ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 6 * * All Arts News On the Web * * September 5, 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 Opera House at Enosburg Falls and the All Arts Council present the Croppies in a benefit concert this Saturday evening. The concert celebrates the release of their new CD and the proceeds benefit the Adaptive Music Program of Northwestern Counseling and Support Services.
      This "not even close to traditional" American-Irish band performs Irish, English, North American and contemporary songs, ranging from the jigs and reels of Gaelic dance to Breton melodies and the baroque flavored compositions of O'Carolan. Named for the rebels of the 1798 Irish Rebellion, the Croppies are Cheryl Kerr, fiddle, bodhran, mandolin, banjo, vocals; John Murray, bouzouki, vocals; Padrick Smith, button accordion, 4 string banjo, cittern, mandolinola, and vocals; Steve Foley, mandolin; and Chris Gauthier, bodhran, percussion, and vocals.
      Their CD is "mainly new arrangements," Ms. Kerr said. "We've taken a lot of traditional ballads and tunes and jazzed them up. 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 manage the NCSS Adaptive Music Program from an office in Swanton. The program delivers therapeutic music services to children and adults in Franklin and Grand Isle Counties. "Our youngest is three and our oldest is 87," Ms. Gauthier said. "We don't counsel. We work on fine and gross motor skills, communication skills." They have taught a seven-year-old girl to communicate with her parents through sign language; she learned the signs with music.
      "This not mental health. It is all about folks learning new skills," she said. "For example, we might take a person who has really bad social interactions into a group and between the music staff and the other people in that group help to mold someone to learn new behaviors in a social situation.
      "We had a young fellow scared to death of thunder and lightning. Every time a lightning storm would happen this kid would bar himself into his room and just be in terror. We researched to find an alternative music that he liked (a popular female pop star). We put that music on one CD and a recording of a thunderstorm on another and got it to the point that when a thunderstorm happens, he sings two or three songs from this pop star and no longer is in terror. We've taught him that thunder and lightning happens in the back of your head.
      "We call ourselves AMPs."
      AMPS is supported by NCSS, the only non-profit community mental health agency to sponsor a program of this type. NCSS counselors also work in other areas of the arts such as clay sculpture.
      The Croppies have performed at the AAC Saturday Arts Fest, 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.
      The Croppies benefit concert is presented by the Opera House at Enosburg Falls, 123 Depot Street, on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. General admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $5 for NCSS clients and kids under 12. Advance sale tickets are available at the Merchant's Bank in Enosburg Falls, Swanton Rexall, and at Better Planet and at the Kept Writer in St Albans. Call 802-933-6171 or click here for more info.
      The Croppies' album is available at the Kept Writer, Vermont Folk, BookSpieler, and online.


      AAC member and part-time Montgomery resident Michael Domina will offer a three-day Early Foliage in Vermont Watercolor Workshop on September 12-14. He takes participants on location to show how to capture realistic subjects in an impressionistic style and teaches design, value, color, and experimental technique.
      The workshop will work out of the Red Barn Studio in Montgomery. Reservations are required. Call 802-326-4672 or 781-843-5799 or e-mail for more info.
      The Red Barn Studio is open every day by appointment or chance. This gallery exhibits new works of many local artists in a rustic barn. There are original oil and watercolor paintings, stained glass, photography, pottery, prints, and a nascent sculpture garden. The studio is behind Methodist Church at 32 Fuller Bridge Road. It will remain open through October.


      Summer Music at Grace presents the Aurora Early Music Ensemble tonight in a concert of miracle songs from 13th Century Spain, ornamented chant from 12th Century France, and the melodies of Hildegard of Bingen, Germany's 12th Century mystic. Aurora includes singers Liz Thompson, Susan Comen, and Amity Baker, plus Mary Ann Samuels on hammered dulcimer, psaltery, and recorders, and Susan Reit on harp and recorders.
      This is the fifth season of the Summer Music at Grace series. Tonight at 7 p.m. at Grace Church, 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon Creek. The suggested donation at the door is $8. Call 326-4603 or click here for more info about the concert series.


ST ALBANS--The Kept Writer presents Steph Papas on Friday, 7-9 p.m. With guitar, trumpet, violin, and powerful vocals, this songwriter and truck driver, sings of a North America viewed from back roads, back porches, sleeping bags, apple orchards and cold city streets.

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.

FAIRFAX--The Eastern Star presents the Green Mountain Banjos playing at a bean supper on Saturday in the Baptist Building. The supper begins at 5 p.m. and the entertainment at 6 so there will probably be audience participation.


HIGHGATE SPRINGS--The AAC exhibit at the Welcome Center at the Highgate Springs Border station hosts my own landscape photography of Vermont. On display are Halo, Field of Mary, 'Wedding Bouquet,' and an early fall raking photo titled Oh, Lord, Thy Tree Is So Tall and My Cart Is So Small through September 30.

ST ALBANS--Marilyn James of Essex shows her popular paintings at the Northwestern Medical Center through September 27.


      Ever wonder what the "grips" do when you see them listed in movie credits? Responsible for the adjustment and maintenance of production equipment on the set, mostly, they lug and tug and rig. The Dolly Grips construct the track for a dolly or crane to carry the camera. After the lighting technicians have placed, aimed, and adjusted the lights, Grips set up the shadows.
      Grips, of course, have their own language. The commercial MSE Matthews griptionary reveals some of the secrets including that an "Apple Box" is the wooden box used to make small actors tall or to raise furniture to make tall actors short. There are Half Apple Boxes, Quarter Apple Boxes and Eighth Apple Boxes, as well as a series of Mini Apple Boxes.
      The Internet Movie Database's online film glossary has wide-ranging definitions of terms and phrases frequently used in the world of movies, film, and acting.


      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.