ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 6 * * All Arts News On the Web * * December 19, 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.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!


      The BFA-St. Albans Fine Arts Department and the All Arts Council of Franklin County present Handel's Messiah tonight in St Mary's sanctuary in St. Albans.
      "We will be doing all of Part One [the Christmas portion] and the Hallelujah Chorus for the concert," concert producer and director Armand Messier said.
      The music tells the whole story from birth to death of the Lord. This concert will consist of seven Choruses, fifteen vocal solos, and two symphonic overtures. With the help of the St. Albans community singers, BFA will be the first high school in Franklin County to perform Handel's Messiah in its entirety. Over 50 students plus about 20 adults are participating in the Chorus.
      The Messiah is extremely popular in the United States and Britain and is the most widely performed oratorio in the world. It is commonly performed with large choruses and Orchestra.
      "Performing 'Messiah' in a large church setting gives this work a magnificent feeling," Mr. Messier said. St. Mary's Church in St. Albans provides a beautiful setting and wonderful acoustics.
      The soloists and musicians bring broad experience to the concert. Arlene Jarvis and Claire Campbell of St. Albans have performed numerous concerts and recitals. Wayne Hobbs is one of the finest tenor soloists in Vermont and a member of the VSO chorus. Tom McNichols of Plattsburgh is currently enrolled in a master's program studying voice at Peabody School of Music at Johns Hopkins. Concertmaster Gianna Izzo Messier was concertmaster at UVM and is orchestra director for the Plattsburgh city school district. Director and producer Armand Messier is a St. Michaels graduate, choral director at BFA-St. Albans, and music director at St John's church in Plattsburgh.
      Fifteen of the eighteen musicians in the orchestra has are professional players; there are six violins, two violas, two cellos, string bass, two oboes, 1 bassoon, harpsichord, two trumpets, and timpani.
      "Students have been working since late August to be ready to perform this incredibly difficult musical work," Mr. Messier said. "By combining students, community members, and professional musicians, St. Albans will see one of the finest and classiest concerts ever."
      Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Children under 6 are free. Tickets are available through BFA music (527-6538), all BFA chorus members and at the All Arts Council ticket centers: Better Planet Books, Toys, and Hobbies and the Kept Writer in St. Albans, Swanton Rexall, and Enosburg Pharmacy.

      Armand Messier and I talk about making the Messiah and show some rehearsal video tonight at 9:30 and again Friday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. on Neighbor to Neighbor on Adelphia Cable Channel 15.


      Wonder how to print all the Christmas pictures in your digital camera? Read on.
      I take landscape and architectural photos with a full featured digital camera as well as with a "traditional" 35mm film camera. Whether I start with film or a computer file, I use a photo editing program to improve the finished product. Until recently, a high quality inkjet printer was my only appropriate option for printing those images.
      Photo labs have a new laser-based technology. They advertise they can print perfect pictures from digital files on real photo paper.
      I'm here to tell you it works.
      Vermont Color printed two tests for me using their Konica QD-21 laser lab. Other photo processors use similar equipment manufactured by Agfa, Fuji, Kodak, and Noritsu.
      "It will accommodate pretty much any form and print it out on actual glossy photographic paper," said John Crispell in the St Albans store. "The end result is a nice high quality glossy print, just about the same as a negative." Matte paper is also available.
      The results come on 100-year Konica Century™ paper.
      The first test was a photo of the nation's smallest post office taken with a 3 megapixel digital camera. For the second test, I scanned a traditional film photograph at high resolution and in true color. These are sharp, well defined image files but the largest inkjet print I could exhibit of the Post Office is 8" x 10" and of the film scan is 11" x 14". The test images can be seen here.
      Vermont Color made prints in standard sizes from 5" x 7" to 12" x 16". Even the 12" x 16" test prints were crisper and more vibrant than the 8" x 10" inkjet products.
      Many professional digital photographers use a commercial-quality inkjet printer and premium inkjet photo paper to produce pictures generally as sharp as those from traditional film processing. This process has three serious drawbacks, all related to the mechanics of creating the prints. Because inkjets spray tiny drops of ink, the edges of each dot get blurry. Although better printers make smaller dots, fine details lose their crispness, especially in eye-catching enlargements. Likewise brighter, more intense colors require a denser ink spray which increases that blur around the edges of each dot. Finally, 35 mm negatives and very small digital images often have insufficient detail to yield crisp enlargements.
      Laser-based digital labs avoid those problems.
      "We had a representative from Konica show us what could be done with the machine," Mr. Crispell said. "From a small 4" x 6" original print, he showed us a 16" x 20" cropped area of that print and it was beautiful. It really does keep the detail."
      The tests did show one difficulty. The colors of the finished prints were not quite the same as the colors printed on my own inkjet printer.
      The solution is color matching which makes it possible to see the same colors on the monitor as you see at the printer. The ideal, of course, is to duplicate the colors that you saw on the beach last summer. My monitor was color matched to my ink jet printer.
      "Do a test," Vermont Color's Paul Lamontagne said in Burlington. "Send one [image] in before we print a lot of them."
      Here are the steps necessary to get good results
      "Anything over 200 is wasting time and [hard drive] space," Mr. Lamontagne said.
      " can accept images online," Mr. Lamontagne said, "and deliver the prints to the store nearest you. We can also scan a print of anything that isn't copyrighted.
      "People can bring in the media card as well, so they don't have to go through the computer. We can go through them right on [our] computer so you don't have to leave the card or worry about" manipulating the photo in software.
      The St Albans office of Vermont Color has several local photographers on exhibit now including Janet Bonneau, Oren Lane, trucker Andy Lockhart, and David Juaire.


      Counterpoint joins the Weston Playhouse Players to sing holiday songs from around the world as Weston actors read The Night Before Christmas, How Six Found Christmas, and The Gift of the Magi on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Burlington and Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Barre. Call 802-259-2327 or click here for tickets and info. Tickets will also be available at the door.


      Dave Latchaw offers "Uncle Dave's Xmas Tunes--The Most Beloved Site on the Entire Internet." Mr. Latchaw does arrangements and programming of such favorites as The Twelve Days of Christmas, The First Noel, and Walking in a Winter Wonderland. The site has free downloads and streaming of MIDI and MP3 intrumentals. This is his fifth jolly year.
      Classical Sheet Music is a collection of free classical sheet music to download and classical midi files for listening. Their 100s of sheet music files feature the work of more than 70 composers including Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Handel, Liszt, Mozart and Pachelbel. The offer excerpts for Gershwin and Rachmaninoff, easy versions for beginners, and arrangements for a variety of instruments. There are teaching aids, a discussion board and more.
      The free christmas clipart page of ChristmasDirectory is a large collection of links to downloadable clipart, desktop themes, backgrounds, wallpaper and more.


      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.