U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ I-Vt. office held his fifth annual student choral concert April 6, 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.
Sanders participated by telephone in a town meeting with the students prior to the concert. After making brief remarks, he answered questions from the students on a range of issues.
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 Vermont’s state anthem, “These Green Mountains.”
Joining singers from South Burlington High School were students from Barre City Middle School, Bellows Free Academy Fairfax, Lyndon Institute, North Country Union High School, Peoples Academy Middle Level, Stowe Elementary School, and Saint Michael’s College. Susanne Norwood, the choir director for Lyndon Institute, served as the guest conductor.
In addition to the town meeting and choral concert, music education sessions were held throughout the day. The sessions were taught by Dwight Ritcher and Nicole Nelson of the American indie-soul band Dwight & Nicole and Saint Michael’s College acapella group, Sleepless Knights.
“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.