ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 5 * * All Arts News On the Web * * November 1, 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.


      In 1987, Congress declared jazz to be "a rare and valuable national treasure to which we should devote our attention, support and resources."
      The St Albans Messenger presents the Jazz Ambassadors of the United States Army Band on Monday evening in the St Albans Town Educational Center.
      The United States Army's premier touring 19-member big band, the Jazz Ambassadors entertain audiences of all types and musical interests. Monday's concert will includes big band swing, bebop, Latin, contemporary jazz, standards, popular tunes, dixieland, vocals, and patriotic selections.
      This big band has appeared in all fifty states, Canada, Mexico, Japan, India, and throughout Europe. Recordings of the United States Continental Army Band are available free for schools, public libraries, and broadcasters. Their website includes streaming audio of many of their recordings.
      The 7:30 p.m. concert is free, but seating is limited and tickets are required. Tickets are available only at the St Albans Messenger.


      I saw a snowflake in Enosburg on Saturday. Since it was dressed as a goblin, it may be that I was too close to the Haunted House, but that experience reminds us that winter is a good time to curl up next to the fire with a good book.
      "Discussing a book with other people enriches the whole experience," said Richford librarian Annette Goyne. "I've picked up things that maybe somebody else hasn't and in one book I totally missed several plot elements."
      The Vermont Center for the Book loan program has transferred to the Vermont Council on the Humanities. Their programs are very good, but are costly for smaller libraries.
      Book discussion groups are popular at several Franklin and Grand Isle County libraries as well as in private homes around the area. Scholars lead some groups, others prefer a less formal approach. Most groups have chosen to have no leader, no dues, and no agenda. They rely on their own members to research the author or the time period covered by each book; the Internet has proven a valuable resource for that research. The selected books are usually available at local libraries.
      "I borrow books from other libraries that have had book discussions and have bought multiple copies of books," Ms. Goyne said.
      Finding a dozen or more copies of a book can be a problem. If you have books that might make interesting book discussion resources, donate them to the local public library. Don't forget to mention that to the librarian so your donation won't end up on the book sale shelf.
      The Franklin-Grand Isle libraries are assembling a spreadsheet of libraries with multiple copies of books so they can borrow from each other "Any time I get donations of a good book discussion book," Ms. Goyne said, "I save it and add it to the list."
      "We read every three weeks around the calendar," said Alburg librarian MaryBelle Singer. On November 20, they will discuss My Brilliant Career, a riotous first novel-coming of age story by Miles Franklin. Their Book/Film group also meets weekly in St Albans for the St Albans Library series. Call the library (796-6077) for more info.
      Amy Caldwell leads a Fairfield book discussion group that meets in members' homes. "The St Albans librarians are in our club," she said. "We try to mix contemporary fiction and classics." Their book this month is The Map of Love, a massive family saga of modern Egypt by Ahdaf Soueif. They select books that have won significant literary recognition, such as the Pulitzer Prize and they read at least two books by Vermont authors each year. "We also have a fun meeting in the summer, when we read a book about food and cook all the recipes." e-mail us for more info on this group.
      Georgia meets the first Monday of the month (except this month's meeting is November 14) to discuss a book voted on by the group. Their choice this month is West With the Night, the poetic prose autobiography of Beryl Markham. "Sometimes we go out for field trips to book stores, movies, author meetings, and out to dinner. It's a very welcoming group," said librarian Sue Webster. They have met for four years and average 12-15 members. Call the library (524-4643) for more info.
      The Montgomery Town Library group is reading the Deptford Trilogy by Canadian author Robertson Davies with the guidance of a VCH speaker. They will discuss World of Wonders, the third book in the series, and perhaps who killed Boy Staunton on Monday, November 8. The leader has been articulate, knowledgeable, and well versed in Robertson Davies. Call the library (326-3113) for more info.
      The informal discussion group at the A.A. Brown Library in Richford meets the second Tuesday of each month. They will discuss Plainsong, a vintage contemporary novel by Kent Haruf on November 13 and will take December off, not only to allow time for the holidays but also to give members time to read Ahab's Wife, the January selection. Both books are available at the library. Call 848-3313 for more info.
      The St Albans Free Public Library is in the middle of the Film Festival at the Welden Theater now. This annual event runs intriguing and unusual feature films on Monday nights each fall. On November 5, they present "Divided We Fall," a comedy-drama about Wartime loyalties during the Nazi occupation. In Czech with English subtitles. On November 12 The film is the R-rated Widow of St Pierre a story based on the actual court records of a murder and set on an isolated Island off the coat of Newfoundland. In French with English subtitles. Admission is $4 with any valid library card. Films are shown on Mondays at 7 p.m.
      Joy Perrino started a book discussion group in her home a year ago, doing one book on the last Friday of every month. This year, they have read Little House in the Big Woods, part of the collection of Laura's Early Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder, chosen selections on the Salem Witch Trials, and Into Thin Air, a first hand account of the Mount Everest disaster by survivor Jon Krakauer. "In December, we will have a choice of favorite children's books and a book swap for the meeting," Ms. Perrino said. Upcoming book is a section of 18th Century female authors. The 8-10 members have found the group through word of mouth at the library. e-mail us for more info on this group.
      Bakersfield and Highgate also have regular book groups and other groups meet informally. Call your friends together or check with your local librarian for info.

      The Swanton Free Public Library is changing its hours.
      Monday-Tuesday 2-8 p.m.
      Wednesday-Thursday 10-6p.m.
      Friday 10-3 p.m.
      Saturday 10-1 p.m.

      "We've had quite a few patrons asking for earlier hours," librarian Marilyn Barny said "Monday and Tuesday are our busiest evenings, so we are stying open late those days."


HIGHGATE--The Highgate Volunteer Fireman's Ham Dinner features art from Highgate Elementary and MVU students on Saturday. The event has moved to a new location at the St Louis Church.

JEFFERSONVILLE--Cambridge CoffeeHouse presents the Hub Cats in an evening of contemporary folk music, smooth vocals, and light humor at the Cambridge CoffeeHouse at Dinner's Dunn at the Windridge Bakery on Wednesday, November 7, 7-9 p.m.
      The Cambridge Arts Council and IBM sponsor the CoffeeHouse on the first and third Wednesday of each month. Admission is free but donations are appreciated. e-mail for info.

RICHFORD--The Flowing River of Life church presents a spiritual music revival tomorrow evening, 15 River Street, at 7 p.m.

FAIRFAX--Regular Music Session with acoustic instrumentalists playing traditional songs at the Foothills Bakery on Saturday, 1-4:30 p.m. Admission is free by donation.


      Students in grades 10-12 may submit a group of three poems or a story of less than 1500 words for the Fiction/Poetry Competition and/or an original, unproduced, one-act play for the Playwrights Competition in the Bennington College Young Writers Competition. Entries will be judged by Bennington faculty and students. The deadline is December 1.
      20002001 Winners share their entries 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).
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