ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 2 NUMBER 4 * * All Arts News On the Web * * APRIL, 1998


      Artists document the human search for meaning and identity. They use dance, digital graphics, language and literature, music, paintings, photography, sculpture, and the theater to demonstrate their findings.
      Although art begins with fingers swirling through colored mud or voices raised in chords, Franklin County schools have given many local artists the grounding they need to improve technique and expand a vision. We enjoy a rich artistic heritage here because residents, tourists, businesses, schools, and governments support the arts.
      The four Franklin County supervisory unions have fine arts programs that cover two and three dimensional art plus concert, band, and choral music. Prose, poetry, and literature are taught as individual courses and integrated throughout the curriculum.
      This month we continue our focus on how our schools prepare artists to succeed and help all students participate in and enjoy the arts with a look at the schools in Franklin West Supervisory Union which serves Fairfax and Georgia.


      The Fine Arts are taught across the curriculum in this 1,000 student school that serves grades K-12. The elementary grades concentrate on visual arts. Middle school adds band and chorus. The upper grades have a very complete fine arts program with the addition of ceramics, drama, and more.
      "I like a lot of interaction between the arts and other programs," said new Superintendent Roger Bourassa.
      Teachers and parents alike say the administration makes a positive difference.
      "We have regular programs that feature the work our students are doing," said high school principal Alex Zidovksy. "The elementary school did an interdisciplinary unit on Africa that culminated with an [open house] evening with artwork all over the school. The Hiram Bellows bicentennial included wonderful artwork that students had done. That was a combination of the visual arts, choral work, and band."
      Instrumental instruction starts in fourth grade with Suzanne Hogan. Bruce McRae teaches from grade five through high school. There is a beginner band, a jazz band, a concert band and plans for a middle school band. The concert band is not age or grade dependent; students qualify "when they get to a certain point in their lesson materials," said McRae.
      "The halls are an art gallery from roof to floor," said art teacher Susan Parker.
      K-8 students study ceramics, plaster sculpture, papier mache, fabrics and weaving,
      "We teach kids to appreciate the arts rather than how to become artists, so we also do a lot of art history and gallery visits," Parker said.
      Students visit the Fleming Museum and Arts Alive and the seventh grade is touring Boston this year. Many of the really interested kids go on to the Burlington vocational program.
      The art program is very much interdisciplinary. The third and fourth grade recently studied the Inuit art of the polar regions and the sixth grade concentrated on the Hiram Bellows unit. They made a fabric wall hanging, a multimedia timeline slide show with sound voiceovers and music, and painted murals commemorating the anniversary. Enrichment activities also included a Monopoly-style board the called Fairfaxopoly. Students meet once weekly but "they are all begging for more time," Parker said.
      BFA-Fairfax graduates go on to study and earn a living in the arts. One is currently a freshman music major at Johnson State. Three oboists are working performers in New York. Another graduate teaches outside Chicago.
      BFA presents four annual evening concerts at the school. They march in the All State Parade and the Dairy Festival each year. They have as many as 10 participants in New England Music Festival. 22 students played in the district music festival in the concert band, wind ensemble, and chorus this year.
      They recently participated in Vermont Concert Band Music Festival. Bands were adjudicated at Champlain Valley Union High School and received feedback from judges Tom Toner and Gary Quarkland. Two kids went to the New England Music and one sophomore player is principal trumpet in the All State Band.
      "In every project we do, [the art groups] come in to ask 'what are you doing next,'" said teacher Pat Nilsson. "It is incredible."


      This K-8 school has two music teachers, one and one-half art teachers, a formal enrichment program, drama classes, 5-6th grade chorus, 7-8th chorus, plus beginners, intermediate, and advanced bands.
      Enrichment teacher Nancy Mildrum teaches drama in 10 week blocks; the drama club meets weekly after school. Students performed the musical SCROOGE in November.
      Art teachers Ellen Hsieh and Carol Crosby teach art appreciation and history as well as technique. Younger students are finishing three-dimensional projects while the 7th and 8th art choice classes paint Under the Sea, the 1998 annual mural in the central hallway. Carol Crosby covered female artists in March.
      The two choruses and the intermediate and advanced bands under music teachers Marilyn Sink and Randy Wheeler held their annual Pops concert last week. The Tigger Singers exchanged music with St. Albans City school and performed with several other Franklin County schools Friday afternoon. Students just finished a composition class with pieces that will be uploaded for the Web Project. The musical groups will present one more concert in May.
      Art and Music will also collaborate to bring the community and school together for the Eighth Celebration of the Arts in May.


      The All Arts Council will hold a monthly meeting in the Collins-Perley Sports Center in St Albans, Thursday, April 2, at 7 p.m. In addition to networking and fun time, AAC teams will plan for upcoming events including the grand opening of the AAC Gallery at the Gift Gallery, the Maple Festival, a Claire Hungerford concert, and a collaboration with Cambridge Arts Council for An Evening of Ballroom Music on Mother's Day.

      The Georgia Gate Players 1998 Spring production of Godspell begins Friday, April 3, at St Paul's Methodist Church in St Albans. Dave Chambers of St Albans directs a cast of 15. Donna Costes is music director.
      There will be four performances, April 3 at 8 p.m., April 4 at 2 and 8 p.m., and April 5 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for students and seniors.

      Gail Salzman of Fairfield will open an exhibit of new work at the Flynn Theater Gallery on Saturday. CONNECTING...A Work in Progress grew out of the St Albans CAN! program and the Liz Lerman dance residencies in St Albans. In a series of compelling paintings, Salzman explores bonds between people and how the community relates to the arts. The Flynn Gallery will hold an opening reception on Saturday 6- 7:30 p.m. The show will continue until May 29.


      Check out the elegant illustrated chalkboards enticing you to the foods in the new Price Chopper in St Albans. They're the work of AAC artists Patrice Havreluk-Hemingway of Bakersfield and Beth Maginn of St Albans. Artists Lynn Ceraldi of Scotia, NY, Gisele Chouinard of Barre, and Michele Bailey of Rutland also collaborated on the opening.


      In the fast paced world of recorded performances, it is delightful to find good acts in a live show. Here in Franklin County, an abundance of Town bands, community theater, outdoor concerts, and talent shows all showcase masterful performers.
      The Franklin Recreation Department rolled out the red carpet for the first of (we all hope) many Talent Shows in Franklin Saturday night. 18 groups performed for prizes ranging from $25 to $100 for a large, appreciative audience. There were solo singers, singing piano players, modern dancers, a folk singer, a classical clarinet and piano duet, piano soloists, tap dancers, and more. Avis Gervais, Kevin Smith, and I were the judges.
      Evan Petrie who brought marvelous funky hats to the Crafts and Fine Arts tour last fall, sang Foolish Games and Laura Nyro's Poverty Train. Wanda Gates performed Arkansas Traveller as a piano solo. Danielle Magnant, performed a modern dance routine to How Much is that Doggy in the Window. Guitar player Tom Faris sang Kansas City and Stormy Monday Blues. Rebecca Kempton sang Different, her own original song. Joanne Scott and Diane Gates performed Fantasie Stucke op. 73 for Clarinet and Piano by Schuman. Jill Barnum and Pete Perez choreographed a modern dance number. Harrison Gates performed Turkey in the Straw as a short piano solo. Rafael Bish sang Try to Remember from The Fantasticks, (he performed it again in the musical at MVU). The Survivors (Morgan Bay, Emily Cota, Mandi Gates, and Stacy Sartwell) sang My Heart Goes On and On from the Titanic. Evan Petrie returned to the stage to sing Such a Young Thing with parents Mike and Lucy Petrie. Desiree Perras tap danced into Franklin's hearts.
      Brendan Gates played Lightning Ranger on piano. Hillary Britch in derby hat played the King Porter Stomp in a clarinet solo. Karen Gates and Hallie Greenon performed a park bench skit around My Favorite Things. Riley Kempton played Take the A Train and a delightful Yankee Doodle Medley in a solo piano recital. Michelle Robtoy, Erin Maskell, and Chelsea Taft lip-synched a Spice Girls act. The Franklin 4H RoughRiders performed a line dance medley.
      "We haven't exhausted all the talent in Franklin," said master of ceremonies Larry Kempton.
      In the adult category, Joanne Scott and Diane Gates won, Tom Faris placed second and Evan, Lucy, and Michael Petry placed third. In the 13-18 category, Rafael Bish won, Evan Petrie placed second, and the RoughRiders took third. In the 12 and under group, Desiree Perras won, Karen Gates and Hallie Greenon placed second, and Hillary Britch took third
      Who really won? The Town of Franklin, of course.


April 2       AAC networking meeting at Collins-Perley Sports Complex, 7 p.m.
April 3       Godspell St Paul's United Methodist Church, St Albans, 8 p.m.
April 4      Godspell St Paul's United Methodist Church, St Albans, 2 and 8 p.m.
April 5       Godspell St Paul's United Methodist Church, St Albans, 3 p.m.
April 24-26       Grand Opening of the All Arts Gallery at the Gift Gallery
April 24-26       Vermont Maple Festival in St Albans


The Internet Underground Music Archive features the music of over 1,000 independent musicians in genres from a capella, ambient, bluegrass, blues, children's, Christian, classical, college/indie/lo-fi, country, dance/house/techno, easy listening, electronic, experimental, folk, funk, gospel, hard rock, hard-core/industrial, heavy metal, hiphop-rap, humor, instrumental, jazz, latin, new age, pop, progressive rock, punk, reggae-ska, rhythm and blues, rock, rockabilly, spoken word, surf, thrash soul, weird, to world beat. IUMA includes a clip from The Bobs, a four member experimental/a capella group, who fill a theater with an orchestra of voices and body percussion.

      Looking at Art Together is a personal home-page that shows a love for and interest in modern art. It includes works made by native artists and current residents in the Dutch or Belgian Limburg region.
      The site includes texts written by the artists to explain the exhibited works. The current exhibit includes six story portraits in black and white by Peter Severijns, Maastricht city-views by André Wilhelmus, an experiment with color intensity by Marianne de Kan-Brandts, Harry Dam, "Drawing in steel," and more. All pieces are recent and most are for sale; Nic. van Poppel plans regular updates.

      A friend teaching in Korea tells us of an incredible quotations "from just about everyone you'd ever want a quotation from." Searchable by keyword, author, and topic, The Quotation Center includes quips and exerpts from the modern Wayne Dyer to the historic Goethe. They also offer a quote of the day by e-mail.


Dick Harper, Co-Chair

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