South Burlington High School students at Senator Bernie Sander’s fourth annual student choral concert.

Voices Raised in Song: A Senator’s Annual Choral Concert

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Thursday April 05, 2018

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders hosted his fourth annual student choral concert March 24 at Champlain Valley Union High School. South Burlington High School (SBHS) was one of seven Vermont schools featured at the concert, which was part of Sanders’ town meeting on arts education. The student concert was conducted by SBHS performing arts teacher Aimee Bushey.

“The gift of music education in our public schools cannot be underestimated,” said Bushey. “We are giving generations of students the tools to be thoughtful, creative, compassionate, and able to engage with their ever-changing world in ways that elevate the human spirit.”

Each school choir performed two or three selections that showcased their unique style and ability. The South Burlington choral students sang two songs by composer Brian Tate, “Hold Me, Rock Me” and “Connected.” Bushey remarked, “I got to spend my day listening to choirs ranging from elementary school through college and each choir brought something exciting to the event!”

“In addition to hearing beautiful choral music from very talented students, this annual event serves as a reminder of the invaluable importance of art and music education,” said Sanders, who serves on the Senate education committee. Other schools participating included Bellows Free Academy Fairfax, Essex High School, Barre City Middle School, Spaulding High School, St. Michael’s College, and Stowe Elementary School.

The culminating performance of the concert was with all the participating students on stage at once, singing the Vermont State Song, “These Green Mountains.” With more than 200 voices raised, with lyrics like, “They say home is where the heart is, these green mountains are my home,” Bushey described the moment as “truly moving.”

Prior to the concert, Sanders spoke with students and teachers about the importance of arts education in our public schools. “Study after study has shown that access to quality arts and music education not only increases overall academic achievement, but it can also give students avenues to success that they might not otherwise have,” Sanders said. “Quite literally, art and music education can make a tremendous difference in a student’s life.”

“Choral singing is alive and well in Vermont,” says Bushey, adding, “I am deeply grateful to my colleagues all over the state for doing the important work of inspiring young artists. I am also grateful for this opportunity provided to our vocal musicians through the efforts of Senator Sanders and his staff. I hope that this event continues to thrive for many years to come!”