Eight Vermont School Choirs Participate in Choral Concert and Town Meeting on Arts Education

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt., April 7 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) office held its  fifth annual student choral concert on Saturday evening at South Burlington High School. The concert, featuring 225 Vermont students from eight school choruses, was part of a day-long event focusing on art and music education.

“Each year, this wonderful event serves as a reminder of the invaluable importance of art and music education in our schools,” said Sanders, who serves on the Senate education committee. 

“These young Vermonters have put in a tremendous amount of hard work, learning not just how to sing as individuals, but also, how to come together and work as a team,” Sanders said. “Yet, music students often do not get the recognition they deserve, which is precisely why I started these concerts. Working with music educators from around the state, I wanted to showcase some of Vermont’s wonderful young singers.”

Sanders participated by telephone in a town meeting with the students prior to the concert. After making brief remarks, Sanders answered questions from the students on a range of issues. He also emphasized the importance of being an engaged citizen and explained what inspired him to become a U.S. Senator.

The eight student choruses, ranging from elementary school to college groups, then performed in front of a packed audience. At the conclusion of the concert, all of the students assembled on stage and sang a stirring rendition of Vermont’s state anthem, “These Green Mountains.”

Susanne Norwood, the choir director for Lyndon Institute, served as the guest conductor for Saturday’s choral concert. “One of the foundations of educational philosophy in the United States is that we offer a wide variety of opportunities to our students,” Norwood said. “Arts education is a cornerstone of this philosophy and provides students outlets for creativity, critical thinking, cognitive development and positive social interactions.”

In addition to the town meeting and choral concert, students attended music education sessions throughout the day taught by “Dwight & Nicole,” an American indie-soul band led by Dwight Ritcher and Nicole Nelson, and the “Sleepless Knights,” an acapella group at St. Michael’s College.

“It is such a privilege to get to speak with the younger generation about what we do, and more importantly, why we do it. Music is a powerfully healing, unifying force. It provides a language that can not only unlock our emotions, but that can act as a bridge between people, and places. Playing music is a powerful reminder that we are all so deeply interwoven,” Nelson said.

The Vermont schools that participated in Saturday evening’s concert were: Barre City Middle School, Bellows Free Academy Fairfax, Lyndon Institute, North Country Union High School, Peoples Academy Middle Level, South Burlington High School, Stowe Elementary School and St. Michael’s College.

To see pictures from Saturday, click here