Members of Port McNeill's Wild Heart Music choir gather for a photo before sharing performances via Skype with a children's choir in Bulembu

Members of Port McNeill's Wild Heart Music choir gather for a photo before sharing performances via Skype with a children's choir in Bulembu

Choirs a world apart share virtual stage

Port McNeill choir makes connection with Swaziland counterparts.

PORT McNEILL—When the Wild Heart Music choir wrapped up its performance Tuesday at St. John Gualbert Church, applause broke out in Africa.

Minutes later, it was the local youths’ turn to clap as the Bulembu Choir performed its own song in Swaziland.

The two children’s choirs were linked by an unsteady Skype connection over the internet, as well as the much stronger connection of siblings Clifton and Georgia Murray.

Clifton was in Swaziland with the Tenors, who were performing a benefit concert for Bulembu later that evening. The Tenors, formerly known as the Canadian Tenors, have been performing the benefits for the stricken region, which has one of the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the world, since 2010.

Younger sister Georgia is a Port McNeill-raised, Victoria-based artist who helped form the Wild Heart program last year through an online auction.

She flew to Port McNeill Monday evening to join the Wild Heart singers for their online meeting with their African counterparts, children orphaned by the devastating plague.

After some initial problems securing a connection, the local youths cheered as the image of the Bulembu children appeared on a large screen on the wall.

“My understanding is there was 20 of them there, who were selected to sing with The Tenors,” said Deborah Murray, a member of the Wild Heart board and mother of the singing Murray siblings.

The Wild Heart singers have been attending a vocal camp all week, in preparation for a performance during OrcaFest Saturday.