Bernie Sanders holds youth choral concert in Johnson

JOHNSON — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Saturday evening held a youth choral concert and town meeting on the importance of arts education.

Held at the Dibden Center for the Arts on Vermont State University’s campus in Johnson, the concert featured nine Vermont elementary, middle, high school and college choirs singing songs that ranged from traditional to spiritual to pop. The evening concluded with all 184 student performers coming together on stage to perform the Vermont state song, “These Green Mountains.”

Sanders opened the concert by thanking all of those who made the day possible and saying, “Tonight is a chance for us to come together and celebrate the arts, which are so important in our lives. Your students have worked very hard and I think we’re all in for a great performance this evening. I look forward to a day when we no longer spend $900 billion on the military and just $200 million on the arts.”

This is the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that Vermont students gathered to participate in this once-annual event. The following Vermont schools performed: Bellows Free Academy Fairfax High School, Lamoille Union Middle/High School, Lyndon Institute, Main Street Middle School in Montpelier, Montpelier High School, Shelburne Community School, Vermont State University Castleton, Spaulding High School and Winooski Middle High School.

During the day ahead of the concert, the students rehearsed their songs in a workshop with guest conductor Stefanie Weigand, the executive director of Music-COMP and director of the University of Vermont’s Catamount Singers. They also attended a music education workshop led by Vermont State University-Johnson professor, Isaac Eddy, where the student performers from across Vermont had the opportunity to learn from one another and sing together.