ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 4 * * All Arts News On the Web * * August 17, 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.


      Got Milk-Summer Sounds moves to Highgate and Fairfax this Sunday. The concerts are always on Sunday evenings at 7 p.m., always in a town park, and always free. Bring a blanket or a lawn chair and settle to enjoy outdoor family music and festivities.

HIGHGATE--Got Milk-Summer Sounds has world class newgrass from Southern Vermont as Champlain Valley International presents double headliners as Derrik Jordan opens for the Stockwell Brothers in the Highgate Municipal Park.
      Bruce, Barry, and Alan Stockwell (the brothers) and Doug Raneri (the other brother) wield acoustic and electric guitars, 5-string banjo, mandolin, bass, and multi-flavored percussion to color their sets. Their material has straight ahead rock, fingerpicked folk, mandolin medleys, and, of course, a skoch of blue and a little grass riding funk, reggae, and Latin grooves.
      With their tight vocals, brotherly harmonies, and superb instrumentals, this large trio has appeared with Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, Mary-Chapin Carpenter and Asleep at the Wheel. The Stockwell Brothers played an 11-country European tour last season.
      Derrik Jordan is a songwriter, recording artist, and environmental activist with message-driven acoustic pop songs "to heal the lovesick and inspire the jaded" (think Stevie Wonder meets James Taylor). He loves the great pop songs from the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and James Taylor. He wrote songs, played guitar and grew his hair in high school then got into African, Brazilian and world music as a college conga player and percussionist.
      Derrik now works with Native Americans and against all forms of pollution, nuclear power, and nuclear weapons. He spent July in Ghana.
      Lost Gold Records has reissued his Expecting a Miracle CD and released Something Beautiful as a single to Adult Contemporary Radio.stations.
      Just before the concert, stop by for Dessert in the Park at the community social starting at 6 p.m. The social hour is a chance to visit with friends and eat some delicious desserts; don't forget to add an extra notch to your belt.

FAIRFAX--On Sunday evening, Fairfax Pharmacy, the Staff of Hayes Rich Funeral Home, J&L Hardware, Nan's Mobil, and Ross's Auto present 8084, Franklin County's most widely traveled rock band, on the lawn at BFA-Fairfax. "Eight-Oh-Eight-Four" toured the United States in the national Coors Tour, and have extensively covered Europe. This tremendously popular Franklin County band played the Floodstock benefit and has had mini- tours with Blue Oyster Cult, Edgar Winter, and April Wine.
      Singer Randy Smith, Andre Maquera on lead guitar, Frank Barnes on bass, and drummer Scott Belisle will play the best of their originals plus some power pop sounds from the seventies such as covers of Van Halen and Bon Jovi. Andre promised a "fine selection of current and classic rock" including many from Greatest Hits, their current European release as well as many new pieces from the upcoming album they are producing at West Street Digital. 8084 has played together since 1982.
      The Fairfax Recreation Path Committee and the Baptist Building Committee are the concert hosts. Stop by for Dessert on the Lawn at their social starting at 6 p.m. The social hour is a chance to visit with friends, talk about the Recreation Path and eat some delicious desserts.
      The Got Milk Summer Sounds concerts are underwritten by the Dairy Farmers of Vermont. The Highgate series is presented by the the Town of Highgate, and the All Arts Council, and sponsored by Champlain Valley International, Chevalier Drilling, Dexter Products, O. C. McCuin & Sons, Ray's Extrusion Dies & Tubing, and The Tyler Place. The bonus series presented by the AAC, and sponsored by Fairfax Pharmacy, 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 Highgate Arena and the BFA-Fairfax gym. The community based All Arts Council brings the performing arts to northwestern Vermont.


      The All Arts Council has upcoming exhibits in the Highgate Springs Welcome Center and in the Family Center. The Welcome Center LaborDay exhibit of painting and sculpture includes a feature space for four, three-dimensional artists. We need sculpture, pottery, very small white elephants, and cute little wooden boxes. e-mailAlice Astleford for information.


      The Gate Players present Once Upon a Mattress as part of the Millennium Series at the Opera House at Enosburg Falls. Performances start tonight.
      "'Once Upon a Mattress' is based loosely (very loosely) on the story of the Princess and the Pea," said Sue Nadeau (Princess Winnifred). This show was Carol Burnett's skyrocket to success when she played the Princess in 1959.
      Norm Lavallee (The Minstrel) tells a story that goes like this ...
      Prince Dauntless the Drab wants to get married, but there is no suitable Princess in the entire Kingdom (all the worthy contenders have failed the royalty test).
      Unfortunately, no one else can get married until Dauntless ties the knot
      The rest of the play follows Sir Harry's search and discovery of the somewhat odd Princess Winnifred the Wobegone in the land where the marsh lily grows. Queen Aggravaine really doesn't want her little boy to get married so she concocts an impossible royalty test. There are, of course, plenty of sneaky underhanded extras to make sure she doesn't pass.
      Meanwhile, the mute King Sextimus chases the ladies in waiting, the Jester tries to decipher the royalty test, the Minstrel gets thrown out of the kingdom, Lady Larken tries to run away, Sir Harry takes up with a French girl, Dauntless and Winnifred fall in love, and then there's the matter of a very small pea...

      The Gate Players cast includes Harry-James Benoit as Prince Dauntless, Peggy Durgin as Queen Aggravaine, and Steve Libbey as King Sextimus. Terry Durgin plays the Wizard. Rafael Bish and Arlene Jarvis play Sir Harry and his lady love, Lady Larken. The Jester is Tad Stone. Once Upon a Mattress is directed by Ernie Cabrera. Donna Costes is Musical Director, Mary Cabrera did the extravagant costumes, and Susan Nadeau is choreographer.
      Once Upon a Mattress starts tonight and continues Friday and Saturday at the Opera House at Enosburg Falls; curtain time is 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $5-$9.50 and are available at Swanton Rexall, Spears Pharmacy, and Merchants Bank. Call the Opera House (933-6171) for info.
      Gate Gossip: NAFTA guru and almost-former Gate Player John Streker has now joined Disney as an Import/Export specialist at the Mouse House in Orlando.


      The West Brome Storytellers' Festival on Saturday offers storytelling for kids from age 0 to 150 plus. The Festival will feature Vermont's Ernie Hemingway and the Traveling Storyteller, Caribbean storyteller/poet Bernadette Charles accompanied on African drums by the Cultural Farmers, Gissa Israel, Yves Langlois in both French and English, puppet theater Grandpa Bob and ChÉteau Lac Brome, and many more. Other activities for kids will include a puppet-making workshop and face painting.
      The Storytellers' Festival runs from 10 am to 6 pm at West Brome Park in West Brome, Quebec. Admission is free but a free-will donation will benefit the Children`s Wish Foundation of Canada. Call Caroline Kehne (450-294-3377) or email for more info.
DIRECTIONS FROM HIGHGATE SPRINGS: (Approximately 1 hour driving time from Highgate crossing) Follow I89 to Canadian border (route 89 becomes Quebec Highway 133). Follow Route 133 to Pike River (St-Pierre de Verronne). At Pike River, turn right onto route 202 East (toward Bedford). Follow route 202 East to Cowansville. At Cowansville, turn right onto route 139/104 EAST (toward Knowlton); follow to West Brome. At West Brome, turn right onto route 139 South. Turn right after the Auberge West Brome. West Brome Park is on the right.
DIRECTIONS FROM RICHFORD: Follow Route 101N to Canadian border where it becomes Quebec Highway 139. Follow 139 North past Abercorn and Sutton to West Brome. At the intersection, turn left to West Brome Park.


      Performers' web sites this week include the Stockwell Brothers, Derrik Jordan and 8-0-8-4


      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).
      Thanks to recent misuse of copyright material on the Internet by individuals and archival firms alike, we emphasize that your rights to this article are limited to viewing it and printing it for personal use only. You must receive explicit permission from the All Arts Council and the author before reprinting or redistributing this article in any medium.