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Band-ing Together: Students Play Front Yard Concerts for Frontline Workers

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The driveway concert - SASHA GOLDSTEIN
  • Sasha Goldstein
  • The driveway concert

On Monday evening, six Shelburne Community School students gathered in a driveway, spacing themselves six feet apart.

At 6 p.m. sharp, they lifted musical instruments to their lips and blasted out the familiar refrain of "Let's Go Band" — that five-note ditty you've heard at every sporting event ever — over and over again. 

The girls were among the hundreds of band students from six schools in the Champlain Valley School District who stood in front yards at the appointed hour and played their hearts out to honor frontline heroes of the pandemic.

Williston Central School band director Kim Thompson helped organize the event to give the students the feel of a concert performance. Several spring concerts were canceled when school closed, and Shelburne eighth graders weren't able to go to Montréal for an annual band trip.

"It was disappointing for everybody to leave school and lose our sense of community," Thompson said. "For music in particular, everything we do is so collaborative."

"Let's Go Band" is a classic tune that's easy enough for the youngest band students, in fourth grade, to play, and catchy enough to get the attention of neighbors. On Oak Hill Road in Shelburne, as the six girls played their clarinets and saxophones, neighbors sat in idling cars and cheered. At one point, Shelburne Community School music teacher Tim Buckingham hoisted himself halfway out of a car's sunroof and rode past, waving a sign in support.

A trumpet sounded its loud blat around the corner as another group of neighborhood kids joined the concert.

"Musicians like having audiences. We like sharing our music with people," Thompson said. "It's not something that you just keep to yourself."