A message from the VT-ACDA President:

June 22nd, 2020

Dear Vermont ACDA Membership,

I have been so inspired by everyone’s incredible work this year as we negotiated these unprecedented times. The abundant creativity and connection you have with your students and singers is why choral music is alive and strong in the Green Mountains.

For our public school colleagues, the first day of summer break was met with real heartbreak in the Vermont’s Agency of Education’s Fall 2020 Recommendations. Instead of a summer of much needed rest, we need to try and imagine a new normal where group singing is “to be avoided” in our schools according to VT-AOE.

VT-ACDA and VMEA will be meeting this week to discuss our advocacy needs in addition to exploring scientific studies that examine best practice. We are aware that the arts were not adequately represented in the creation of the VT-AOE document and expect to work directly to support the important Social and Emotional Learning singing gives our students and school community. 

There have been many incredible responses by our colleagues from every corner of the state in the five days since the VT-AOE document was released. VT-ACDA recommends members maintain regular communication with school administration and communities making it clear that vocal music courses are not “cancelled.” This summer, as you are creating plans for outstanding vocal music learning and performance opportunities with safeguards based on scientific data to protect from Covid-19, it may be helpful and reassuring to your school communities to share the adaptations you plan to make.

VT-ACDA is committed to our advocacy role and working hard to support our members’ efforts. If you need support with a specific issue please contact our Advocacy Chair Andrea Nardone at nardonea@hartfordschools.net.

I have full confidence in everyone’s capacity to innovate and create incredible opportunities for our students and singers next year. As our work with VMEA comes together it is our goal that we make clear what safe vocal instruction will look like in our schools. 

Below are some useful links to begin your planning for all types of choirs:
ACDA Covid-19 Response Committee Report – Gives comprehensive guidelines for all choirs with in-person, hybrid, or online instruction.
ChorAmor – An incredible coalition of conductors, teachers, and singers who sing for love of choral music. Features innovations for rehearsing and singing together, training for choral directors, and advocacy during Covid-19.
National Association for Music Education Fall 2020 Guidance – A comprehensive outline for music learning in schools, with details on an ongoing aerosol study.
Social Emotional Learning – Created by the Social Emotional Learning Alliance of New Jersey and outlines directly how music study inherently develops SEL.

Please be in touch! As we begin our preparations for the fall it is vital that we come together to support each other and keep Vermont Singing Strong. 

Most Sincerely,

Caleb Pillsbury
Vermont ACDA President