ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

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


      A dozen or more major and minor organizations produce fine art exhibits, classical and country concerts, plays, and avant garde events in Franklin County. Some shows are landmark occasions and some are "merely" entertainment. But, despite nearly 45,000 people living within the county lines, all within easy driving time of venues in every town, attendance is down.
      So, why is it so hard to get even 200 people to spend a couple of hours and the price of a movie ticket to see one of the world's ten greatest violin soloists?
      Jaime Laredo will perform in St Albans tonight, but if he sees an empty theater, he will never want to return. If you like having the VSO--and other live performances--in our neck of the woods, you need to come out tonight to tell them so. Otherwise, we may never entice them here again. The Vermont Symphony Orchestra could become the Burlington Symphony Orchestra and all this column will have to cover will be nude dancing.


      The eighth annual Made in Vermont Music Festival comes to the BFA-St Albans Auditorium tonight at 7:30 p.m. as the Vermont Symphony Orchestra presents a program of Vivaldi's Concerto Grosso in D Minor for Two Violins and Cello, Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 4 in D, Wagner's Siegfried Idyll, and the world premiere of Laura Koplewitz' Lake Spirit Journey. VSO Music Director Jaime Laredo has also chosen a piece in honor of the people who died in the September 11 attack.
      "We have a rare treasure and privilege to have Jamie Laredo conduct and perform," said Melissa Ewell, a board member of both the VSO and the AAC. "The violin concertos will be St Albans' only opportunity to hear him in such an intimate setting " Maestro Laredo performs regularly in New York and abroad. He will be joined by Joanna Kurkowicz, violin; John Dunlop, cello, for the Concerto Grosso; he alone will solo in Violin Concerto No. 4 in D.
      The VSO commissioned Brattleboro composer and St Albans native Laura Koplewitz to create Lake Spirit Journey for this series.
      Lake Spirit Journey is an impressionistic lakeside reverie. "I love to walk by the lake," composer Laura Koplewitz said. "Even in the middle of winter, I spend long hours there. I've always been mesmerized by wind and the waves and all the sounds you hear at the lakeside."
      Each of its four sections--Water's Edge, Currents, Light and Clouds, and In the Winds--has a different mood and structure; each relates to a favorite spot at Shelburne Point, where the land, sky, and water come together. Ms. Koplewitz created the textures in her work while listening to the wind blowing across the lake waters at different moments of a day. Despite the metaphor, she encourages listeners to ignore her title and simply to hear her journey across the water.
      Laura Koplewitz was raised on Brown Avenue in St Albans and spent long summer days playing on Lake Champlain. "My mom was a cellist so we had a lot of music in the house," she said. She also came across boxes of 19th Century poetry in her family's garage and recited those poems to an audience of cows and horses to build a love of both words and music. She never considered composing until college. After studying classical guitar for a number of years, she found she wanted a sound palette beyond the range of the guitar itself and wanted to explore a new musical ideas.
      Pursuing a dual Ph.D. track in Music Composition at CUNY and in Narrative Studies at The Union Institute, Ms. Koplewitz has studied composition with Joan Tower and Thea Musgrave, and worked with Tania Leon at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Company. She serves on the faculty of SUNY-Stony Brook and Goddard College.
      Ms. Koplewitz now does piano improv and collaborates with dancer Kathi Datto-Gurney in Southern Vermont. That performance helps her feel closer to the classical musicians of the VSO. "One delightful part of the tour has been that I've had a chance to have wonderful backstage conversations with the musicians," she said. "As a composer I'm getting good advice and pointers about the from the people who play my work.
      "Every night [the piece] has changed a little bit," she said. "I think that's a combination of the performers hearing one another's parts over time and also Jaime Laredo's extraordinary sensitivity as a conductor and as a musician. He brings out parts that I didn't even know I wrote.
      "I think composers have the better deal because we get to write up the ideas but we don't have to go through the agony of performance."
      A composer-member of BMI, Lake Spirit Journey is her first orchestral commission. She has attended each Made in Vermont performance and will be in St Albans tonight.
      The AAC has a special deal for the St Albans concert only. Although general admission concert tickets are $17/adults, $15/seniors, $10/college students and $8/students under 18, simply mention the All Arts Council to get a free ticket for every one you buy. Tickets are available at Better Planet Books and at the door tonight.
      The Made in Vermont concert in St. Albans is sponsored by A. N. Deringer, the Northwestern Medical Center, and the 251 Club..


      The AAC/WWSR Feature Artist Showcase will spotlight songs on the eagerly awaited CD, From the Banks of the Mighty Missisquoi, tomorrow morning, October 5. The Feature Artist Showcase is broadcast on Fridays at 8:15 a.m. during Comment on WWSR-1420AM, when there is a new release by Franklin County artists.
      Produced and performed by Mike Kelley and Ray Bushey, From the Banks of the Mighty Missisquoi is predominantly contemporary country with a little twist of Cajun bayou, some jazz, blues, and a little speakeasy. It is dedicated to the late Josh Cote who can be heard on Montgomery Blues.
      "We laid down all the basic tracks and then tracked in each of the other guys," Ray said. "Every musician came in and hit the mark on the first take. It was a joy." The album was recorded in Ray's home studio, and mastered by Andre Maquera at West Street Digital. It features Kevin Agosti, Eric Bushey, Jason Corbiere, Josh Cote, Adam Frehm, Bill Gaston, Joe Moore, Jack Phipps, Nobby Reed, Neil Rossi, and Gordon Stone. It is available at Rail City Market, Kept Writer, the Music Shop, Pop Galaxy Zero in St Albans.


      The Enosburg Town Band will perform a benefit concert for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund on Saturday at the Opera House at Enosburg Falls. The band encourages families with children to come so the event will be held at 7:30 -8:30 p.m. The band has hundred years of experience with the patriotic songs they will feature: the Star Spangled Banner, the Battle Hymn of the Republic and the Armed Forces Salute.
      Admission is by donation. Call 933-6171 or Click here for more info.


      Charley's Aunt, the Fairfax Community Theater Company fall show, debuts next Thursday in nearby Westford. This classic comedy follows two young men as they desperately woo the young ladies they love. The play runs October 11-13 at the Westford Brick Meeting House. Call Tom Townsend (849-2923) or e-mail for more info.


      The online Arts Journal digest offers the latest developments in dance, media, music, publishing, theater, and the visual arts by linking to articles in top newspapers and magazines. The site's editors also publish their perspectives on the arts and culture scenes in the Arts Watch section.


      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.


AAC dancing logo

All Arts Council of Franklin County

Support Free Speech on the Internet
Dick Harper, Chair
P.O. Box 1
Highgate Springs, VT 05460
email us

Go to [ Dick Harper | All Arts Index | ArtBits Archive ]

      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.