ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 4 * * All Arts News On the Web * * October 5, 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.


      Singer Linda Bruyette will perform at the monthly All Arts CoffeeHouse at Simple Pleasures Cafe tonight at 7 p.m. The watercolor paintings of AAC board member Joy Mashtare will be on exhibit. The artwork will remain at Simple Pleasures through October 31.
      The All Arts Council sponsors the CoffeeHouse with music, networking time, and "show-and-tell" at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month. Admission is always free, but donations are appreciated.
      The paintings of Connie Clay-Bickel are featured this month at the Highgate Springs Welcome Center, immediately south of the U.S.-Canadian border crossing.


      The St Albans Messenger, radio stations WWSR/WLFE, and the All Arts Council invite you to the Vermont Youth Orchestra presentation of Romeo and Juliet at Missisquoi Valley Union H.S. on Saturday evening. Music Director Troy Peters will conduct this early edition of the annual All Arts Council and VYO orchestra series. It is the final performance in our three concert "Symphony Sandwich."
      VYO soloists Brian Lindgren, viola, and Jason Whitcomb, trumpet, will appear with 83 of Vermont's best young musicians performing compositions inspired by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet by Leonard Bernstein, Alexander Arutiunian, William Walton, Sergei Prokofiev, and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The MVU Theater is the best acoustic space in Vermont.
      Jason Whitcomb is featured in the Arutiunian Trumpet Concerto. Jason has played principal trumpet with the Vermont All State and the New England Music Festival Bands. A senior, he is a member of the school band and jazz ensemble at South Burlington H.S. He studies trumpet privately with David Brubaker and will pursue a music degree after graduation.
      Brian Lindgren plays the first movement of the Viola Concerto by Walton. Brian is the principal violist of the VYO and of three other orchestras in his hometown of Plattsburgh. For the past three summers he has attended the ENCORE School for Strings and the New York State Summer School of the Arts School of Orchestral Studies He studies viola privately with Elizabeth Gorevic and plans to continue his studies in college.
      Bernstein's West Side Story was originally planned as East Side Story, a star-crossed romance between Jewish boy and an Italian Catholic girl. A six year delay changed the relevancy; the story set a native-born Polish boy and a newly emigrated Puerto Rican girl against the clashing street gangs on New York's West side. Bernstein offered the job to then-unknown lyricist named Stephen Sondheim. West Side Story remains true to its Shakespearean model.
      Three Movements from Romeo and Juliet, a 1934 ballet by Prokofiev, have a very strong structure based on the original libretto. Because the Kirov Theater backed out and Bolshoi declared Romeo and Juliet impossible, the Prokofiev score was first performed in Brno, Czechoslovakia, in 1938. Prokofiev also preserved the music in three orchestral suites and ten piano pieces.
      The Fantasy Overture to Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet is the most famous musical version of the tale, although it again does not follow the plot (as the Prokofiev ballet does in detail). Instead, Tchaikovsky gives us a solemn theme, the feud, and the lovers' rush with extravagantly welling strings and oscillating horn-call.
      Music Director and acclaimed composer Troy Peters has led the orchestra for over six years. A native of Scotland and graduate of the Curtis School of music, Troy is also a regular guest conductor with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Vermont Philharmonic, Vermont Opera Theater, and the Bach Wind Philharmonic as well as a popular judge for the True Value Country Showdown.
      Seven of the musicians are from Franklin County: Reuben Baris, horn, East Fairfield; Elisabeth Lauffer, violin, East Berkshire; Audrey Leduc, trumpet, St Albans; Nicole Mongeon, tuba, Fairfax; Sayer Palmer, viola, St Albans; Eva Shell flutist, St Albans; and Rebecca Snyder, violin, Georgia.
      The Vermont Youth Orchestra is made up of students, volunteers, parents, artists, teachers, and administrators. The Orchestra offers an integrated program of musical education for student musicians.
      Thanks to the generosity of Swanton House of Pizza, Hannafords, and Grand Union, the All Arts Council will host a sit down pizza dinner for the orchestra before the concert and an intermission reception for all. The VYO series is presented by Langrock Sperry & Wool, LLP.
      The concert on Saturday at 7:30 will benefit youth programs run by the VYOA. General admission is $5, seniors (60+), students, and small children are FREE. Advance tickets are available at Jukebox CDs and Tapes in St Albans, Spears Pharmacy in Enosburg Falls, and Swanton Rexall in Swanton. E-mail the All Arts Council for more info.


      The Montgomery Recreation Center presents the annual Montgomery Variety Show, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Montgomery Grange.
      At press time, the program included the Swedish Chef, the Sorrell Ballet ("mature women dancing in boots"), crowd pleaser Lindsey Larivee, and Rick Ross from WJAY with drawings and commentary from the whole year. Bobby Anderson is the wonderful MC and will have some secret skits. "It's always a wildly eclectic show," said Peg Doheny, especially with a pit band of world famous local musicians.
      "Adult tickets have been raised to a whopping $5," Peg said, and kids under 16 are $2. Friday only is Senior night for only $3. The show is an annual benefit for the Montgomery Recreation Center. Call 933-8561 or 326-4223 for info.
      Following a successful summer art auction, the Rec Center is also selling raffle tickets for watercolor paintings by Cheyenne Schutt and Michael Domina. Raffle tickets are only $5. The paintings will be on display at the Variety Show.


      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls presents Two Chord Jones on Friday at 8 PM. This five piece, acoustic string band plays an energetic and delightful mix of traditional bluegrass plus their own classic original material.
      Bill Gaston of Enosburg, banjo, John Henry Drake on bass, Neil Rossi, fiddle, Mark Struhsacker, guitar, and Pete Langdell playing one of his world famous hand made Rigel mandolins, deliver the clean harmonies and clear instrumentals of the bluegrass music from the thirties to fifties. The program includes "heart" songs, duets, a capella gospel music, and pieces by the Stanley Brothers, Flatt and Scruggs, and Bill Monroe.
      Tickets are $9, seniors and students $7.50 and children $5. Advance tickets are on sale at Merchants Bank, Spears Pharmacy, and Swanton Rexall. Call 933-6171 for more info.


ST ALBANS--Jenni Johnson lights up the City tonight 10/5 at Chow Bella! 7-9:30 (reservations are suggested at 524-1405)

BURLINGTON--The Flynn Fandango, a free Grand Re-Opening of the Flynn Theatre offers fun-filled tours of the new spaces, special activities, educational workshops, performances in the new black box theater and on the main stage, and more. It's free and happens on Saturday from 11:30 - 5pm.
      The Flynn has been a major partner in the ongoing St Albans CAN! community performance series.


      Today, National Poetry Day in England is seven years old. This year's theme is fresh voices; people are "celebrating the most sparkling new poets, as well as taking a fresh look at and listen to old favorites."
      Poet Laureate Andrew Motion will grace the Radio 4. In a Guinness World Record attempt, thirty schools will simultaneously perform a single poem in different locations throughout England. 75 bookshops are promoting twenty titles from ten poets. Businesses will host poets in lifts, walking individual floors, and in team meetings. Poems on the Underground will go on display in the Tube. A dozen poets and film makers made a series of new one minute poetry films.


      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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