Two hundred and twenty-five Vermont students from eight choruses, including Barre City Middle School and Stowe Elementary sang in the fifth annual student choral concert last week at South Burlington High School with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ Senate office. The concert was part of a day-long event focusing on art and music education.
The eight student choruses, ranging from elementary school to college groups, performed in front of a sprawling 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 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.
“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.”
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.