Andy Groveman, The Tower at Peabody Place

(901) 260-7278,


Donald O’Conner, Watoto De Afrika Executive Director

(901) 409-9892



Watoto De Afrika Blends Cultural Spice With Holiday Favorites

At Upcoming Peabody Place Mall Performances


            MEMPHIS (November 21, 2007) – Traditional holiday music is spiced up with Big Band, Latino, Afro-Cuban and Contemporary Jazz genres in the Watoto De Afrika’s (Watoto) upcoming performances of “Deck the Halls” at Peabody Place Mall free each weekend at the Mall’s central stage.

Beginning Friday, November 23 through December 23, holiday visitors to the Peabody Place can experience the group’s unique interpretations of many holiday favorites.   Friday and Saturday performances will take place from 7 – 9 p.m., while Sunday performances will run from 4 – 5:30 p.m.

“This is the third consecutive year we’ve had the opportunity to bring the Watoto’s inspirational performance to the Peabody Place,” Belz Enterprises Senior Vice President Andrew J. Groveman said.  “Their exceptional musical approach adds rhythmic twists to classics that leave you with your feet tapping and your spirits soaring.”

The Watoto De Afrika, which translates to “Children of Africa,” is a program in which underprivileged youth from poor communities in the Memphis area are being taught to sing and dance as well as offered the social and business skills necessary to succeed into today’s world.  Watoto is currently comprised of 105 performers ages 6-17.

“These kids have dedicated many hours to incorporate their signature performance style into some of our holiday favorites,” Donald O’Conner, Watoto founder and executive director said.  “Watoto gives these kids hope of a bright future by showing them that through teamwork, enthusiasm and commitment all things are possible.” 

            Arrangements featured in each performance are included on the Watoto’s holiday CD debut, “Deck the Halls,” which will be released December 1.

            This year marks the 20th Anniversary for Watoto. In that time, the group’s unique performance style has earned both national and international notoriety, including honorary performances for the King & Queen of Italy, the President of the Bahamas, former Vice President Al Gore,  Liberian President Ellen Johnson and National Basketball Association legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

The Peabody Place, located in the heart of downtown Memphis, is known as the cornerstone of renaissance for the downtown area. The project covers eight city blocks in total, with restored historic buildings, a 15-story modern office tower, top-notch apartments, prestigious offices, popular restaurants and gathering places.

            For more information on the Peabody Place and other Belz Enterprises services, visit For more information about Watoto De Afrika, contact Donald O’Conner at (901) 409-9892.