Kids, folk artist team up to record Vermont song

Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 3:32 PM EST
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RANDOLPH, Vt. (WCAX) - Christmas songs may have taken over the radio but a new song about The Green Mountain State has been released this holiday season, and it was put together by about 70 Vermont kids.

This past summer, children from across the state climbed aboard The Arts Bus to record a song about what it’s like to grow up in Vermont.

If you couldn’t tell by the unusual paint job, it’s not your typical school bus -- and that’s the point. Founded in 2010, The Arts Bus seeks to connect kids in rural areas to the arts.

“So, literally it goes to the children in a classroom format with art educators and supplies and tools of quality art enrichment,” said Genny Albert, or “Ms. Genny,” the organization’s executive director. She says art on the bus takes many forms. “Clay play and ice sculpture, sock puppet, alien Muppets.”

And this summer it took the form of music thanks to a little bit of teamwork. “My desire a couple years ago was to find a folk music artist that would write a song for kids in Vermont and then travel with me to summer camps to teach it and record it in a sound booth, in the heat of summer, and then put it together and release it,” Albert said.

That folk artist is Ida Mae Specker. She wasn’t available to chat with us but Albert says she created the song, “Vermont, Our Home” along with her sister Lila. Specker tagged along for all three stops at summer camps in Rutland, Bethel, and Stockbridge, teaching kids the song, before it was recorded on the bus.

It was released as a music video just a few weeks back. Nearly 70 kids from over a dozen towns are featured on the track, an experience Albert says they may not otherwise have had. “And when the kids could listen to their voices, some of them easily for the first time not through their own ear, they were overjoyed and their eyes light up. In fact, one kid who is very loud, said, ‘I’m really loud!’” she said.

The project took about six months. The children’s song is interactive, with a message about all of the neat and incredible things that make Vermont, Vermont. And eight school districts have received the music to incorporate it into the curriculum. But Albert is hopeful that the song will have an even broader reach moving forward. “With the vision that someday we sing it on the Capitol floor, that we perform it, that it’s Vermont, Our Home. That it’s a song that has a legacy, and it has a folk legacy appropriate to Vermont,” she said.

Sheet music for “Vermont, Our Home” is available for free for schools to use.