Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Singing and Dancing with Joy

by Anita Mae Draper

Do you sing and dance when you feel joy?

As web mistress for our church, I update the website and social media pages, and place Facebook ads when necessary. That means researching images and videos when we're hosting special guests. Last week, I was previewing videos for the Watoto Children's Choir out of Uganda, East Africa, and I was struck by the sheer joy they show when they're singing and dancing.  

This is not your normal children's choir... 

Oh What Love - Be Exalted The Music Video from Watoto on Vimeo

As I watched their video I was drawn to the abandonment with which they sing and dance.

They reminded me of King David in 2 Samuel 6 when he is bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jersulam and we read in verses 14 & 15: "Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets."

Did you see that...dancing with all his might. With his arms waving and knees raised high like the Watoto kids in the video? Yes, I can picture it. 

Another example using joy in singing came to light this week as I watched a video of Revv52, a Calgary-based performance group. Our daughter Jessica had to go through 2 auditions before being accepted as a soprano in this unique group. Sometimes they are accompanied by a band, and at other times they sing a cappella.

In the following video, you can see Jessica at the 13-15 second mark as she appears on the right side. She's the brunette in the lacy top with her hair partially pulled back, exactly as you see her in the cropped photo above. 

And although this next video of Revv52 was taped prior to Jessica's joining last fall, I felt their joy as they sang and danced to Pharrell Williams' tune, Happy... 

Jessica has been on my mind this week because on March 20th she'll appear with Revv52 at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

That's quite an adventure for a small town prairie girl, yet it shows what can be done when you accept and use God's gifts. The joy of singing has always been in Jessica's blood and it shows on her face when she lifts her voice. 

Just like it shows on the faces and movements of the Watoto kids...Spirit-filled and dancing with joy. 

The Watoto kids sing and dance with joy now, but it wasn't always so. The fact that they are part of the Watoto holistic organization means that before they were rescued, they were one of 4,000 children who were orphans, former child soldiers, or born to rebel leaders during the civil war. Today, Watoto has over 3000 of these children in their care. But Watoto isn't just the children. It restores dignity to women in "vulnerable" situations, empowering them with literacy, business and practical skills which ensure their own children have a better future. 

When was the last time you sang or danced with joy?


Anita Mae Draper's stories are written under the western skies where she lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan with her hubby of 30 plus years and the youngest of their four kids. When she's not writing, Anita enjoys photography, research, and travel, and is especially happy when she can combine the three in one trip. Anita's current release is Romantic Refinements, a novella in Austen in Austin Volume 1, WhiteFire Publishing, January 2016.  Anita is represented by Mary Keeley of Books & Such Literary Management. You can find Anita Mae at


  1. CAn't wait to get home and play all of these at an appropriate volume!
    Congratulations on your very special daughter's very special accomplishment. It's been too long since I've been 'like a child' this way.

    1. Deb, I was thinking the same thing as I asked the question. I worship while I'm singing in church, but it's been a very long time since I belted out a song and dance with joy - in and out of church.

      Yes, please watch the videos at home. An excellent stress buster after a work day. :)

  2. What a wonderful experience for your daughter. :D

    Lovely post.

    1. Thank you, DeAnna. Yes, a great experience and something that's really hard to believe. And that's another reason why I like her Revv52 video - to confirm that it's true. :)

  3. You should be so proud of her! What an amazing accomplishment.

    I have heard from friends who've gone on missions to Africa, Brazil, India, and other places where there is extreme poverty and hardship that the thing that always strikes them is the JOY the people have. Makes me wonder what all of us who have "everything" are missing!

    1. Niki, our former pastor and family were from Zambia and said pretty much the same thing. The joy their countrymen feel after accepting Christ is because although they still may not have worldly possessions, knowing they have been redeemed has given them hope in a better world to come.

      When you equate that to us, we also have hope for a better life, and yet how many of us are truly looking forward to leaving our earthly goods behind?

      And yes, when I texted Jessica this morning just prior to her boarding her flight to NYC I said how very proud we are of her.
      I sure hope someone is recording the event.


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