ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 5 * * All Arts News On the Web * * November 21, 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.


      With fear of terrorism interrupting our regular bickering, it has recently been hard to believe that we have a lot to be thankful for in Franklin County. But we do.
      Franklin County firefighters saving a barn, Franklin County donors giving cash at the local United Way and life at the blood bank, Franklin County musicians giving concerts, Franklin County artists portraying the bad and the good, Franklin County neighbors holding candles on their porches.
      Today, in our moments of trepidation and hours of commonplace, I am thankful that we have kept right on doing what we do best.


      "I like to play anything," said Fairfax cellist Bonnie Klimowski. "Mostly I play classical because that's what I know how to do the best and I get the most opportunity to do, but I'm open to many styles."
      Ms. Klimowski is a member of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra and the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, plays gigs and weddings with several other ensembles, and tours schools and does a very "hands on show" with the VSO string trio Fiddlesticks. "One of my favorite gigs has been doing folk music," she said. She is featured as a back up cello on Jon Gailmor's CDs. Dirt and Generations.
      Classical music in Vermont may be the least likely way to succeed financially, but she and her husband, clarinetist Steven Klimowski, work full time in the arts by working at many jobs. We will talk with Mr. Klimowski next week.
      Both Klimowskis came here from full time orchestra jobs with the State Orchestra of Mexico City in Toluca. "It was like any other job where you went to work every day," she said about rehearsing for three hours per day and playing weekly three concerts plus runouts and other events. They had a more varied repertoire than in the Vermont scene. "There was a different overture, a different concerto, a different symphony every week. In your spare time maybe you're working on something for yourself, sonatas or whatever, but there is very little time or energy for that."
      With a population of about 600,000, Vermont supports a single, part time orchestra, some ensemble work around the state, and a few performances by traveling companies. The greater Mexico City area, with its population of over 10 million supports the professional University of Mexico Orchestra, the Federal District Orchestra of Mexico City, as well as a summer orchestra and the State Orchestra.
      Ms. Klimowski uses a handmade cello made by Swiss carver Emmanuel Gradoux-Mattof New York City. "I chose it because it was a good deal," she said.
      Every cello is different. Handmade instruments offer the maker's skill and the higher quality wood he can pick. "It's like a fine wine," she said. "Some of it has to do with the quality of the grapes and what kind of year they have had, and how well it is put together and aged. Some of it has to do with the intuitive sense of the maker and how his skill in what makes something very resonant." The glue that binds her cello is formulated to come apart. "It's very important to be able to work on the inside, so instrument makers use a glue that comes apart without tearing the wood."
      Her cello sounds better all the time.
      Cellist Norman Fischer, then of Norwich and with whom she worked for five years, also had a tremendous impact. She was already an experienced, professional player.
      "It's not just that you want to get better technically," she said. "You want to learn how to approach music better, more easily, or differently than you already do. And it's wonderful to have someone you trust and respect sitting on the outside to make comments, saying 'you may not be aware of it but this is happening here.'
      "You are beyond having to sit down and learn the notes. You have to sit down and learn what you can get out of the notes. Someone else's insight challenging your own."
      Ms. Klimowski earned a music education degree at UVM and her Masters in Solo Performance at Kent State University in Ohio. "My dad was a baritone horn player and my first instrument was a valve trombone," she said. "I switched because my older sister helped me to notice the little red circle around my mouth and she made me feel a little self conscious." When her father brought home a beautiful, lady-sized ("like a 7/8 scale") cello, the twelve year old switched. That first cello deserves mention because it came from a fine cellist and sheep farmer in her Waitsfield home town named Werner Von Trapp.
      "Now the cello leaves funny little red marks on my knees."


      The exceptional crafts and fine arts season continues this Saturday with a new group of fine artists and artisans from around the area. There are handmade gifts for Christmas and for your home. Look for crafts, photographs, pottery, quilts, plants, home-baked goodies, and at least one fudge table.
FRANKLIN--A Holiday Craft Show at Franklin Central School and a Christmas Bazaar in the FELCO room of the Franklin Homestead, 10-4. These shows benefit the 6th grade class and the Historical Society, respectively.
RICHFORD-All Saints Church Bazaar at Dorion Hall, 10-3 p.m.
SWANTON--The Church of the Nativity Christmas Craft Fair, 10-4 on both Saturday and Sunday.


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.

FRANKLIN--The Boonys Pub and Restaurant presents Silverback in a rock & roll night Saturday at 9 p.m. $5 Cover charge at the door.
      "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 the Rolling Stones and Lynyrd Skynyrd to Tracy Chapman and Phish.


26th INTERNATIONAL PLAYWRITING COMPETITION (November 30)--This University College Scarborough, UK, contest is open to all full- or part-time students world-wide. Prize of 400 pounds sterling, production, ancillary prizes. Click here OR e-mail
CHILDREN'S BOOK COMPETITION (December 1)--Contest for aspiring authors of children's books. Best fiction manuscript appropriate for readers aged 8-11 written by an unpublished author. Story should have universal appeal, yet serve to deepen the understanding of Judaism and reveal positive aspects of Jewish life. $1000 award. Click here or e-mail
IMMEDIA 2002 (December 15)--The senses well known annual exhibition of digital and electronic art. Works created with or in response to digital and electronic media are welcomed. Submissions may include, but are not limited to, installation, music, performance, dance, video and animation, interactive graphics, flat work, and web design. Grants are available. Click here or e-mail
FLORIDA OUTDOOR SCULPTURE COMPETITION (January 31)--This joint project of the Polk Museum of Art and the City of Lakeland is open to sculptors in North America. 10 works will be accepted and will receive transportation expenses. $3,000 Best of Show award. Deadline is 31, 2002. Entry fee. All works must be able to be anchored to concrete and maintenance free for the duration of the exhibit. e-mail for info.
NEW ORLEANS ART ASSOCIATION 22nd NATIONAL SHOW (December 31)--Juried show with over $3000 in prizes. Anyone with a US address is eligible. Entry fee. Send an SASE to NOAA/AD, Box 7764, Metairie LA 70010-7764
INTERPRETING LANDSCAPE (December 31)--All two-dimensional work including photography for a juried show at the Fulton Street Gallery in Troy NY. Entry Fee. Click here or e-mail for prospectus.


      Thanksgiving on the Net, a Celebration of America's First Thanksgiving, offers fun holiday activities for the entire family. The site has stories of the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving, a holiday puzzle to play, and holiday pictures for the kids to print and color.
      Webshots, an excite site, has a free gallery of Thanksgiving screen savers, photos, and computer backgrounds.
      Thanksgiving Home offers a collection of midi files music that actually download fairly quickly from Abide with Me to Your Name.


      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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