ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 6 * * All Arts News On the Web * * May 24 , 2002


      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.

      Stop in for the AAC CoffeeHouses at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. These gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, "show-and-tell" and workshops. We come together on the second Wednesday for a booked musical performance and an art exhibit at Simple Pleasures in St Albans. On the fourth Wednesday come to the Kept Writer in St Albans for acoustic Open Mike Night featuring music, readings, and more from the best new artists in Vermont.


      "In addition to the shows, parade, and dairy exhibits, we will have continuous music all weekend," said Enosburg Lions President Bob May. The 45th annual Vermont Dairy Festival runs next weekend, May 31 through June 3, in downtown Enosburg Falls.
      The Dairy Festival celebrates Milk ... the Moo-ving Drink with plenty of family events and Moo-ving Moo-sic. The Burg will be jam-packed with the Dairy Scholarship Pageant, the popular bathtub races, cow plop bingo, and pedal pulls, agricultural displays, a dairy baking contest, a fabulous midway, a parade, and the "finest horse pull in the East."
      Food concessions will cover Lincoln Park with "fair" food for a great cause. (The food is great, but the Dairy Festival is, after all, a fair.) "This is our primary fund raiser," said Bob May of the activity that help the Lions continue community service activities such as international eye and hearing care, plus local disaster relief.
      The AAC has created a statewide showcase of popular groups from across New England. Dairy Festival entertainers will perform on both the Lincoln Park bandstand and a Main Street stage.
      The 20th annual True Value Country Showdown will anchor the non-stop entertainment. The winner of this first step in the nation's largest country music talent search goes on to the State Finals. Last year's winner Candace Myers will return to compete this year. National winners include current stars Martina McBride and John Michael Montgomery.
      The competition lineup includes Scott Wright and the Maine-ly Country Band is the host band and will perform Saturday evening as well.
      "I think we have the best group of talent we've ever had," organizer Matt Henry said.
      The True Value Country Showdown is sponsored and operated by Matt Henry and WLFE-102.3 FM. Over 400 radio stations stage the local competitions for the nation's largest country talent search.
      Friday evening features the EFHS Jazz Band, the popular local rock 'n' roll of Silverback, and Clint Holmes.
      Saturday starts with the Parade at 10:30 and the famed Fernald Lumber Yankee Hitch Show, followed by the Marching Band competition, the True Value Country Showdown, the AAC/Kept Writer medley of performers, a two-set Fiddling Variety Show, three sets of country music with Scott Wright, and the fireworks.
      Sunday features Mark and Donna Shelton of WOW!, the Fernald Lumber Yankee Hitch Show, Banjo Dan and the Midnight Plowboys playing Vermont's favorite bluegrass, and award winning hypnotist Michael Blaine.
      The EFHS Jazz Band (on the Band Stand) is a superb jazz band playing the classics to modern masters.
      Clint Holmes has recently returned to the area after several years playing in Nashville. He will play rock 'n' roll, some Johnny Cash, and even some old time country on the Main Street Stage.
      Silverback headlines Friday night in their debut outdoor concert with a broad spectrum of hits and original, funky tunes on the Band Stand. "Electric" Ben Weed, lead guitar, Dan "Silverback" Marcotte, bass, "Crazy Mike" Stebbins, vocals and trombone, "6 foot 2" Sarah Willey, vocals, and Chad "Deckstripe" Sandvil, drums bring gutsy vocals, blaring trombone, and jammin' guitar riffs to the music of Rolling Stones and Lynyrd Skynyrd to Tracy Chapman and Phish.
      Next week, I will cover Saturday's continuous country music and the Sunday Family Day lineup.


      Benoit Bourque and the racy Canadian trio Matapat bring the popular French Canadian and folk music, song, and dance to Missisquoi Valley Union H.S. on Tuesday and Wednesday, thanks to a FNWSU mini-grant and the efforts of French teacher Michele Choiniere. Matapat is Canadian Juno Award nominees Simon LePage, Gaston Berard, and step-dancer Benoit Bourque. Their performance includes lively, world class jigs, red-hot reels, and passionate ballads.
      This is the traditional music of Michele's grandparents, music carried from kitchens in Quebec to kitchens in Vermont. Benoit will offer workshops for middle school and high school French students on Tuesday; on Wednesday, the entire Matapat troupe will perform two concerts for French classes.


FRANKLIN--The Boonys at Lake Carmi feature The Hubcats, Saturday evening starting at 7 p.m. Fred Brauer and Stewart Foster play acoustic guitar and mandolin in coffee houses and concerts around Vermont. Their repertoire includes the songs of James Taylor, Lyle Lovett, and Jimmy Buffet.

FAIRFAX MUSIC SESSION--Mark Sustic leads acoustic instruments, and (mostly) traditional music at 1:30pm-4pm on Saturday at the Foothills Bakery. There will be musicians and singers playing fiddle, banjo, guitar, harmonica, and other non-amplified instruments.


      It's not exactly MTV, it's not exactly a movie, but it's fun.
      Visitors to the Get Music Videolab can build a music video from two-minute excerpts of more than 15 songs including the rap-metal group Papa Roach Last Resort and upcoming the Beach Boys' Good Vibrations. You pick the tune and compile snippets of graphics and short animated clips from the online photo album or from your own snapshots. The online menagerie includes Papa Roach, a flock of Parisian blackbirds, and an unnamed, red-plumed critter. The Videolab software helps you assemble the finished product.
      This democratization of multimedia production may not be what you expect, but it does make a unique piece of media.


      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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      This article was originally published in the St Albans Messenger and other traditional print media. It is Copyright © 2001 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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