ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 2 NUMBER 5 * * All Arts News On the Web * * MAY, 1998


      Ballroom dance has again become a favored pastime of the young and the young at heart.
      The All Arts Council of Franklin County and the Cambridge Arts Council are cosponsoring an evening of live Big Band music with a 10-piece ensemble from the Vermont Big Band at the Fletcher Union Meeting House on Saturday, May 9. The audience can enjoy a newly refinished dance floor, a free ballroom dancing workshop before the concert, and delicious refreshments.
      Don't forget to wear a String of Pearls, because the band will put us In the Mood to enjoy a free ballroom dancing workshop before the concert, then to take a Sentimental Journey and enjoy a Lullaby of Birdland while we partake of delicious refreshments in some Moonlight in Vermont.
      "There will be plenty of room for those folks who want to move as well as listen," said CAC president Margo Rome.
      The Vermont Big Band combines the talents of well known Northern Vermont musicians. Louise Loomis, alto sax, Kevin Loomis, baritone sax, Gene Nuovo, tenor sax, Tony Pietricola, alto sax, Richard Toof, trumpet, Mike McGovern, trumpet, Peter Bouchard, Trombone, Verne Colburn, keyboard, Zachary Butterfield, bass, and David Myers, drums, play a variety of big band music from the 1930s and 1940s. David Myers is the current commander and Verne Colburn is the former commander of the 40th Army Band. The Vermont Big Band invites you to take a sentimental journey to the sounds of Glenn Miller, the Dorsey Brothers, and other stars.
      To kindle or refresh interest in ballroom dancing, Reinita Arnold and Pete Delgado will provide a free workshop before the concert. The couple operates Dancing with Style from a Morrisville studio and have taught and performed for years. The workshop is free for all ticket holders.
      The Methodist Church youth group will sell refreshments.
      General admission is $9. Tickets are available from Jukebox CDS in St Albans, Sound Bytes in Jeffersonville, the Fletcher General Store, Nan's Mobil in Fairfax, Spears Pharmacy in Enosburg, and Swanton Rexall. Arts Council members may purchase discounted tickets in advance for $7 directly from the AAC or CAC.
      An Evening of Big Band Music is presented by the All Arts Council of Franklin County and the Cambridge Arts Council with the assistance of a generous grant from the Franklin Lamoille Bank. For more information e-mail the All Arts Council


      The new All Arts Gallery at the Gift Gallery opens tomorrow to celebrate the first day of the Maple Festival; the Grand Opening will continue through Memorial Day.
      This exhibit in the All Arts Gallery at the Gift Gallery features a selection of the best original paintings, photography, and sculpture from Franklin County artists including Vermont Mist, a large oil by Corliss Blakely who will also display two new watercolors, plus works by Patrice Havreluk-Hemingway, April Henderson, Natalie LaRocque-Bouchard, Chris Lebaron, Beth Maginn, Meta Strick, Valerie Ugro, Pam Krout Voss, and The Rancher by Mary Harper.
      Hosted by the Gift Gallery at 58 North Main Street in St Albans, the All Arts Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.


      Franklin County musicians have released a number of albums recently. In the coming weeks, we'll introduce several of them here and on the new AAC/WLFE Feature Artist Showcase on radio WLFE. We begin with a benefit album and a hot new country band with 20 years of experience.
      The AAC/WLFE Feature Artist Showcase is broadcast every Thursday at 4:10 p.m. on George Paul's show on WLFE-102.3 FM


      Although Alfred McEwen has soloed with Duke Ellington, hosted his own Jazz Radio Show, and made the nightclub tour, he's not really from Franklin County. His new CD, For the Love of Sean, casts a spell with its strong local roots.
      Last summer David Millstone of the Bundy Gallery in Waitsfield asked Rob Guerrina to do a concert with Alfred McEwen. They hit it off. McEwen and the band recorded this album in a single sitting about a month later.
      For the Love of Sean features Franklin County's best jazz pianist Rob Guerrina on keyboard, Paul Asbell of Unknown Blues Band and Kiliminjaro fame on guitar, and Bill Patton on bass. Bill is currently working on a jazz mandolin CD at West Street Digital.
      "Bill and I have played together forever," Guerrina said. The Vermont music business is close. The three of them often work together here and throughout the state; Guerrina and Patton also play in Just Jazz.
      Alfred McEwen is a classically trained baritone and a respected jazz stylist. He has soloed in Carnegie Hall, performed around the country and in Europe, and appeared on CBS.
      This gentle record includes some of McEwen's favorite songs, such as Love Me or Leave Me, Where or When, and Duke Ellington's Solitude. The album was engineered and produced by Chuck Eller in Charlotte. It is dedicated to Alfred's son, Sean, and to all people suffering from autism. The proceeds benefit the Community Services for Autistic Adults and Children. CDS are available from the CSAAC and from Alfred McEwen.


      Everybody loves an overnight success story.
      In 1979, five St Albans boys were playing around with some guitars and a drum set. 10 years later, they played the first Summer Sounds Concert Series in Highgate and drew one of the biggest crowds we have ever had.
      Southbound now has the number one Independent album in the country. But they still haven't cracked the top 60 of all songs played. In fact, only two of the top 60 hits are independently produced.
      Making it takes an investment of money, ability, time, delicious songs, and good fortune. Of 300 new acts who signed record deals last year in Nashville, only the Kinleys, a duet, and Michael Peterson and have made it to the charts. As of last Thursday, the record was being played on 500 country stations (up from 134 the week before).
      "They are turning some heads in Nashville," said WLFE's Kevin Greenan.
      Jeff Lamos, vocals and rhythm guitar, Darren Arsenault, lead guitar and harmony, Tony Nichols, vocals and bass guitar, Buffer Como, vocals and keyboard, and drummer Jason Como bring tight harmony and sold instrumentals to sentimental country themes. Solid, well practiced country band? Sure. But they also have the sound and ability to attract mainstream audiences. The album includes I Know Where You're Coming From, In the Shadows of the Fire and Jeff Lamos' own ballad, Sill Waters Run Deep. A remix Still Waters without the fiddle and steel guitar would also produce a good crossover to adult-contemporary. Look for the Southbound website.
      Southbound's local CD release party is at Sha-Booms tonight at 8 p.m. The boys are getting there and, for the audience, it's always been fun.
      The AAC/WLFE Feature Artist Showcase spotlights cuts from Getting There is Half the Fun this afternoon. The Feature Artist Showcase is broadcast every Thursday at 4:10 p.m. on George Paul's show on WLFE-102.3 FM.


      The All Arts Council will hold a monthly meeting in the Collins-Perley Sports Center in St Albans, Thursday, May 7, 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, a collaboration with Cambridge Arts Council for An Evening of Ballroom Dancing, and a Claire Hungerford concert..

      The Franklin Northeast Visual Art Teachers have organized an art show and contest for all students in the district on May 8-9 in the Opera House at Enosburg Falls.
      AAC Vice Chair Natalie LaRocque-Bouchard, Bobby Anderson, and Jonathon Silverman of St Michaels College will judge the pieces on Friday, May 8.
      Over 100 pieces will be displayed in the Opera House. The works are divided into three categories: two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and photography/computer work with prizes for grades K-4, 5-8 and 9-12. Classroom and teacher aart work will be displayed as well.
      An activity table for watercolor and group wooden block sculpture will be set up to learn and share the fun.
      The Art Gala at the Opera House is sponsored by the All Arts Council of Franklin County, the NESU visual art teachers, Safe and Drug Free Schools, Title VI, and the Friends of the Opera House at Enosburg Falls, Friday May 8 at 4-8 p.m. and Saturday May 9 at 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

      The All Arts Council and the Cambridge Arts Council will cosponsor the Vermont Big Band in an Evening Big Band Music on the newly refinished dance floor at the Fletcher Union Meeting House Saturday, May 9. See the lead article for details.

      Rhythm In Shoes, a traditional dance and music troupe, returns to St. Albans for an evening of sound and rhythm. Locomotion! A Community Event will take place Saturday, May 9 at 7:30pm in St. Albans. Call Billijean Smith (524-7376) for more information.
      The events in St. Albans with Rhythm In Shoes are co- sponsored by the Flynn Theater and the St. Albans Area Community Arts Network, as part of a four year audience development project funded by Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest.

      The Champlain Chorus will present "Hallelujah, Amen!" a Celebration of Song, a program of sacred music from Renaissance to Contemporary including Ceremonial Hymns and Fanfares for choir, brass ensemble, and audience. Choir members from area churches will assist with the hymn festival. at 4:00 p.m. Sunday, May 10, at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, St Albans. Donations will be accepted.

      Claire Hungerford will present An Afternoon with Schubert and Friends, a recital of Schubert, Lieder, and Brahms. Marcia Perry is accompanyist. There will be guest appearances by the City School Band Ensemble and a reception sponsored by the AAC, at St Luke's Church in St Albans, Sunday May 17 at 3 p.m.


      Lloyd Erlick writes, "'Photographer?' Horrible mouthful. 'Artist?" Pretentious overworked word. 'Portraitist?' Ostentatious." Lloyd is, however, a black and white photographic portrait artist with 13 pages of fast-loading thumbnail images (they lead to larger images) that he displays and sells.
      The site also includes discussions of photographic paper, bulk darkroom chemicals, films, papers and developers, adventure in the construction of a developing tank, drying fiber based photographic prints, scanning, print mounting, single-tray processing, and even the ultimate monochrome print (by Jon P. Fishback). His discussion of scanning negatives rather than making contact prints is worth the stop alone.

      The Novel Ideas Reference Library began with reference links for (mostly) mystery and crime scene writers and now includes general research. Some of the links point to experts, others to specific search engines, indexes and directories, including maps, media, reference, geography, government, genealogy, crime scene, scientific, medical, forensic and pathology sites.

      The Little Hands/KinderArt is a great site to visit for arts and crafts activities that foster creativity for your kids. The site has preschool lessons with entertainment value, neat stuff to explore, and craft recipes made with frugal ingredients. The 10 Easter activities included a stand up bunny (K-3), An Easter card (4-6), hatching chicks (K-6), and Springtime (K-4).


[Editor's note: In earlier issues, we looked at the fine arts programs in the four Franklin County supervisory unions.]

      Schools keep the arts alive in Franklin County.
      The four Franklin County high schools have fine arts programs that cover two and three dimensional art, as well as concert bands and choral music. Art, music, prose, poetry, and literature are taught as individual art or music courses and integrated throughout the curriculum. Public shows and exhibits often incorporate work from many of the classes.
      "The BFA arts programs are bigger than ever," said headmaster Reg Godin, a theme echoed through most of the schools.
      I found growing fine and visual art classes, and popular music curricula. There are art shows, art trips, a unique Advanced Art program, ceramics, ceramics, computer-generated animated movies, dance, drama, fabrics and weaving, guitar lessons, music history and theory, papier mache and plaster sculpture, video studies, and writing. There are several annual evening concerts at each school, participation in the All State Parade, the New England Music Festival, the Maple Festival, and the Dairy Festival each year.
      Not every school has every program. Although two schools offer dance and drama programs, for example, two do not.
      The halls in almost every primary and secondary school are an art gallery from floor to ceiling.
      The offerings are uneven at the elementary level, but the walls of nearly every school are awash in student art. Teaching staff varies from no art teacher at one school, through shared and part time faculty, to strong new art program with several teachers. All elementary schools have instrumental, and chorus programs.
      At the elementary schools, there are annual musicals, art exhibits in local stores, art fairs, an art/family room with permanent display space, artists in residence, special projects such as Art Week, very active bands, choruses, computer graphics, dance and movement in phys ed, regular dance instruction and residencies, drama clubs, independent art room projects, a jazz ensemble, literature, photography electives, a Power Band, a saxophone quartet, several Fine Arts concerts, a speakers program, and the Web project.
      Although most schools are looking for ways to expand arts offerings, Swanton Elementary has announced it will reduce its music program despite the recent voter approval of the budget.
      Most high school students believe they can study and earn a living in the arts, although some students at one high school go on to study post-secondary music or science but rarely go into art. The schools boast principal players in music festivals, participation in extracurricular bands and . I found a freshman music major at Johnson State, a full art scholarship at Rhode Island School of Design, others attending Mass Art, Maine School of Art, Pratt Institute, as well as Johnson State and Lyndon State, oboists working in New York, published writers, several art teachers here in Franklin County and around the country, players in college, in community bands, in touring bands, on Broadway, and with the Vermont Symphony. The MVU Musical is an annual favorite.
      "Art should be fun," said Jane Crouch of MVU.


      The AAC, BFA students, and Ben and Jerry's sponsored Ice Jam, a rock and pop benefit concert in a school gym. 17 people paid to see it.
      BFA brought in the Vermont Winds for an April concert. Only 70 people came.
      Overheard at the quick stop, "Oh, that's at the school. It's just a kid's concert."
      Overheard in the school gym, "That's no good. It's for fogeys."
      BFA Music Director Eric Bushey noted that some people might not know what a wind ensemble is and some might think it's "that boring classical stuff."
      The Liz Lerman Dance residencies are underattended as was the Fall VSO concert at St Luke's.
      The AAC Art Auction drew a crowd of 12.
      On the other hand, 2,300 people came out for the Marine Band (some more of that boring classical stuff) and 12,000 saw our art exhibit at the Rotary Home Show.
      Here's the problem we all need to address. Franklin County has very few professional performance spaces but every town has public buildings and churches. We've seen how good the our adult artists and our student performers are. We book exceptional touring artists such as Big Joe Burrell, the Franco Voyageurs, Clarice Hearne, Kate Pond, the McGill Jazz Band, and the VSO. The MVU Theater is a world class performance space; other schools have pretty good facilities, and the acoustics in many of our sanctuaries are excellent.
      So why don't people come to the concerts and shows?
      The mailbox is open. e-mail the All Arts Council if you have an answer.


Dick Harper, Co-Chair

Support Free Speech on the Internet
All Arts Council of Franklin County
P.O. Box 1
Highgate Springs, VT 05460
e-mail us

Go to [ Dick Harper | All Arts Index | ArtBits Archive ]

Copyright © Richard B. Harper, 1998. All Rights Reserved.