ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 6 * * All Arts News On the Web * * August 8, 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.


      Highgate Municipal Park will become a New York Cabaret as the Highgate Manor presents Through the Opera Glass in the Vermont Maple Festival/Summer Sounds Concert on Sunday evening.
      Returning to Summer Sounds for the first time since 1997, Through the Opera Glass will offer Cabaret, New York City Style, a program for country music lovers, for Broadway afficionados, and for opera devotees, thanks to their remarkable staging and a potpourri of familiar composers. "We've been through a growth and transformation," said TOG director Caren Calafati.
      The simple and powerful Cabaret show offers light opera to sophisticated Cole Porter, presented in New York City Style by a world class singer and a renowned instrumental ensemble. Ms. Calafati and the TOG ensemble demonstrate their versatility to take the show from Cole Porter's standards of the cabaret circuit to the most vocally challenging and elegant selections from current Broadway shows. The program includes All That Jazz, Unusual Way, Beginning to See the Light, I Could Have Danced All Night, Summertime, Can't Help Loving That Man, No One Knows Who I Am, Someone like You, and (just for me) Send in the Clowns.
      The Opera Glass accompanists are Daniel Weiser, piano, David Westfalen, bass, and David Wright, percussion.
      In addition to lawn chairs, audience members may want to bring patio tables for two. The performance will feature an audience sing-along; the singers will also invite volunteers for walk on roles with the company (TOG supplies cue cards for their "understudies"). The music and their singing is so relaxed, you need not be an opera buff to enjoy it.
      Cabaret, New York City Style was designed by Caren Calafati. Ms. Calafati has been in New York City singing and working to create a stunning and authentic floor show performance. The TOG ensemble is a national touring opera company.
      Just before the concert, stop by for the "No Calorie" Social in the Park at the AAC Summer Sounds social starting at 6:30 p.m. (We have extended Erma Bombeck's definition of calorie free food to include anything served on napkins.) The social hour is a chance to visit with friends, wish for dry weather, and eat some delicious desserts.
      The Vermont Maple Festival presents the Summer Sounds concerts in Highgate because music and maple go together year round. The concerts are sponsored by the Town of Highgate, and the All Arts Council, and underwritten by Chevalier Drilling, The Highgate Manor, O. C. McCuin & Sons, Ray's Extrusion Dies & Tubing, and The Tyler Place. The rain site will be the Methodist Church. The community based All Arts Council brings the performing arts to northwestern Vermont with concerts that are always on Sunday evenings at 7 p.m., always in a town park, and always free.


      The All Arts Council presents the Croppies, a "not even close to traditional" American-Irish band, in Taylor Park on Sunday evening at 7 p.m.
      Named for the rebels of the 1798 Irish Rebellion, the Croppies are Steve Foley, Chris Gauthier, Cheryl Kerr, John Murray, and Padrick Smith, all armed with an array of well used instruments including the banjo, bodhran, bouzouki, box, cittern, drums, fiddle, mandolin, and probably some unsuspecting members of the audience.
      They play mainly new arrangements. "We've taken a lot of traditional ballads and tunes and jazzed them up," said Cheryl Kerr. "We've added a drum set and some tunes have electric guitar. There's a very traditional Wild Rover that's been redone to fit a woman-child."
      Chris Gauthier and Cheryl Kerr have a strong Franklin County tie through their work in the NCSS Adaptive music program. They deliver therapeutic music services to children and adults of Franklin and Grand Isle Counties.
      The Croppies have performed at the Block Island Music Festival, Ben & Jerry's Autumn Series, on the WCAX Morning Showcase, and at other concert series and festivals around New England.
      This performance is part of a month-long CD release party for their new 16-track album Pad, available at As the Crow Flies, Better Planet, the Kept Writer, and other better music stores including Albums are available at Vermont Folk, the BookSpieler and online.


      Swing with Sterling Weed and his Imperial Orchestra as they play at the Grand Isle Lake House to celebrate Mr. Weed's 101st year and to raise funds for the Preservation Trust of Vermont next Wednesday evening.
      Vermont has a rich collection of historic properties; our historic communities and countryside combine to make this state special. The Preservation Trust provides financial support and technical assistance to community preservation initiatives throughout Vermont.
      The dinner dance features hors d'oeuvres at 6, a buffet dinner at 7, and dessert and dancing beginning at 8 p.m. The suggested contribution for an evening of dinner and dancing is $35/person. Reservations are advised. Call 802-658-6647 or Click here for more infofor more info.


ST ALBANS--The Kept Writer presents the Rev. Nathan Brady Crain's raunchy, humorous folk music on Friday, 7-9 p.m.

FRANKLIN--The Boonys Pub and Grill presents the sweet and intense original blues of Jim Branca (of Bloozotomy fame) on Saturday starting at 7 p.m.

ST ALBANS--The Kept Writer hosts a Poetry Reading on Saturday evening, 7-9 p.m. The poets are on their way to the National Poetry Slam in Minnesota this month. "This is not a full-out poetry slam (hopefully that comes later)," Jedd Kettler said, "but it will be an energetic and interesting reading."

SWANTON--The Citizens Concert Band plays in the bandstand on Wednesday, August 14, at 7:30 p.m.


      If it wern't for spelchuk yu wuld nevr C this colum. (And, no, my spell check really didn't like the last sentence. It spanked me.) Poets now have some help finding rhymes and the rest of us can find a whole thesaurus full of synonyms, antonyms, relationships, and even vocabulary quizzes at Lycos' Rhyme Zone.


      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.