ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 4 * * All Arts News On the Web * * February 24, 2000


      ArtBits always features a calendar of the goings on of Franklin County artists. Check out these events around Franklin County. Each issue includes the entire text of our weekly newspaper column.

      Regular AAC CoffeeHouses with networking time and "show-and-tell" are held in borrowed space at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month. These gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, and workshops every month. This spring, we will gather in a different AAC member's home around the St Albans area starting February 6 at Corliss Blakely's. Watch this space for details.


      Sometimes one has to leave Franklin County for a Franklin County event.
      The joyous sound of the music of our roots is very popular here. Quebecois dance music brings its Scots and Irish influences across the border and we tap our feet in delight; communities like Fairfield, heavily dependent on Irish ancestry, rejoice at the sound of a bodhran. Music from Acadia moved south to become Louisiana Cajun, and comes back to woo us.
      British, Cajun, Irish, Quebecois, Old Time, and other roots music will fill Ira Allen Chapel for a good cause on Sunday evening. An Event for Tom is a special benefit concert to help raise funds for a bone marrow transplant for 14-year-old Tom Sustic of Fairfax. 23 musicians are donating their time and talent for the cause.
      "There might even be some surprises that we haven't been able to publicize," said Tom's father, Mark Sustic.
      Grammy-nominated BeauSoleil combines the rich Cajun musical traditions of Louisiana with elements of zydeco, New Orleans jazz, Tex-Mex, country, and blues.
      The all-acoustic Savoy Doucet Cajun Band from Eunice, Louisiana, played at the 1997 Presidential Inauguration. This trio plays authentic, traditional Cajun music.
      Mick Moloney, the "best tenor banjo player in the U.S.," is a central figure in the resurgence of traditional Irish music and dance.
      Marc Savoy, Michael Doucet, and Mick Moloney are National Heritage Award winners.
      Yves Lambert, Michel Bordeleau, Andre Brunet and Regent Archambault of La Bottine Souriante have headlined music festivals around the world. Their Acadian-French songs have the flavor of Celtic, Latin salsa, and New Orleans jazz.
      Judy Hyman and Jeff Claus of the Horse Flies are the composers/musicians on the soundtracks for 'Where the Rivers Flow North' and 'A Stranger in the Kingdom.' Big Table brings Judy and Jeff together with Larry Ungar, Jeremiah McLane, and Colin McCaffrey.
      Singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester is best known for songs like "Yankee Lady."
      Jimmy Keane has won five consecutive All-Ireland titles on the piano accordion and has toured North America and Europe. He brings spectacular musicianship and unique approach to traditional Irish music.
      Songwriter, guitarist, and teacher of Irish music, Robbie O'Connell is a member of the internationally known Clancy Brothers. He has performed at Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden.
      John Roberts and Tony Barrand are the premier singers of British traditional songs in North America with a vast repertoire of ballads, lyric songs, music hall ditties, sea shanties, pub songs, morris dances, seasonal songs, and parodies.
      All of the performers "are people we know well," said Mark Sustic. Mark founded the Champlain Valley Folk Festival in 1983 and directed it for over 10 years. "At that time, we did two or three concerts each month, so many of the people coming were concert performers there."
      An Event for Tom is at the Ira Allen Chapel in Burlington this Sunday at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are available at the UVM Campus Ticket Store, Copy Ship Fax Plus in Essex Junction, and the Flynn Regional Box Office (802-86-FLYNN) and its outlets.
      The Events for Tom are sponsored by the Champlain Valley Festival, Comfort Inn and Suites, Fletcher Allen Health Care, Franklin Lamoille Bank, Bob and Holly Miller, Mousetrap Pediatrics, Northwestern Medical Center, Parent to Parent of Vermont, Richard and Amy Tarrant, UVM, Vermont Tent Company, and the Windjammer.
      "If you can't make it to the concert, you could still buy a ticket as a donation," Mark said. Send us the uncommited ticket. "We'll give it to some of the other families we've come to know who have children with chronic, life-threatening illnesses, and might not otherwise be able to go." Unused tickets may be mailed to PO Box 163, Fairfax, VT 05454
      This concert may just bring the most fun you'll have all winter.


      This disease of the blood-making system produces too many white blood cells which crowd out the cells that make red blood cells, causing anemia and other complications. Tom Sustic, 14, is fighting high risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. His survival depends on a bone marrow transplant.
      "The outlook is not good for finding someone to match," Tom's father, Mark said. There are eight blood antigens strands. The individual components of genetic material that make up the different strands must match at the molecular level in each of those strands. Two million potential donors have been screened to date. "Our best hope so far is a person who is a five to eight match."
      Under managed health care, "we can't get any clear picture of what's going to be covered and what's not going to be covered long term, let alone in the next day," Mark said. "It's part of the process of managed care to say, 'No' on the first request, particularly for high cost procedures.
      "We're dealing with that unknown. It's also not typical of insurance to cover the costs of the donor, but that is the recipient's obligation. So if the donor, if we find one, if that person is from Africa or somewhere, we'll have to get them here and pay medical expenses, and whatever else cost they have. Our medical insurance doesn't cover any of that."
      A Franklin County volunteer who tested for Tom has found out that he or she is a donor match for another child in another part of the world. The Red Cross is continuing blood screening and carrying on accepting blood for transfusions. Kids like Tom may receive 100 blood transfusions as well as needing the marrow transplant, so the blood donations are as important as the bone marrow. The next Red Cross blood drive will be in the First Baptist Church on March 6.
      A simple blood test administered through an authorized National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) donor center can determine if you're a suitable match for Tom or any other child. Call the donor center at 800-MARROW2 for more info.


JEFFERSONVILLE--Jenni Johnson and Friends perform at the Cambridge CoffeeHouse at Smugglers Notch Inn from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday. The original art of Matt Anlas will be on display. The Cambridge Arts Council sponsors the CoffeeHouse. Admission is free but donations are appreciated. e-mail for info.


51st ART OF THE NORTHEAST (March 1)--Silvermine Guild Galleries annual exhibit of painting, drawing, mixed media, and sculpture. $4,000 in awards. Juried by George G. King, Director of the Georgia O'Keefe Museum. Entry Fee. Call 203-966-2613 for info.

GRADUATE MUSICAL THEATRE WRITING PROGRAM (March 1)--Two year MFA program in the art and craft of musical theatre collaboration wants 24 talented composers, lyricists, and book writers for a collaborative community at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. A virtual tour of the facilities and faculty and the application are online at Click here or e-mail for more info.

QUOTH THE RAVEN LITERARY REVIEW SHORT STORY AND POETRY COMPETITION (March 15)-The winning author will receive $400 and have his or her work published in the May 2000 issue of Quoth the Raven Literary Review. Click here for more info


      More information for the ongoing Events for Tom is available at the Early Childhood site.


      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.


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Dick Harper, Chair

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