ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 3 NUMBER 1 * * All Arts News On the Web * * JANUARY, 1999


      As you make and keep your New Year's resolutions, please remember your favorite community group (or arts council) . Resolve to do a one-evening project for that group; although I can't guarantee you'll lose weight or quit smoking, I do know that you will have fun.
      The AAC will continue to produce exhibits and shows to bring artists in all disciplines to Franklin County and to showcase and develop local artists.


      Are you an artist or musician? You may need professional quality photos of your work for a catalog or competition, for listings in the upcoming Arts/First Register, or need lower resolution images for the Internet. Taking these high quality photos requires the same craftsmanship that goes into creating the work itself. It is a skill that can be learned.
      Photographer Chuck Meunier will offer a free workshop on photographing your work at the monthly AAC Coffee House and Meeting, Thursday, January 7, at 7 p.m., at the Collins Perley Sports Complex.
      With no other agenda, this meeting is a good chance to network and to have fun with other Franklin County artists. Artists usually bring works for show-and-tell or instruments to jam. Coffee and cider are free; munchies and other finger foods are pot luck. Committees will discuss concert schedules and upcoming exhibits and shows in a short business meeting at 6 p.m.
      Mea culpa: if you got the famous "meeting tonight" e-mail earlier this week, I apologize. The meeting really is tonight's tonight, i.e. January 7. If you would like to get mail about arts stuff, e-mail the All Arts Council


      The Rotary Club of St Albans has invited AAC artists to exhibit fine art again this year at the Home Expo. Our premier gallery event, this juried show will include oil and watercolor paintings, photographs, sculpture, and performance art. We expect over 12,000 visitors
      The AAC will publish a new Arts/First Register with brief biographies, images, historical resources, and regular calendar updates. Our matching Internet catalog will include the same biographies and resources, additional images, and an events calendar with easy access for all local community groups to post events.
      93 Strings will present a new series of workshops and concerts in schools around Franklin County.
      The 85 member Vermont Youth Orchestra returns to the MVU theater in Highgate in May.
      Summer Sounds '99 will expand again this year with free concerts every other Sunday in Highgate and St Albans, bonus concerts in Franklin, and Richford, a series in Enosburg, and, we hope, an additional Franklin County town. The lineup will include old favorites and new groups in blues, bluegrass, country, opera, pop, and a little rock and roll.
      The AAC will sponsor a Franklin County student for the summer Governor's Institute in the Arts.
      The Bethany's Children Foundation and the AAC will broaden and rename Summer Stage into a weeklong theater workshop for actors age 11-18. This intense residency will let kids work on the stage at MVU with choreographers, Broadway performers, and film actors in July.
      ArTrain, a Smithsonian Institution traveling museum, will bring the works of Luiz Cruz Azaceta, Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, Georgia O'Keefe, Mindy Weisel, and many more, to St Albans in October.
      The AAC will also build on several popular events, including the annual Arts and Eats Festival at Hamlen's Garden Center, classical recitals, another outdoor show at the Bakersfield Bash, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra in concert in St Albans, a Franklin County-wide Holiday Crafts and Fine Art Tour in November, and ArtsAuction '99.
      Our monthly "networking" meetings always include show and tell by various artists, impromptu musical gigs, some business opportunities, and workshops for artists in all genres. We have planned workshops such as photographing your work (tonight), appraising and valuing your work for sale; copyright law; matting and framing; how-to market artwork and music; publishing and more. AAC members meet the first Thursday of every month at the Collins-Perley Sports Center.


      The Fairfax Community Theater Company will vote on their Spring show later this month and on the summer show in February. People who want to join or participate should call Tom Townsend (878-3847), Margie Cain (849-6638), or any member of the Theater Company.
      The Georgia Gate Players elected a new board Tuesday eveing at their annual meeting. Planning to present at least three productions this year, they are considering revisiting the very popular Godspell in the Spring.
      Libraries across the county will offer special events throughout the summer for children and grownups.
      The world-renowned MVU musical will be Brigadoon on April 9-11. Rehearsals start the first week in February with auditions right after the mid-terms.
      The Kiwanis Club of Franklin County will bring back Circus Smirkus.
      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls starts a series of monthly programs this year, although the production companies will be dodging the construction companies. They will host a Valentine's Ball on February 13 with Sterling Weed, followed by a Wood's Tea Company concert in March. The rest of the season includes the annual Talent Search, Opera House Association plays and musicals, and concerts, local variety shows, the Dairy Princess Pageant, and the Miss Vermont contest.
      St Albans CAN! has Lester Bowie workshops at the end of this month. Storyteller John O'Neal will bring "Junebug Jabbo Jones" back and there will be more Liz Lerman activities throughout the year. The Locomotion Project will assemble personal and community stories of railroad history to create Locomotion 2, a community dance performance in the Spring.
      The St Albans Rotary's famed Suitcase Theater hopes to add a third company to put summer shows in nearly every library in Franklin County.
      St John's Episcopal Ministry of the Arts will repeat the Summer Sundays afternoon concert series in Highgate Falls.
      Talk of a new outdoor performing arts center percolated to the surface in three towns last fall. Look for more serious discussions this year. If you want to participate in the planning, e-mail the All Arts Council or talk to your Selectboard.


      The Vermont Youth Orchestra heated up Franklin County last January with the lively music of George Gershwin and Aaron Copland. They will return in May.
      The Rotary Club of St Albans invited AAC artists to exhibit fine art at the Home Expo. Our display filled both handball courts of the Collins Perley Sports Complex with fine oil and watercolors, digital art, sculpture, and photography by Franklin County artists. The exhibit also featured newspaper photographs in a display entitled Newspaper Art, and a special exhibit of artists in the Northern Vermont Arts Association. With over 12,000 visitors, this juried show is our premier gallery event.
      BFA students and the AAC presented Ice Jam, a small benefit concert for the American Red Cross.
      93 Strings, the acclaimed VSO harp duo, presented six workshops and concerts in schools around Franklin County, including a stunning performance at the Opera House at Enosburg Falls.
      The AAC had a sampler of Franklin County fine art at the Specialty Foods exhibit during the Maple Festival.
      The new All Arts Gallery at the Gift Gallery opened in April with display space for two and three dimensional pieces.
      April is National Poetry month, so WWSR-AM 1420 and the AAC sponsored a live Poetry Read-In on the air. The readings included works from well known poets such as Maya Angelou or Robert Frost as well as spring poems by local writers and are repeated periodically.
      The Cambridge Arts Council and the AAC cosponsored an Evening Big Band Music at the Fletcher Union Meeting House. The audience enjoyed a newly refinished dance floor, a free ballroom dancing workshop before the concert, and delicious refreshments. Anne and I danced the night away.
      Claire Hungerford presented an Afternoon with Schubert and Friends, a benefit recital we hope she will repeat.
      The third annual Arts and Eats Festival at Hamlen's Garden Center had a floral motif (floral paintings, sculptures, and arrangements) and was our first competition. Celeste Pecor won first place with Eternal Iris. Second place went to Josh Derner for Grandmother's Garden, while Del Bransfield won third place in his first show with a wood carved, framed flower.
      Summer Sounds '98 expand again with free concerts every other Sunday in Highgate and St Albans, bonus concerts in Franklin, and Richford, plus a new series in Enosburg. The series featured 8084, Abair Brothers, Anderson-Gram, Banjo Dan and the Midnight Plowboys, Lisa Brande/Three Way Street, Catamount Pipes and Atlantic Crossing, Constitution Brass, Enosburg Town Band, Fairfax-Fletcher-Westford Band, Jon Gailmor, Rik Palieri, Nobby Reed, Southbound, Stockwell Brothers, Wood's Tea Company, and Yankee Pot Roast. The 1999 lineup will again include old favorites and new groups in blues, bluegrass, country, opera, pop, and a little rock and roll.
      The Blues Fest Live at the Boonys was a benefit concert for the Franklin Fire Department. The lineup included Studebaker John and the Hawks from Chicago and many well known Franklin County performers.
      The Bethany Foundation and the AAC presented Summer Stage, a three-day workshop for actors age 11-18. This intense residency let kids work on the stage at MVU with Broadway performers and actors from recently released films.
      The long promised AAC summer party offered up a pot luck day of music, fun, and elbow bending with Franklin County's arts community at the Cohen Park in St Albans Town. If you weren't there (and many people were not), you missed a lot of free food at the social event of the season.
      The first Bakersfield Bash featured an AAC Fine Arts Show against the stunning mountainous landscape.
      Teens made art and history again in Franklin County as Americorps volunteers, Caring Community members, the New Connections Youth Services, and the AAC on murals painted in Houghton Skate Park, the Fairfield Community Center, the Marble Mill Park in Swanton, and at the Family Center in St Albans AAC vice chair Natalie LaRocque-Bouchard developed and perfected the projection technique the young artists used
      The VSO returned to St Albans with a program of Mozart, Thomas Read, and Tchaikovsky.
      The WEB Project, a statewide program to create and assess student multimedia, continued to use technology to show what local students can do with digital images, sound, and motion. You can find the results on the web.
      There were excellent town band, town chorus, as well as school concerts throughout the year. Fine art was on exhibit throughout the county in restaurants, banks, businesses, libraries such as the A.A. Brown Public Library, and on the walls of the Northwestern Medical Center.
      In a series on art in Franklin County schools, we looked at 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 in the 20 schools in Franklin County.
      Our monthly "networking" meetings included 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 Fairfax Community Theater Company presented a collection of one-act plays including Who's On First, Hello Out There, and Removing the Glove in the spring and the Performing Arts Showcase in the Fall.
      The Georgia Gate Players produced the season's exceptional GodSpell.
      Hazens Notch Cross Country Ski Center and the AAC presented a series of concerts in the Montgomery Methodist Church plus performances and a residency at the Berkshire Elementary School.
      Libraries throughout the county had a series of special events throughout the summer for children 4 and up, many sponsored by the Friends of the Library in your Town
      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 a Sunday summer afternoon concert series in Highgate Falls.
      The 525 people theater at Missisquoi Valley Union High School may be the best performance space in Franklin County, especially after an extensive renovation that included a new electronic light board. This year's musical was The Fantasticks, a "small" show and the longest running musical in the history of musical theater.
      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls began a major capital campaign to complete the Opera House renovation with the Festival of Friends. This three-day Celebration of the Arts was Franklin County's biggest gathering of performers and friends of the arts. The Opera House at Enosburg Falls has been a cultural center since 1892 with traveling and local entertainment, community meetings, and prominent school events. They received a $500,000 grant arranged by Senator Jim Jeffords (R-VT). Their programs also included 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 Champlain Chorus presented Hallelujah, Amen!, a program of sacred music from Renaissance to Contemporary with choir members from area churches.
      The Vermont Good Time Country Music Club made its St Albans debut with hot honky tonk band for singing, dancing, and playing along. The alcohol free, non-competitive club plays monthly.
      1998 was the tenth anniversary of Concerts by the Common, the popular summer series presented by the Montgomery Historical Society. This year the series featured four performances by classical and jazz musicians.
      The Franklin Northeast Visual Art Teachers organized an art show and contest for all students in the FNESU in the Opera House at Enosburg Falls. This show attracted over 100 excellent pieces and will be repeated in 1999.
      The annual Ethnic Festival had a big top in Taylor Park with street dancers, clowns, singers, and activities for the entire family. This enjoyable event may tour the County this year and needs more support.
      The annual Montgomery August Fest featured a show (and sale) of the works of local artists.
      The St Albans Area Community Arts Network audience building project for Burlington's Flynn Theater continued strongly this year. Members of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Rhythm In Shoes, and John O'Neal all held workshops in St Albans throughout the year. These workshops are part of a four year project funded by the Lila Wallace- Reader's Digest Foundation.
      Shoppers, fine artists, and crafters gathered for the second annual Crafts and Fine Arts Tour of Franklin County. Six shows in St Albans, Fairfield, Bakersfield, Franklin and Highgate joined the fun.


      For anyone keeping track, this column introduced you to nearly 200 artists, musicians and other interesting performers in 1998. We checked out more than 60 web sites and snooped into the book cases of around 30 Franklin County readers. Sometimes to our editors' chagrin, it has taken some 41,000 words to do that, or approximately one-half of a book.


      Drive a little or drive a lot for some great Franklin County musicians.

NEW YEAR'S EVE IN ST ALBANS--The hot honky tonk Classic Country band will play your favorite old time country songs to welcome the New Year. This traditional country music at the VFW St. Albans is open to the public from 8 p.m. till 1 a.m.

NEW YEAR'S EVE IN WESTMORE--Just Jazz (Rob Guerinna, Bill Patton, and Larry McCrorey) will ring in the New Year at the Willough Vail Inn on Lake Willoughby, starting at 8:30 p.m.

NEW YEAR'S DAY IN NEWPORT--The Nobby Reed Project will play at for Mark and Kristie Tetreault at Jaspers's on Friday night, January 1, starting at 9 p.m. "It's a nice warm setting," Nobby said.

ST ALBANS--The Vermont Good Time Country Music Club continues on Sunday afternoon. The honky tonk house band, Classic Country, invites singers and players onto the stage to sit in. This alcohol free, non-competitive club has a dance floor and stage that are open to all. Seniors, young singers, and musicians have enjoyed performing live in this ongoing series.
      Vermont Good Time Country Music Club will appear from 1-5 p.m. Sunday in the Knights of Columbus Hall in St Albans. A canteen provides coffee, tea, soda, and cookies. Admission is $3 at the door; children under 12 are free.

SHELDON--Local singer/guitarist Bob Gesser of Richford begins four weeks of Friday night music at the Abbey Restaurant and Pub in Sheldon Friday night night, January 8, at 8:30 p.m. Bob, who has 30 years experience on the guitar, will play one 3-hour straight set of 50s and 60s music each evening in a wide range of styles from soft rock to country to blues. This series will continue January 15, 22, and 29.

ST ALBANS--The Georgia Gate Players will call for proposals in a meeting expected to be this Tuesday evening at St Pauls United Methodist Church. Call Kristin White (524-3438) to confirm the meeting place and for more information.


      First Night is a community-based, alcohol-free New Year's Eve celebration of the performing arts in over 175 cities across the United States, Canada and Australia.
      First Night Burlington celebrates its 15th Anniversary with over 85 artists and events at 30 sites and dueling fireworks displays at 7 p.m. and midnight. All for the cost of a Button. The site shows general info, events, buttons, sponsors and more.
      Bennington's First Night will feature comedians, magicians, storytellers, and music from country to boomer, from to classic rock.
      For a family oriented, alcohol free celebration of the arts on and around Main Street, check the St. Johnsbury First Night site. Their page also has a "help wanted" page for volunteer Managers, Site Supervisors, Masters of Ceremonies, Button Checkers, Information Booth, and Set-up people.
Finally, First Night Boston bids us warm welcome with "exhibitions both practical and diverting": Chat, Contests and an electrifying Media Gallery.


      ArtBits features a quick weekly peek at the bookshelf or night stand of the folks you know in and around Franklin County. That popular feature has a page of its own at the Franklin County Bookshelf here on the AAC site.


Dick Harper, 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, 1999. All Rights Reserved.