The Day the Music Died

The Raging Grannies of Vermont came to the Statehouse this morning to sing the praises of single-payer health care – literally. In a small space nearby the cafeteria breakfast line, the six-woman group offered original takes on recognizable classics, including “Single Payer” (sung to the tune of “Happy Birthday”) and “Universal Single Payer” (which borrows the melody of “California Girls”).

But their vocal stylings were cut short when Sergeant at Arms Francis Brooks informed them that the concert was in violation of the Statehouse ban on demonstrations.

“Francis said he was very sorry, and he was – I could see it on his face,” said Raging Granny Elisabeth Hebert. “So now we’re just reading the songs to people.”

Brooks later confirmed Hebert’s account of the incident.

“As I explained to them, they had to stop because they were demonstrating for a particular cause,” Brooks said. “They said, ‘can we still talk and give out cookies?’ And I said of course you can.”

And so they did, handing out baked goods to passersby while reading the text of their single-payer songs.

Hebert, who had a green feather boa wrapped around her head, seemed unfazed by Brooks’ ruling.

“I can’t sing, but that’s not the point anyway,” she said. “We’re just here to get people to entertain the idea of single-payer health care.”