Thursday, May 17, 2007

Michele Choiniere, winner of the Governor's Heritage Award

Michele Choiniere, a Franco-American singer and songwriter, has won this year's Governor's Heritage Award, an annual honor presented by the Vermont Folklife Center and Vermont Life Magazine.

Michele won for her work as an "outstanding traditional artist in her role as a master musician." Jane Beck, Executive Director of the Folklife Center said that Michele's application stood out for her artistry as a singer, her musical arrangements, and her creative song writing, making her an ideal choice."

The Vermont Folklife Center is an organization that preserves the folk arts and cultural traditions of Vermont. Each year, an artist and an educator receive the honor, which is presented by the Governor in a ceremony at the Statehouse.

Michele is a Franco-American, who grew up in Saint Albans, Vermont. Her ancestry is Quebecois and she spoke french as her first language. Her household and community were steeped in traditional music, and she learned Quebec and Franco-Vermont folk tunes from her family and friends. While many in the Franco-American community are losing touch with the culture, Michele is an exception to this trend, as she actively carries on the traditions, while also creating new music.

Michele has appeared in concert with well known world/traditional music performers such as Le Vent du Nord, Matapat and Barachois, among others and currently performs in concert with ensembles from both Montreal and Vermont. Her performances feature a blend of traditional music, along with original compositions, together with an occasional standard, such as songs by Edith Piaf.

Among other accolades, Michele and her Montreal group of Sabin Jacques and Rachel Aucoin, performed at last year's American Folk Festival in Bangor, Maine that was attended by over 163,000 people. This year, she will appear at the Great Lakes Folk Festival in Michigan, as well as other events in the northeastern U.S. and Canada.
For more information on Michele, including a video clip of her recent performance at the Vermont Legislature, you can visit her website at