ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 6 * * All Arts News On the Web * * June 20, 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 Vermont Maple Festival/Summer Sounds is Franklin County's premiere outdoor concert series. The series opens as Northwest Medical Center presents Amy Gallatin and Stillwaters this Sunday in Taylor Park.
      The Vermont Maple Festival has joined the All Arts Council as title sponsor for the series. "Music and maple go together year round," said Maple Festival chairman Dennis Chrin.
      "Stillwaters is a happy combination of country western, bluegrass, and folk," Amy Gallatin said. Her songs draw on long days working on ranches. She also covers other songwriters music including Karla Bonoff and Richard Dobson.
      Born in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Ms. Gallatin has organized horseback riding programs and was the featured entertainer at western guest ranches in places like Big Sky, Montana. She is at home singing country, folk, bluegrass, and western swing; branding each song with soulful sincerity. Kevin Lynch, mandolin, guitar, and vocals, hosts a bluegrass radio show. Roger Williams brings his resophonic guitar stylings as guest musician/instructor at the annual "Dobro Festival" in the Czech Republic. John Urbanik adds percussion string bass, and vocals.
      Amy Gallatin and Stillwaters appear regularly at First Nights in Bennington, Danbury, and Hartford, have performed at the Bangor State Fair, the Kirkland Arts Center, and have toured Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Mexico, and Switzerland. Their current CD is Live in Europe.
      "This year, the All Arts Council has concentrated on national and international touring groups for the Maple Festival/Summer Sounds series," said treasurer Tim Stetson. "We'll have live free concerts every Sunday evening throughout the summer." The performers include the Robert Ross Band (stopping here on their way to the Montreal Jazz Festival), the Burlington Ecumenical Gospel Choir, Nashville and Adirondack singer/songwriter Roy Hurd, and the Woods Tea Company. Concerts always alternate between St Albans and Highgate. The popular series also schedules individual concerts in Fairfax, Franklin, and Richford. With a mix of Broadway, old time and modern country, ethnic dance, folk, jazz, singer/songwriters, and a gospel choir, each outdoor family concert is free. Bring your own bug spray.
      Summer Sounds concerts in St Albans are presented by the Vermont Maple Festival, the City of St Albans, and the All Arts Council of Franklin County, and sponsored by HV&MacD-A.N.Deringer Insurance, Ben & Jerry's Homemade, the Handy Group of new car dealers, a select group of Main Street Merchants and Businesses, and Northwestern Medical Center. This concert is hosted by the Franklin County Humane Society.
      The community based All Arts Council brings the performing arts to northwestern Vermont. The Vermont Maple Festival/Summer Sounds concerts are always on Sunday night, always in a Town Park, always at 7 p.m., and always free. The rain site is the Congregational Church.


ST. ALBANS--Exit Stage Left Players presents Crimes of the Heart, the Pulitzer Prize winning drama by Beth Henley, starting tonight at the St. Albans City Elementary School.
      Hilarious and moving, the drama explores the demands, conflicts, and bonds of sisterhood, family, and life in a mid-'70s Mississippi town. Crimes of the Heart stars Nancy Hillen of Burlington as Lenny Magrath, Kay King of Burlington as Meg Magrath, Erin O'Bryan of Fairfax as Babe Botrelle, Steve Irving of Georgia as Doc Porter, Marie Brodeur of St. Albans as Chick Boyle, and Jamie Rigoni of Fairfax as Barnette Lloyd, and is co-directed by Ron Haskell of Alburg and Deb Bryan of Fairfax.
      Tickets are $7 at the door, or $6 with the donation of a non-perishable food item. Crimes of the Heart opens tonight and runs through June 22 at 8 p.m.

BARRE--Vermont Opera Theater presents Highlights from Carmen in the Barre Opera House this weekend.
      The heart of Bizet's great opera, in French and performed with a chamber orchestra, features Wendy Hoffman Farrell as Carmen. Anne Decker Conducts. The Vermont Opera Theater Company has staged acclaimed performances including a recent cabaret night and Amahl and the Night Visitor at the Opera House in Enosburg Falls.
      In the Barre Opera House, North Main Street, Friday at 8 pm and Sunday at 4 pm. All seats are reserved. Tickets for Friday are $16 and $8 (under 18) at the door but you can save in advance--$14 and $7 under 18. Tickets for the Sunday matinee are $14 and $7 (under 18) at the door, with a discount to $12 and $6 in advance. Call (802) 476-8188 or Click here for more info.

ST. ALBANS--Franklin County Success by Six presents Willinda in a free family performance on Saturday at the Collins-Perley Sports Complex. Families and young children can sing, dance, sign and have fun with music, dance/movement and sign language.
      Willinda has two CDs, LinguaSong: Lullabies for Loving and Language and LinguaSong 2: Songs for Language, Giggles and Wiggles. Helping parents teach the fundamentals of language, these albums have been selected as Editor's Choice in Baby Magazine and Parenting.
      Franklin County Success by Six, in cooperation with the Vermont Council on the Humanities, offers the Willinda performance as part of the ongoing effort to create a community of readers. The Willindas will appear during the annual Relay for Life, a community event to raise money for the American Cancer Society, Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m. at the Collins-Perley Sports Complex. Click here for more info.

HIGHGATE CENTER--Highgate Cares presents a Community Country Fair in the Park on Sunday starting at Noon in Highgate Municipal Park. The afternoon includes a free cookout with burgers, dogs, salads and ice cream as well as unlimited games and fun.
      The Traveling Storyteller will perform, Merlin the Magician will prestidigitate, and Kevin Flint promises hay rides.
      The Community Fair is sponsored by Highgate Cares, the Parent School Connection and the Highgate community. Although all events are free, donations will help the Parent School Connection build a new playground. Sunday afternoon, 12-3:30 p.m. in the park. The rain site is the Highgate Arena.


      The Enosburg Lions are cheering 50 years of continuous service to the community with a grand party on Saturday. "We're having a great celebration at the Sheldon Casino, inviting all Lions in Vermont plus other dignitaries to attend," Chief Lion Bob Mays of Sheldon said. The event will be held Saturday evening in the Sheldon Casino.
      Sterling Weed and his Imperial Orchestra will play during cocktails and dinner. Gilles Melacon of Montreal, past international director of Lions International, is guest speaker and charter Lion member James Hayes is a key speaker. There are four charter members still living, Abe Brown, Jim Budd, Don Howard, and Mr. Hayes.
      "We expect to have over 300 attendees," Mr. Mays said.


      Tomorrow, the Summer Solstice, is the longest day of the year. With all that extra sunshine in mind, I encourage regular readers to turn out the lights when visiting this sunny, summer site for all the news about the Vermont Maple Festival/Summer Sounds concerts:


      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 © 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.