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Drake hosts refugee student choir concert

September 12, 2011
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The Striving for Eternal Life (SFEL) Choir

The Striving for Eternal Life (SFEL) Choir will visit Drake University on September 12 to share their uplifting reggae gospel sound along with their stories of hardship as refugee students from Burundi.

The free, public concert starts at 7 p.m. in Bulldog Theater, Olmsted Center, 2875 University Ave. The event is presented by the Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship and Drake University School of Education.

The 20-member SFEL Choir, which sings in Swahili, is led by Drake actuarial science student Vincent Niyokwizera. Rooted in a strong devotion to faith, Niyokwizera sought out family members and other African refugees to create the SFEL Choir in 2009. Many of the Choir's members spoke no English when they started attending Iowa schools in 2007 and 2008. Niyokwizera writes most of the songs for the SFEL Choir, and also
produces the group's music videos, several of which can be found on the
group's website

The SFEL Choir's music is available on iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby. Their
first album, "Umusi! Umwe!" is also available as a DVD featuring music
videos. The group's second album will be released Sunday, Sept. 11.

The group has become popular locally for their musical talent, upbeat attitude and inspirational story. Members of the SFEL Choir speak candidly about their experiences fleeing the country amidst civil war, disease and chaos.

For more information about Monday's concert, contact David Skidmore in the Center for Global Citizenship: 515-271-3843 or

Striving for Eternal Life Choir

Enjoy songs in Swahili and learn about the lives of choir members, who came to Iowa as refugees from Burundi.

When: Monday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m.

Where: Bulldog Theater, Olmsted Center, 2875 University Ave.

Info: David Skidmore in the
Center for Global Citizenship at 515-271-3843 or