Vermont-born musician Grace Potter received top arts honors Wednesday from Gov. Peter Shumlin and the Vermont Arts Council.
They awarded her the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts, in a ceremony at her alma mater, Harwood Union High School, in Duxbury.
According to the Vermont Arts Council, recipients of the award must currently reside in Vermont, have regional, national, or international acclaim, and have a significant public following and body of work. Honorees must also show "evidence of having a strong commitment to Vermont and the role that the arts plays in its quality of life," the Arts Council wrote on its website.
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"I will never forget Vermont," Potter told the school's students, faculty, and staff who gathered for the ceremony. "I hope you guys remember where you came from for the rest of your lives. Continue to follow your dreams!"
The native of the Mad River Valley had quite a year in 2015. She released her latest album, called "Midnight," performed with the Rolling Stones, and sang the National Anthem at Gillette Stadium for the NFL season opener between the Patriots and Steelers. In 2016, she will embark on another national tour.
After receiving the award, Potter sang her hit "Stars" during the school assembly, then joined Harwood's jazz ensemble to perform "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."
The Vermont Arts Council said Potter will appear in upcoming web videos promoting arts education. Potter thanked Harwood for its music educators' understanding that her style may have been unconventional, and for nurturing that.
The award ceremony was originally scheduled for last month, but had to be moved because Potter traveled to Qatar with First Lady Michelle Obama and comedian Conan O'Brien to entertain U.S. troops stationed there.