Money & Careers

Sandy Wilbur, a Woman Who Is Making a Difference

So when a social studies teacher asked Sandy to write a song that would help students learn the Preamble to the Constitution and still be relevant to the rest of the curriculum, she was eager to take on the job. “The Preamble sums up who we are and what we stand for as a country,” she says.  “It’s so aspirational, I wanted it to be ingrained in schoolchildren’s minds:

‘We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The anthem she came up with was surprising: In the middle, after the melody framing the Preamble, the song switches to rap.  “I knew I wanted a contemporary song—not something old-fashioned, because that’s what the kids would like,” she says.

She was right about that: kids like the song. Many of the kids learn it by finding it on YouTube. So far, it has garnered 391,000 views; been sung at the opening sessions of the Vermont Legislature; sold to parents and teachers for use in hundreds of schools, public and private; and generated feedback like this, on Sandy’s website: “This song is amazing! It helped my [sic] learn the Preamble in about an hour.”  

“Everyone wants to do the rap part,” Sandy says. “The girls fight over the fact that the boys get to do it. They learn it just as well.”

Into the rap section Sandy loaded an explanation of how the three branches of our government work; this was not easy to put to a melody. She then hired Leon Pendarvis, co-musical director of the Saturday Night Live Band, to arrange the song. She wanted average elementary school kids to do the singing and rap parts, and auditioned over 150 elementary school kids before finding a fifth grade rapper and four third-grade girls to record the song. Having worked extensively with professional children in New York City, Sandy was blown away when she heard these four girls sing.  “Their music teacher, Erin Reilly, had been a professional singer, and taught them from first grade how to really sing—at a professional level.”

DSC_0463From left to right: Audrey Anglum, Maddie Greene, Malachi Best, Katie Kelly, and Carrigan Boynton. Read More »

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  • Sandy Wilbur April 6, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Thanks, Suzon. That’s a great suggestion. I will look into it! Sandy Wilbur

  • Suzon Schulz March 3, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Great story, great song! How about looking into Susan B. Anthony and the early Women’s Movement to get the vote for another song , boys can sing about that too.