ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 4 * * All Arts News On the Web * * March 9, 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.


      Fontella Bass and the Bosman Twins perform at BFA-St Albans Thursday, March 9, at 7 p.m. in a Special Tribute to Lester Bowie: Performance and Community Jam. The concert is part of the ongoing St Albans CAN! and Flynn Theatre series.
      An explosive singer and pianist, Fontella Bass grew up in St. Louis gospel music. Her grandmother, Nevada Carter, and her mother, Martha Bass, were renowned gospel singers. She began traveling with bluesman Little Milton and Oliver Sain in 1962 and released two best selling R&B singles (Don't Mess Up a Good Thing and the classic Rescue Me. Fontella married jazz trumpeter Lester Bowie and soon returned to gospel.
      Fontella now tours internationally with The Voices of St. Louis, an eclectic ensemble that performs a wide repertoire of music that spans jazz, blues and gospel. She first visited St Albans with Lester Bowie last year and returned for a residency with the BFA-St Albans bands and choirs.
      The Bosman Twins, saxophone players from the Voices of St. Louis will back up Fontella and the BFA jazz band and choir.
      Fontella encourages audience members to bring instruments as the evening will end with a hot gospel and jazz Jam Session. Tickets are available at Jeff's Seafood, Better Planet, Rail City Market, and at the door. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students/seniors. Call the Flynn (652-4539) for more info.
      Fontella and the Bosmans will also return to Burlington for the Discover Jazz Festival this June.
      This residency is generously supported by the Comfort Inn and Suites of St. Albans and Jeff's Maine Seafood Restaurant and funded by a grant from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund. The Audiences for the Performing Arts Network (APAN) project is developing national models for audience expansion through extended artist residencies.


      Up in Smoke, a puppet show and cautionary tale is coming to Fairfield on Saturday. This Kids on the Block production is one of several in Franklin County schools and community centers this Spring.
      "We do a Japanese style of puppetry called Bunraku," said Deb Lyons. Dressed all in black, the puppeteers fade into the background.
      The muppet-like puppets are about three and one-half feet tall and look so much like real kids that Deb Lyons even takes them clothes shopping. "My own kids don't go on those trips," she said. talking about real issues. This play talks about real issues and "tries to put out a positive message to help kids deal with scary aspects of tobacco use."
      Eric, the puppet star of Up In Smoke, talks about the effects of tobacco and answers questions from the audience. Eric's dad (another puppet in the cast) used to smoke so Eric knows first hand how hard it is to break the habit.
      The Kids on the Block production of Up in Smoke will be presented on Saturday at 11 a.m. in the East Fairfield Community Center. Call Jane Berry (827-3130) for info. Kids on the Block performance are sponsored through a grant from the Vermont Department of Health.


BAKERSFIELD--Bakersfield Drama presents Annie this weekend at Bakersfield Elementary School.
      Annie is played by Dana Jacobs a singer/actress who was also the lead in Cinderella last year. Jamie Flanders plays the fierce Miss Hannigan and Rusty Jones is Daddy Warbucks. Lisa Denton and Sharron Evans produce this all-volunteer musical each spring with the students from the Bakersfield Middle School.
      "This is a chance for everyone to see live theater done by kids," Arlene O'Rourke said.
      Annie will be presented Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and in a special two dollar Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at the door: $4 for Adults, $3 for high school students, $2 for K-8 students, and free for preschoolers.

JEFFERSONVILLE--The Cambridge CoffeeHouse presents Open Mike Night (acoustic) at Smugglers Notch Inn, 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 15. The original art of Matt Anlas will be on display. Admission is free but donations are appreciated. e-mail for info.


      This week, we continue to explore the art and music of some United Nations countries.
      The Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra is one of the largest Chinese orchestras of its type in the world. The Orchestra promotes Chinese music, actively explores "new frontiers in music by experimenting with new techniques and styles," and has commissioned over a thousand original compositions and arrangements. They give regular public concerts and present free student concerts and outreach activities for the community. The Orchestra enters its twenty-fourth orchestral season this fall.
      Hungarian music is at least 1,000 years old. The Hungarian Music Information Center was established in 1973 to offer information on contemporary composers, performers, and musical organizations, as well as festivals, music competitions, courses and scholarships in Hungary and abroad. They have a searchable database of music performing artists in Hungary and a choral music data bank as a service for choir conductors.


      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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