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KC Soundcheck: The Salvation Choir

The Salvation Choir smile at the camera with Kansas City musician Kevin Morby.
The Salvation Choir with Kansas City musician Kevin Morby. The choir covered his song, "This Is A Photograph" in 2023.

The Salvation Choir started as a church choir for Congolese and Tanzanian immigrants in Kansas City. Now, it's a band with over 40 members that brings its infectious Rumba sound to shows and festivals across the region.

KC Soundcheck is KCUR's spotlight for Kansas City musicians on the rise, as heard on Up To Date. Who should we interview next? Send us a text at 816-601-4777.

The Salvation Choir was formed in 2019 as part of the service at the Messiah Lutheran Church in Independence, Missouri, made of primarily Congolese refugees. They've since played their Rumba music at The Ship, Boulevardia and other festivals around the metro.

The band's volunteer manager Phil Dickey, a musician himself, says he met the choir in 2020 after inviting his neighbors, the Wilondja family, over for a bonfire-style jam in the early days of the pandemic.

"That was the moment I realized I live next door to my favorite band," Dickey said.

The Salvation Choir's leader, Eddie Wilondja, writes most of their music. He says the themes of his songs are based in love, faith and peace.

"I just write music that will make other people happy," Wilondja said.

The band's next performance is at the Celebrate AMERI'KANA music festival on July 27 at the Concourse Park.

  • Eddie Wilondja, Salvation Choir leader and songwriter
  • Pelo Wilondja, Salvation Choir drummer and singer
  • Phil Dickey, volunteer manager of the Salvation Choir
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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
Sireen Abayazid is the Up To Date intern. She is a native of Omaha and a recent graduate of Mizzou, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Email her at sabayazid@kcur.org.
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