ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 5 * * All Arts News On the Web * * August 16, 2001


      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 first and third Thursday 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.


      Concert goers have a tough choice as the All Arts Council moves the Summer Sounds events 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 maybe an umbrella as you settle in to enjoy outdoor family music and festivities.
      Don't for get to look for Jewel (she might show up at either concert).

HIGHGATE--The Highgate Monument may get tumbled Sunday evening as Ray's Extrusion Dies and Tubing presents the Enosburg Town Band in the All Arts Council's premiere outdoor concerts series at 7 p.m. in Highgate.
      The Town Band play list has tunes everyone enjoys. Highgate will hear marches, show tunes, and some special symphonic works from volunteer musicians who range in age from 11 to 70-plus. Director Alisa Martin includes serious concert band work as well as old pops tunes like "A Bicycle Built for Two."
      "It's a diverse group of people," said director Alisa Martin. The Enosburg Town Band features well known regular members including Highgate's own Norm Lavallee as well as AAC "sound guy" Dave Stetson on percussion.
      Just before the concert, stop by for Dessert in the Park at the Methodist Church social starting at 6:30 p.m. The social hour is a chance to visit with friends, think about going back to college, and eat some delicious desserts.

FAIRFAX--Stuff-It Storage and Union Bank present a folkie double header on the lawn of the historic Fairfax Baptist Building on Main Street on Sunday evening as popular folk singer Jim LaClair opens for Vermont Singer/songwriter Josh Brooks in the AAC Summer Sounds concert at 7 p.m.
      Singer and composer Josh Brooks is a Panton, Vermont, native who blends country and folk music with a strong touch of Vermont story telling. Josh has opened for Ellis Hall at the Burlington Coffee House, for Diane Zeigler in Summer Sounds, played gigs at The Boonys in Franklin, and was accepted for the Emerging Songwriters Showcase of the Flying Under the Radar Series in Bellows Falls. His new seven-song cassette is getting very positive reviews. His repertoire includes John Prine and Johnny Cash and he will do mostly original material in Fairfax.
      Joining Josh in the Fairfax concert will be the 60s refugee and folk and liturgical music singer Jim LaClair of Richford. Jim's initiation to music came in the folk boom of the mid-60s when he was heavily influenced by Joan Baez and Gordon Lightfoot and by his music hero, Bob Dylan; he stopped performing in the folk bust of the 80s.
      Josh brought Jim back into performing when they worked a show at the Somerset in Enosburg that rekindled his inspiration to play. Jim has played the AAC CoffeeHouse as well as several gigs like this one. We can expect some rousing traditional duets from these two performers.
      Hosted by the Fairfax Bill Koch League and the Fairfax Recreation Path Committee, the Summer Sounds social starts at 6:30 p.m., while the performers tune up, and continues through the concert.

      The Summer Sounds concerts in Highgate are presented by the Town of Highgate, and the All Arts Council, and sponsored by Chevalier Drilling, Dexter Products, The Highgate Manor, O. C. McCuin & Sons, Ray's Extrusion Dies & Tubing, and The Tyler Place. The bonus series is presented by the Town of Fairfax and the AAC, and sponsored by the Franklin business community, Stuff-It Storage and Union Bank in Fairfax, and by a select group of Richford businesses.
      The rain sites are the Highgate United Methodist Church and the Baptist Church in Fairfax. The community based All Arts Council brings the performing arts to northwestern Vermont.


      The Red Barn Studio in Montgomery is now open every day by appointment or chance. This new art gallery exhibits the works of four local artist in a rustic barn. There are original paintings, stained glass, photography, and prints; they have a sculpture garden coming soon. The Red Barn features the nature photography of Pam Fischer, stained glass of Karen Scheffler, oil landscapes by Henry Reilly, and the watercolor paintings and prints of AAC member and workshop leader Michael Domina.
      The Red Barn Studio is behind Methodist Church at 32 Fuller Bridge Road. Call 326.4672 for info or an appointment. It will remain open through November.


FAIRFAX--There will be acoustic instruments, and (mostly) traditional music at 1:30pm-4pm on Saturday at the Foothills Bakery. This ongoing series features concert time, jam session, and good talk.

MONTGOMERY--The Concerts By the Common series presents the Craftsbury Chamber Players at Pratt Hall on Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12.50/adults, $7.50/students and are available at Lutz' Automotive. Call 802-326-4258 for info.


      The All Arts Council is a Vermont non-profit corporation and a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Our Board met last week to welcome new directors and to begin strategic planning for the future. The new Board Members are Dr. Deogracias Esguerra, Kate Kinney, Jon Scott, and Sue Tessier.
      The All Arts Council has committed to two major art shows, plus Summer Sounds, the Maple Festival, the Dairy Festival, and the Peace Partners Initiative. That takes a fair dinkum bit of behind the scenes organizing, not to mention significant fund raising. Although we have nearly 400 people in our database, we need to bring those arts enthusiasts in the door as members.
      The Board is considering recruiting an Executive Director, looking at a more effective membership drive, and working on marketing the All Arts Council itself.


      Speaking of marketing, the All Arts site has a new look and a vast amount of information about the Franklin County art scene. Check out everything from our future plans, to the Summer Sounds schedule, to the albums we have featured on WWSR/WLFE, to a huge page of links. Some of them even work. You can join online (join-aac.htm) or take our community survey. If you dig deeply enough, you'll even find a morgue. All those page names (and many more) go to work right here.


      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).
      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.