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Young Tradition Vermont is partnering with the Vermont Folklife Center on a project that emphasizes bringing archival materials to the public through a series of Franco-American ‘singing schools’ that will start this coming Fall 2018.
With nearly a quarter of Vermonters (22.3%) of French-Canadian descent, the cultural heritage of Franco-Americans is undeniably a fundamental element of Vermont’s contemporary identity and culture. However, despite the deep integration of the cultural perspectives of Franco-Americans into the everyday life of Vermont, the inaccessibility of French language often presents barriers—including for many Franco-Americans—to wider engagement with one of the richest aspects of Franco-American culture: song. Through this project it is hoped we can move beyond this perceived barrier and promote and present Franco-American song as a vital cultural asset for all Vermonters.
‘Franco-Americans brought to Vermont a rich heritage of traditional French-language song and a tradition of call-and-response singing which celebrates the joy of making music together’ (Lisa Ornstein)
The project will partner with musician and scholar Lisa Ornstein, and Franco-American singers Carmen Beaudoin Bombardier and Kim Chase to identify and select a group of songs from the Vermont Folklife Center Archive. The project will generate a teaching curriculum, song book and website. These resources are designed to be a springboard for developing ongoing programming to revitalize the sharing of French language song in the state. The project will culminate in a performance during Young Tradition Weekend in May 2019.
A new article in Vermont History highlights the important role that french speaking immigrants from Quebec played in Vermont and New England. Scholar Leslie Choquette documents the immigration patterns between 1840 and 1930 of tens of thousands of immigrants. This story was featured recently on Brave Little State and was the subject of an international conference last year at UVM. There is an annotated bibliography on related research and writings.