated in local dance routines including Mhande and Jerusalem.

Tour co-ordinator, Joseph Kinsella, who is also assistant academic vice-president at the Centre for Global Engagement, said the tour had provided the group with an opportunity to share musical and cultural experiences.

“This is a story not so much about recruitment (of students), as it is about sharing, who we are with each other, and as an institution that wants to welcome people to the United States and welcomes students from Zimbabwe and Zambia especially, to encourage you to come to the United States, and learn with us,” Kinsella said.

“We wanted to reach out to Zimbabweans everywhere and from different economic backgrounds and assure them that they are welcome in Washington, they are welcome to the United States and they welcome in our hearts and in our classrooms at Gonzaga.”

He said his institution’s emphasis was to tell prospective international students to think beyond being recipients of education, but as active participants in the learning process.

“It is not about coming and learning from us, but we invite international students to learn with us. Gonzaga’s tradition is one that emphasises learning of the mind, learning of the heart and learning of the soul,” Kinsella said.