ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 6 * * All Arts News On the Web * * January 31, 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.


      The All Arts Council Concert for Grumpy Grownups series with the Vermont Youth Orchestra Winter Concert under the direction of Troy Peters will not be held Friday evening.
      "Unfortunately, many of the musicians are travelling from areas of the state where the roads are still unsafe," said Mr. Peters.
      The VYO concert will feature VYO soloists Amy Robinson and Maria Schwartz performing Max Bruch's First Concerto and Francois Borne's Carmen Fantasy plus the world premiere of A Momentary Opening by Brookfield, Vermont, composer Erik Nielsen. Also on the program are Charles Ives' Variations on America and Johannes Brahms' Variations on a Theme by Haydn.
      Flutist Maria Schwartz and her twin sister, clarinetist Leah Schwartz, tied for second place in the All States scholarship for woodwinds. The friendly competition "keeps us on our toes," Maria said.
      "We started in third grade with band instruments," she said. Maria and Leah's father Paul was quite musical in his own youth and has been extremely supportive and excited about their musical growth. Although Paul died two years ago, his spirit has inspired both girls.
      Maria Schwartz solos in Francois Borne's flamboyant Carmen Fantasy in Friday's concert.
      Georges Bizet's Carmen has become the most frequently performed opera in the world. It has spawned two orchestral suites, a ballet, and even an ice-skating ballet. Carmen, the doomed female counterpart of Don Juan, is an amoral and strong-willed heroine with some of the most memorable of operatic music.
      A "Fantasy" is expected to be improvisational with little or no formal structure. Ms. Schwartz' flute in this Fantasy becomes the operatic soloist. She will begin with an improvised fluttering of a bird (Carmen sings that "love is like a bird that flies when you try to catch it") and the menacing Fate Motive, the omen of death that repeats throughout the opera. The Fantasy includes the Habanera, Les Dragons d'Alcala, and closes with the Toreador song.
      "Most flutists hate it, because it is pretty showy and there is no place to breathe," she said."I picked it because it is a full orchestra piece. It's an exciting experience to lead instead of having to follow Mr. Peters."
      Ms. Schwartz studied at the National Symphony Orchestra Institute last year in Washington, DC, and has taken a master class with Louis Moyse. She toured with the VSO under the direction of Troy Peters. She studies with Berta Frank and Stacey Brubaker and is a senior at CVUHS. She also teaches private students with Berta Frank. She will study flute performance in college. Crane School has accepted her and her auditions for Eastman School and Hart School of Music will be later this spring.
      Leah and Maria both do ballet as exercise and sport. Although they share many of the same interests, "we do not dress alike."
      Amy Robinson played flute in middle school and sang in the Essex Madrigal choir for four years. A senior at Essex HS, she is now focused on violin which she has played since she was three years old. She solos with Max Bruch's Violin Concerto in Friday's concert.
      "My older brothers took violin lessons," she said. "I would sit and listen at their lessons and bug their teacher to let me play and to teach me."
      At age 4 as a Suzuki student, she played for Prince Edward in Canada. Ms. Robinson also won first place in the Enosburg Talent Show Junior Division four years ago and took second place in the Senior Division last year. She travels to Montreal every Sunday for private lessons with Tom Williams, Associate Professor of Violin at McGill.
      Prolific composer Max Bruch wrote the First Violin Concerto in 1868. It immediately became the only piece demanded by the public and violinists alike. Ms. Robinson will begin the concerto with a series of quiet exchanges with the orchestra. The score calls for her violin to be at first timid and then to grow fearless in a tense clash with the timpani and tremolando strings. She will alternate between a sweet, relaxed theme and a tense and restless rhythmic motif. Bruch closes the concerto with a Hungarian-style Allegro. Look for Ms. Robinson's vocal knowledge in the way she changes tone quality and distorts the rhythm of the phrasing.
      "It is an audition piece which I love," she said. She turned down suggestions of a Mozart concerto. "Mozart is no comparison." The Bruch "is very emotional and a has lot of energy. It shows a lot of my character. It's also very special, because my mom, when she was my age, would listen to records of it. It was her favorite piece of music at the time."
      Ms. Robinson plans to major in violin performance and has applied to McGill University, Toronto University, and the Glenn Gould Professional School of Music at the Royal Conservatory. Her auditions are in February. She is also a member of the Climbing Club, runs cross country, and plans to compete in the Burlington City Marathon in May.
      For the record, both soloists have cats. Tigger (Ms. Schwartz) "is mean to my friends." Ella (Ms. Robinson) is named for Ella Fitzgerald. "We have a dog but I don't really like her," Ms. Robinson said.
      Music Director and acclaimed composer Troy Peters has lead the orchestra for more than eight years. A native of Scotland and graduate of the Curtis School of music, Mr. Peters is also a regular guest conductor with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Vermont Philharmonic, the Vermont Opera Theater, and the Bach Wind Philharmonic as well as a popular judge for the True Value Country Showdown.
      The MVUHS Art department winter show will showcase current student art in a gallery exhibit before the show and during Intermission.
      The VYO Winter Concert will be presented Friday at 8 p.m. in the Trahan Theater at MVU. Tickets are $5/adults, $2/senior citizens and students, children under 12 free and are available now at Better Planet Books Toys and Hobbies, the Kept Writer, Spears Pharmacy in Enosburg, and Swanton Rexall.
      The Concert for Grumpy Grownups series is presented by the All Arts Council of Franklin County and the St Albans Messenger. The VYO season sponsor is Langrock, Sperry & Wool, Attorneys at Law with media sponsorship provided by the St Albans Messenger and WCAX Channel 3. The MVU band hosts the VYO concert each year.
      If you purchased advanced sale tickets, refunds are available at the AAC ticket centers or you may use your ticket for the February 3 concert at the Flynn.

      The VYO Winter Concert will be repeated on Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington. Tickets for the Sunday show are $10/adults, $5/senior citizens and students, children under 12 free, and are available at the Flynn box office now.


ST ALBANS--Tyrone Shaw and Jerry Bowers of The Oleo Romeos serve up their mix of country-fried blues, anecdotes and unnatural acts at the Kept Writer, Friday at 7 p.m.

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

FRANKLIN--Silverback plays The Boonys Saturday evening at 9 p.m. "Electric" Ben Weed, lead Dan "Silverback" Marcotte, "Crazy Mike" Stebbins, "6 foot 2" Sarah Willey, and Chad "Deckstripe" Sandvil bring gutsy vocals, blaring trombone, and jammin' guitar riffs to a broad spectrum of hits and original, funky tunes.

ST ALBANS--Jim Branca will record a live CD in a showcase of his intense acoustic blues at the Kept Writer, Saturday evening at 7 p.m.


      Cartooning and caricaturing is just one of the things I'd like to learn before I grow up. In the coming weeks we will explore some free instructional sites in the visual arts.
      Emmett Scott has been teaching cartooning to children of all ages for years. His online workbook, the Secret to Drawing Cartoons, has a few simple (and free) lessons.


      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 © 2002 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.