ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 2 NUMBER 1 * * All Arts News On the Web * * JANUARY, 1998


      The monthly All Arts Council meeting, normally the first Thursday of each month, will not be held on New Year's Day. The meeting has been rescheduled for Thursday January 8 at 7 p.m. in the Collins-Perley Sports Complex.


      The Vermont Youth Orchestra will heat up Franklin County with lively music in a winter concert at the MVU theater in Highgate on Saturday January 24 at 7:30 p.m. The program will feature the music of George Gershwin and Aaron Copland. These two giants of orchestral composition blended classical and popular influences to stimulate our vibrant American symphonic style.
      Sponsored by Chittenden Bank and Northwest Medical Center, the VYO FASCINATING RHYTHM concert is hosted by the All Arts Council of Franklin County and presented by media sponsors the St Albans Messenger and radio stations WWSR/WLFE.
      The VYO, made up of 85 top student musicians from Vermont and northern New York, is in its 35th season and its third under music director Troy Peters. Musicians from Franklin County include Anne Clark, violin, Erik Kenyon, trombone, Brian Messier, percussion, Morgan Pollitt, violin, Nicole Rawding, flute, Jeremy Sanborn, trumpet, and Andrew Siller, trumpet.
      "We have an exceptionally talented orchestra this year," said Peters, "and they're really going to shine on these American Classics."
      The program will open with contemporary Philadelphia composer Kile Smith's spirited Sinfonietta. Next up are four dance episodes from Copland's Rodeo. Soloist Adam Workman, of Vergennes High School, is featured on Franz Danzi's Concerto Number 2 in D Minor for flute and orchestra. Workman renders a sterling performance of Danzi's theatrical and fascinating piece.
      The finale is Gershwin's An American in Paris, long a favorite with musicians and audiences alike. In addition to street noises provided by the percussion section, the score includes parts for the saxophone, America's favorite jazz instrument. Jane Grover, Cameron Bradley, and Bryan McNamara join the VYO for this piece.
      Tickets for the MVU performance are $6 for adults, and $3 for students and senior citizens, available at Jukebox CDs and Tapes in St Albans, Spears Pharmacy in Enosburg Falls, Swanton Rexall in Swanton, from most AAC members, from the VYO (call 655-0005), and at the door.

      The VYO will also present FASCINATING RHYTHM at the Flynn Theater on Sunday, January 25 at 3 p.m. Tickets at the Flynn are $10 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens, available at the Flynn box office or from the VYO (call 655-0005). The VYO's Flynn series is underwritten by Vermont National Bank, while the Vermont Health Plan generously sponsors the orchestra's winter concert.


      Floodstock, a benefit concert, was the All Arts Council's biggest undertaking, and our grandest success of the year. Since the AAC knows a lot of bands and wanted to raise some money for the Montgomery flood victims, we planned a show at the Field Days site in Highgate.
      The day before the concert (August 24) the temperature in Montgomery dropped to 39. One furnace-challenged family reported an inside temp of 50 .
      April Wine headlined the concert along with 17 well known Vermont bands. 400 volunteers, music lovers, high school students, Rotarians, and 50 businesses pitched in. We had most of the materiel from two armories and much help from the Vermont National Guard. Missisquoi Valley Rescue, the Highgate Fire Department, the Sheriff, and local police officers were there. We netted a little over $24,000. As Sue Wilson said, "That buys a lot of new heaters."
      The Rotary Club of St Albans invited over 20 AAC artists to exhibit fine art again this year at the Home Expo. We filled both handball courts; the exhibit was our best of the year.
      That was not our only involvement with the St Albans Rotary. Thanks to the Home Expo, they gave a financial boost to programs for kids, for the arts, and for other community-wide activities. The All Arts Council was one of 40 organizations to receive a grant.
      Summer Sounds '97 returned with 15 free Sunday concerts in Highgate, St Albans, Enosburg, Franklin, and Richford. The lineup included Lisa Brande and Easy Street, Stockwell Brothers, Too Tall String Band, Dr Jazz & the Dixie Hot Shots, the Vermont Big Band, Banjo Dan and the Midnight Plowboys, 8084, Through the Opera Glass, Woods Tea Company, Zephyrs, Nobby Reed, a Pipers and Fiddlers concert, Green Mountain Chorus, and Scott Kepnes.
      King George III ascended to the British throne in 1760 and we took Franklin County back to that time with a Vermont Youth Orchestra concert. London 1760 celebrated the coronation with some of London's top 40 hits of the time. The complete VYO will return January 24.
      Art and flower lovers enjoyed bite size marvels from area restaurants, fine arts, and, of course, one or two flowers at the second annual Arts and Eats Festival at Hamlen's Garden Center.
      Mezzo-soprano Clarice Strauch Hearne performed in a solo recital of classical music, familiar favorites, and Rodgers and Hammerstein medleys in Richford Town Hall.
      The Vermont Symphony Orchestra came to Franklin County for the second straight year in a wonderful concert at St Lukes in September. They will be back.
      Four excellent bazaars joined forces to fill your stockings with art and to give you a lovely day trip around our County in the first (of many) Grand Holiday Art and Crafts Tour.
      The AAC's first auction was also a success. A small crowd came to Chow! Bella and took home two dozen pieces of fine art, sculpture, books, and theater tickets. The auction raised enough to underwrite five or six new AAC ArtsBoost grants in 1998.
      The Sugar Mill Co-op Gallery, which hosted a monthly series featuring the artists of Franklin County, closed. We hope to reopen in 1998.
      Our monthly "networking" meetings included show and tell by various artists, impromptu musical gigs, some business opportunities, and workshops such as Art as a Business. AAC members meet the first Thursday of every month at the Collins-Perley Sports Center.
      Finally, this column itself has been great fun. I've profiled some interesting people and arts organizations and have plugged Stuff You Shouldn't Miss around the area, the Art Site of the Week, Artists' Opportunities, AAC Member News, and the Franklin County Bookshelf.


      The Fairfax Community Theater Company presented A Feast of Shakespeare in Fletcher this spring, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat over the summer, and a musical variety show in the fall.
      The Georgia Gate Players produced last season's exceptional Wizard of Oz and began the Irving Memorial Scholarship, an arts fund at the Georgia school. The company has summer parties, family get togethers, and a chance to use and build personal talents in the theater.
      The Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge raffled a limited edition print of artist Nancy Howe painting, Where Paths Cross.
      The St Albans Centennial Homecoming, a giant family reunion, was a long weekend Fourth of July block party in downtown St Albans. There was marvelous music, visits with friends, great food, visits with family, parades and fireworks, visits with friends, art exhibits, visits with family, and a nifty logo, created by our own Natalie LaRocque-Bouchard.
      The St Albans Free Library had a series of special events throughout the summer for children 4 and up, sponsored by the Friends of the Library.
      The St Albans Rotary's famed Suitcase Theater combined an intense workshop week with a performance week to put shows in nearly every library in Franklin County.
      St John's Episcopal Ministry of the Arts presented Class Act, Eclectic Zurn, and Treble Makers in the Voices of Summer summer afternoon concert series in Highgate Falls.
      Children of all ages saw the tenth anniversary "Birthday Party" tour of Circus Smirkus, thanks to the new Kiwanis Club of Franklin County and the St Albans Skating Association. This family event brought amazing displays of juggling dexterity, balancing bravado, feats of contortion beyond imagination, perch pyrotechnics, and much much more, all performed by kids.
      The Constitution Brass and Howard Coffin brought an evening of music and stories to the Opera House at Enosburg Falls, one of many events there this year, including the annual Talent Search, Opera House Association plays and musicals, and other concerts, Gershwin's Crazy for You, local variety shows, and the Dairy Princess Pageant.
      The President's own United States Marine Band performed triumphantly in St Albans with a rousing welcome for the assistant director, First Lieutenant Michael J. Colburn.
      Vermont sculptor Kate Pond placed Sun Fix for Judy, a major sculpture, at the new border station in Highgate Springs. (Judy is sculptor Judith Brown who died of cancer in 1992.)
      Burlington's Flynn Theater chose the St Albans area for an audience building project and the St Albans Area Community Arts Network, Franklin County's newest cultural group, was born. Their first activity was a St Albans residency featuring world class dancer Liz Lerman. Look for the Rhythm in Shoes residencies in February.
      WLFE/WWSR held a benefit Christmas Party for Martha's Kitchen, complete with music, door prizes, family time, and more food than could be eaten. Entertainment was provided by Final Factor, a new group, and Southbound, Franklin County's favorite country band.
      The Champlain Chorus performed Gian-Carlo Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors, the first opera commissioned for television, in St Albans, Enosburg, and Richford.


      The AAC will host a benefit dance concert and show for the St Albans Historical Society in February.
      The Rotary Club of St Albans has invited AAC artists to exhibit fine art again this year at the Home Expo. This juried show is our premier gallery event. We expect over 12,000 visitors
      93 Strings will present workshops and concerts in schools around Franklin County.
      Summer Sounds '98 will expand again this year with free concerts every other Sunday in Highgate and St Albans, bonus concerts in Franklin, and Richford, plus a new series in Enosburg. The lineup will include old favorites and new groups in blues, bluegrass, country, opera, pop, and a little rock and roll.
      Thanks to ArtsAuction '97, we will offer several small ArtsBoost grants to Franklin County teachers and community centers. Applying is simplicity itself: find an artist to work with your kids, write a short description of the project, find matching funds, and e-mail the All Arts Council or call me.
      The AAC will also build on several popular events, including the Vermont Youth Orchestra concert this month, the annual Arts and Eats Festival at Hamlen's Garden Center, solo recitals by Mezzo-soprano Clarice Strauch Hearne, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra in concert at St Lukes, a Franklin County-wide Grand Holiday Art and Crafts Tour, and ArtsAuction '98.
      The Sugar Mill Co-op Gallery was popular with artists and art lovers. We hope to find space and reopen the gallery in early 1998.
      Our monthly "networking" meetings will include show and tell by various artists, impromptu musical gigs, some business opportunities, and workshops. AAC members meet the first Thursday of every month at the Collins-Perley Sports Center.


      The Georgia Gate Players will perform Godspell in April.
      The Fairfax Community Theater Company summer musical will be the Pajama Game, directed by drama professor Michael Disher.
      Libraries across the county will offer special events throughout the summer for children and grownups.
      The St Albans Rotary's famed Suitcase Theater hopes to add a third company to put shows in nearly every library in Franklin County. Sponsors are needed to expand this wonderful program.
      St John's Episcopal Ministry of the Arts will repeat the Voices of Summer afternoon concert series in Highgate Falls.
      The Kiwanis Club of Franklin County will bring back Circus Smirkus.
      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls has begun a major capital campaign and is coordinating a county-wide events calendar. The Opera House plans monthly programs including the annual Talent Search, Opera House Association plays and musicals, and concerts, local variety shows, the Dairy Princess Pageant, and the Miss Vermont contest.


      The All Arts Council needs members who want to attend concerts and shows, assemble art exhibits, support the arts, book bands, spread the word about events, and to paint or dance or sing or write. The annual membership drive begins at the January meeting and runs through the Rotary Home Show.
      "Support of the Arts is important, even if you only want to attend meetings, it will help us do more things for the community," said membership chairman Richard Serpe. e-mail the All Arts Council for information or fill out the form on our web site.
      Member benefits include networking with artists and other members, a member night celebration, regular news of local cultural happenings, priority seating or discount admission to AAC events, advance notice of events, educational and cultural opportunities, as well as other parties and discounts.
      Residents, businesses, and visitors can join at the saint, patron, donor, benefactor, sponsor, or general member Level. Student memberships are free; our student members complete community service projects to fulfill their membership.


      This survey will inventory the artists, experts, facilities, performers, and your interests around the county. If you want to participate now, take the time to call me (868-3351) or fill out the form on the AAC web site with your answers to the following questions:


      Artimagery Studios is a virtual gallery that promotes artists and their work. The site provides visibility, opportunity and freedom of expression to artists at all levels of their careers. Visitors can view original artwork and read about each artist.
      Feature Artist Beth LeCours visited Bali, Indonesia, in 1994 and has posted the "Energy of Bali" series of mixed media drawings. She says the series is about mark making, layering, density of space and timelessness.

      If you love the magic and music of words, A.Word.A.Day is a nice stop on the net. The A.W.A.D. Wordserver runs services for reference and fun; it also sends a daily vocabulary word and its definition (with occasional commentary) to subscribers and newspapers around the globe. AWAD subscribers number nearly 100,000 linguaphiles in more than 120 countries.


      The annual meeting of the members of the All Arts Council of Franklin County will be held on February 5, 1998, at 7 p.m. in the Collins-Perley Sports Center. At the annual meeting, members will elect up to 5 directors and transact whatever other business as may come before the meeting. AAC members vote, can serve on the board of directors, hold office, attend meetings and support cultural events around Franklin County.


      Setting a new standard for unreliability, I managed to add a K to blues guitarist Nobby Reed's name here and in all our Summer Sounds advertising. Sorry, Nobby. I also stumped Champlain Chorus lovers when I wrote that Arlene Davis would sing Amahl's mother (it was Arlene Jarvis, of course) then mis-scheduled the times for their Enosburg and Richford concerts. I hope no one arrived too late. Mea culpa.


Last year, readers shared their favorite Vermont authors. Start your new year's reading with this list.


Dick Harper, Co-Chair

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