Friends of MSF Christmas Dinner 2011
Friends of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) is a university based society, stemming out the Medical Schools, which helps to raise awareness and money for the Médecins Sans Frontières organization. Every year at the University of Leicester, an International Christmas Dinner is put on as a fundraiser for the Médecins Sans Frontières to use in their various projects in the world. For the third year in a row the Emmanu'-EL Apostolic Gospel Academy (EAGA) Choir were invited to minister at this worthwhile event.

The evening began with an introduction from the new President of Friends of Médecins Sans Frontières in the University of Leicester, Karthickkumar Selvakumar, who enlightened all in attendance of the reason for the evening’s fundraiser event. There were approximately 100 in attendance this night, a mixture of both students and lecturers from the medical school at the university.

Next, the first half of performances began, including a flute quartet, a chamber orchestra, a harpist and a solo by one of the medical students. All these acts were occurring alongside the food being served buffet style.

The entertainment break came and an insightful video was played of the frontline impact that Médecins Sans Frontières is having in countries across the world. It showed the malnutrition children in India are suffering from and the work of Médecins Sans Frontières doctors who have provided care in mobile clinics across the country.

The second half of performances then begun while desert was served. This half included the Friends of Médecins Sans Frontières infamous drama, which always is sure to parody the recent death of a celebrity. Christmas carols by the University of Leicester’s chamber choir started to stir the night in the Christmas atmosphere. Next, a well executed modern dance routine by a male and female duo livened up the place while the street dancers which followed really got the audience on their feet, including the EAGA choir.

It was time for the evening to come to a close, and the EAGA choir was asked to finish the night with a BANG, and a BANG is what the audience received. The choir, seated in the middle of all the tables, walked to the stage in rhythm, clapping different beats that complimented one another, to give a vibrant entrance to their performance.

Under the direction of Brother Jordan Anderson, the youngest member of the EAGA Adult’s choir, the 7 member choir ministered four songs, giving a variety of Christmas, African and inspirational songs. Starting with ‘Joy to the World’ and ‘This Little Light of Mine’ the audience was clearly enjoying the a cappella harmonies of the soprano, alto and tenor parts.

The Zulu song ‘Masifika’ was then introduced to the audience as a song from Southern Africa meaning ‘When we get to the house of Jesus, we will sing unto the Lord’ before starting the upbeat song. Starting in their chairs, the song ended with everyone in the audience on their feet, some joining the choir at the front, some standing on the side, but all enjoying the song with the choir, clapping the

African beat together. Many attempted to sing along although they could not make out all the words that well. Some of the choir members tried teaching the students while singing the song. Without a doubt, Masifika most certainly livened up the event and set the scene for the grand finale, ‘O Happy Day’.

As everyone was already out of their seats, they joined the choir in singing ‘O Happy Day’, clapping along and dancing along to the song they all love to hear. Before ending the song, the choir walked back to their seats in rhythm, still singing and clapping along to the melody. Upon the direction of Brother Jordan, the choir ended the song, hitting the final note only after a wealth of applause from the audience.

When asked for his opinion of the EAGA choir’s performance, Karthickkumar Selvakumar, the current President of Friends of Médecins Sans Frontières, was enthused to say, “The gospel choir guys got us all [out] of our seats and really make the audience connect with the performers :) Simply amazing!”

The EAGA Gospel choir looks forward to returning to next year’s Friends of Médecins Sans Frontières International Christmas Dinner, to fellowship with the students in the Medical School at the University of Leicester.