ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 4 * * All Arts News On the Web * * August 10, 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.

      There is a free AAC Networking Meeting/Coffee House at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month. These gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, and workshops every month at Simple Pleasures in St Albans.

LIVE MUSIC... better than the canned stuff from CDs or even MTV. With national recording artists again playing at both ends of the County, the music is better than ever, and the commercials are shorter than on PBS.


      This Sunday, we offer events in St Albans and Franklin. The Got Milk Summer Sounds concerts are always on Sunday evenings, always at 7 p.m., always in a town park, and always free.

ST ALBANS--Cioffi Real Estate, Lang Associates, Coldwell Banker-Poquette & Bruley, Martell Realty, and Diane McLaughlin/Century 21-Scott Lane Associates present Roy Hurd and Friends in their first Summer Sounds appearance, Sunday at 7 p.m. in Taylor Park.
      "I play music like I drive," Roy said. "By ear. My mom was a singer and I've always been around music."
      Singer, professional songwriter, and dynamic performer, Roy Hurd has clubs and colleges, concert halls and music festivals in his songwriter's grip. He is a staff writer for Warner/Chappell, the song publishing arm of the Time/Warner empire. Warner/Chappell represents songs and songwriters from every genre
      "We write across the board but definitely try to fit through the little window for country music radio. There is a lot of pop influence in country music right now and a lot of alternative influence so that opens it up for people like myself," he said. "I'm a little more folk oriented and into pop."
      His most recent CD is Mountain Thunder, recorded at Chaz Eller studio. Although Roy lives and works in Tennessee, his heart dwells in the Adirondacks. The storytelling and his smooth vocals in all his own songs show that.
      "We write for many different record companies. Some writers pretty much write at home, but I like going in to the office." He was at Sony for four years where, "the only time I ever counted, I did 65 songs in one year." He now has a 15 song quota at Warner where he recently finished a cut for Burn, released in July by CMA Female Vocalist of the Year nominee Jo Dee Messena on Curb Records. He received the SOCAN award for Paul Brandt's Take It From Me, the Number One country song in Canada in 1997.
      Roy is spending the summer in the Adirondacks house where his grandparents raised him. He plans to build a home there in a couple of years. His 21-year old daughter, an International Relations and Spanish major, works in an Adirondack camp every summer. "She's a great young woman and a mountain girl," he said.
      Writing for himself and as a performer, he said, "I'm not under the radio kind of structure. I get a chance to play songs for people who really aren't worried whether the chorus happens quick enough or if the bridge is enough a breakaway from the melody. The audience listens more with their hearts.
      "I love what I do in Nashville, but I love more coming home to play my heart for the people."
      Before and during the concert, the United Way will serve a tableful of goodies for your sweet tooth. Meet some old friends and make new ones as you picnic in Taylor Park.

FRANKLIN--The Town Hall Green will really rock as the Franklin General Store, Franklin Telephone, Dick Wright Ford, and Wright Excavating present Redwing at 7 p.m. on Sunday.
      Central Vermont's new all-star acoustic trio, Redwing combines the vocal harmonies and fine instrumental work of singer/songwriter Patti Casey, violinist David Gusakov, and mandolinist Will Patton. Their concerts are a sweet fusion of bluegrass, Celtic, gospel, folk, and swing.
      Patti Casey, who won national acclaim for her second place finish in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest, has opened for Shadowfax and Prairie Home Companion's Robin and Linda Williams. David Gusakov has played with Emmylou Harris and John Denver and has belonged to the Vermont Symphony Orchestra for over 25 years. He is familiar in Franklin for his appearances with Banjo Dan and the Midnight Plowboys. String wizard Will Patton draws on jazz, gypsy, and Brazilian music. He has performed with Mose Allison and the Mothers of Invention and opened for Bonnie Raitt and Van Morrison.
      The Modern Woodmen will host a social starting at 6 p.m., while the band tunes up, and ongoing through the concert.

      The Got Milk Summer Sounds concerts are underwritten by the Dairy Farmers of Vermont. The St Albans series is presented by the City of St Albans, and the All Arts Council, and sponsored by Main Street Merchants and Businesses, Northwestern Medical Center, select St Albans Area Attorneys, the St Albans New Car Dealers, and the St Albans Area Realtors. The bonus series is presented by the Franklin Recreation Department and the AAC, and sponsored by Fairfax Pharmacy, the Staff of Hayes Rich Funeral Home, J&L Hardware, Nan's Mobil, and Ross's Auto; Franklin General Store, Franklin Telephone, Dick Wright Ford, Wright Excavating; Blouin's IGA, Pinnacle Peddler, The Crossing, and the River Street House of Pizza.
      The rain sites are the Congregational Church and the Franklin Town Hall. The community based All Arts Council brings the performing arts to northwestern Vermont.


      The Wood's Tea Company appears as part of the Millennium Series at the newly renovated Opera House at Enosburg Falls tomorrow evening at 8 p.m.
      The "biggest trio in Vermont" will play a mix of traditional lively variety of bluegrass, sea chanties, Celtic music, and dry New England humor side by each with original folk songs. Bring this newspaper to sit on during their well known question and answer period. The band is known for their easy going and witty rapport with their audiences and their powerful musicianship.
      With Rusty Jacobs, Mike Lussen, Chip Chase ("a poor wretched soul from New Hampshire"), and Howard Wooden, the group deploys banjos, bezoulis, bodhrans, fiddles, guitars, tin whistles, bass, concertinas and mandolins in every concert. Founded in 1980, they have seven nationally released albums; their new album This Side of the Sea will be released at the Opera House on Friday and on
      Tickets are $9 for adults, $7.50 for seniors and students, and $5 for children 12 and under. Advance sales earn a $1 discount at Swanton Rexall, Spears Pharmacy, or Merchants Bank. Call the Opera House (933-6171) for info.


      St. John's Episcopal Church welcomes The Three Sopranos to the Summer Ministry of the Arts series in Highgate on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.
      Christina L. Boerner studies voice with Jill Levis. She has sung in the chorus Musica Propria for 17 years as well as doing solo pieces with the group.
      Nancy B. Greene also studies with the "very patient Jill Levis." Raised in a singing family, she is a church Cantor, sings in the chorus Musica Propria, and enjoys performing cabaret music. As her mother once said, "drop a penny and Nancy will sing."
      Evelyn Hardman Kwanza Evelyn studied voice at Oberlin Conservatory and New England Conservatory. She has headlined at the AAC CoffeeHouse, performed as a soloist, and in the Tulsa Opera Chorus, VSO Chorus, and Champlain Chorus. She belongs to the New Alpha Missionary Gospel Choir, the Burlington Ecumenical Gospel Choir and is lead vocalist for the rock band, Truant.
      An Episcopal Evensong service will precede the concert at 3 p.m. The series is free but donations are appreciated. e-mail Erik Kenyon for info.


      The Summer Music at Grace 2000 series presents Michele Choiniere at Grace Church, Sheldon, next Tuesday evening. Born into a musical family in St Albans, Michele has performed traditional Franco-American music with her father, Fabio, since childhood. She began writing and composing in 1995. Her lyrics and music focus on romance, nature, and the social issues of Franco-American life.
      Michele was featured on TV5 International's worldwide Visions d'Amerique broadcast, and has appeared on Vermont Public Television's Rural Delivery. She was a guest artist with La danse des Enfants at the Flynn Theatre, and has performed at the AAC Soiree Grand Menage, Opera House at Enosburg Falls, the Champlain Valley Folk Festival, and First Night. Her debut album of original and traditional songs is due this year.
      Grace Church is located at 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon Creek. The concert begins at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 15. Admission is by donation (the suggested donation is $6 adults/$4 children and seniors). Click here for more info.


HIGHGATE--Franklin County Field Days has free entertainment from near and far all weekend.
      The Friday country music lineup features the Rabideau Brothers, well known from their Dairy Festival appearance, at 7 p.m. opening for national star Jamie Lee and the Rattlers at 9 p.m. On Saturday evening, Rick and the Ramblers take the stage at 6 p.m. The Sunday shows include The Clown and hypnotist Steve Taubman; country band South Junction performs at 1 p.m.
      Franklin County Field Days is held annually on Airport Road in Highgate. The grounds and exhibits open at 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

GRAND ISLE--Island Arts sponsors an annual Island Tour to Savage Island (that's the first time this year I've been able to use "Island" four times in the same sentence). The tour is a fund raiser for Island Arts to underwrite Grand Isle County school arts programs.
      The Savage Island tour includes a boat ride to the largest privately owned island in Lake Champlain, a house tour of the Riehle home designed by architect Marcel Bowdoin, and an art show featuring the work of Ann Baldwin Riehle, Barbara Smail, and Barbara Wagner. There will also be a tour of the solar aspects of the island and of the island sheep farm, a wonderful box lunch and an opportunity for nature walks.
      On Saturday, the regular donation is $50 but a donor has offered matching funds, so there are about six $35 tickets available. The boat will leave promtly at 11:30 a.m. Saturday August 12 (yes, that is tomorrow) from the Savage Island Farm dock.
      Directions from the North: Route 2 from Alburg south. Cross the drawbridge onto Grand Isle. Turn left onto East Shore Road North. Savage Island Farm is on the left about 3-5 miles from the intersection There will be balloons
      Directions from the South: take Route 2 North to the Grand Isle store. Turn Right onto East Shore Road North (also known as Camp Marycrest Road). Savage Island Farm is on the right about 2 miles from the intersection. Look for the same balloons.


      I did it again and Alan DeMont's mom might be annoyed that I spelled her son's name wrong last week. Got it right this time. A belated Happy Birthday, Alan.
      Meanwhile, I managed to credit St Luke's Episcopal Church for hosting the Got Milk Summer Sounds concert in Highgate. St Luke's does a lot for the arts, but it was Holy Trinity in Swanton hosting the event. Thank you Holy Trinity!


      Performers' web sites this week include the Woods Tea Company.


      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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      This article was originally published in the St Albans Messenger and other traditional print media. It is Copyright © 2000 by Richard B. Harper. All rights reserved. Archival material is provided as-is. Links are not necessarily maintained (if a link in this article fails, try or your favorite search engine).
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