ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 6 * * All Arts News On the Web * * December 26, 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 new All Arts Council Concerts for Grumpy Grownups series included two performances of Sojourns in The Wild, and a full Vermont Youth Orchestra concert. Sojourns in The Wild is nature photographer Gustav W. Verderber's visual and musical celebration of nature that uses multiple projectors and original music to create a stunning cinematic effect. Sojourns will be featured in the FlynnSpace at First Night-Burlington next Tuesday. The VYO concert included the world premiere of A Momentary Opening by Brookfield, Vermont, composer Erik Nielsen. The orchestra seats about 90 of the best young musicians from Vermont and nearby New York and New Hampshire. The 2003 VYO concert will be held in Swanton on January 31.
      The All Arts Council booked the entertainment for the 36th annual Vermont Maple Festival and the 12th annual Summer Sounds concert series. All together, about 50,000 people heard the bands we presented at those venues alone.
      Summer Sounds, Franklin County's premiere outdoor concert series, held free outdoor Sunday evening concerts in Highgate, Richford, St Albans, and St Albans Bay. Nationally known performers including Amy Gallatin, Anderson Gram, Atlantic Crossing, Rachel Bissex' Town Hall Tour, the Burlington Ecumenical Gospel Choir, the Green Mountain Cloggers, Nashville singer/songwriter Roy Hurd, the Robert Ross Band, Through the Opera Glass, the Upstate New Yorkers, and the Woods Tea Company appeared.
      The BFA-St. Albans Fine Arts Department and the All Arts Council of Franklin County presented Handel's Messiah last week in St. Albans. The combined Community and BFA chorus played to an SRO audience.
      The All Arts Council teamed with several Early Childhood programs to present Gary Dulabaum's Different, Yet the Same: Exploring Inner Space, a series of free public workshop and performances for teachers, parents, child care providers, playgroup leaders, and librarians.
      The Northern Forest Canoe Trail and the AAC began a project to develop public art for the Missisquoi River Basin in Swanton and Richford. That project will take shape in 2003.
      Our Saturday Arts Fests brought local artists and performers to St Albans Bay. Despite fine art, local crafts, and the summer scenery of the Bay as its backdrop, attendance was very poor.
      We offered a series of columns to look at jobs in the arts, at what is available and at what cost. I covered music, writing, the visual arts, and dance.
      The AAC Board created committees to handle the details of our shows, concerts, exhibits, and other activities. Dr. Deo Esguerra chairs the Art Exhibit group. Jon Scott and Joy Mashtare formed a committee to search for a permanent home for the "homeless" arts council. Peter Ford has taken over Membership. Kate Kinney chairs Operations and has launched a search for an Executive Director. I will continue to handle Performance and Entertainment. We need board members knowledgeable in finance and marketing for those efforts. Email the All Arts Council if you would like to help with these activities.
      The growing All Arts Council also began a search for an Executive Director to manage day-to-day operations, publicity, fund raise, provide tech support for artists and presenters, manage volunteers and membership, handle correspondence, and rent out and manage theatrical space. Call 802-524-1486, email or click here for more info.

      The All Arts Council maintained three permanent gallery exhibits this year: the AAC/Opera House Gallery in Enosburg Falls, the Swanton Library Gallery, and the Highgate Springs Welcome Center Gallery. This year, we have featured Jane Bower, Connie Clay-Bickel, Michael Domina, Mary Harper, April Henderson, Helen O'Riordan, Wayne Tarr, Valerie Ugro, and many more.
      The popular NMC exhibit wall displayed Marilyn James, Natalie LaRocque-Bouchard, Roy Newton of Grand Isle in his ninth year of annual one-man shows, Jennifer Stone Gonzalez, Doug Underwood, Gustav W. Verderber, and me.
      An increasing number of stores and restaurants around St Albans, including Champlain Collection, Chow!Bella, Jeff's Seafood, the Kept Writer, Rail City Market, Simple Pleasures, and Vermont Color exhibit the fine art of local artists.

      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls celebrated its 110th anniversary with romance and nostalgia in July. They also hosted an AAC Concert for Grumpy Grownups, the Berkshire PRIDE Community Variety Show, the Dairy Festival Scholarship Pageant, a Vermont/Canada Arts Collaboration concert of folk music, the Mid-Summer Gala professional variety show, the Tenth Annual Talent Search, and the annual Holiday Concert last weekend. The Opera House Gallery is one home for AAC exhibits of artwork by Franklin County artists.
      The Vermont Opera Theater returned to the Opera House with a cabaret. The Champlain Voices choral and instrumental concert was part of the Emerging Talents Series. The Vermont/Canada Arts Collaboration had Michele Choiniere meet Barachois of Prince Edward Island to celebrate the Acadian and Franco-American cultures and music. The concert was part of the Mentors Series. The Tenth Annual Talent Search at the Opera House was an evening of entertainment, celebration, and the arts with the most talented young performers in the area. the Gabriel Piano Trio played trios for violin, cello, and piano by Haydn, Faure, and Schumann. The drama students and faculty of EFHS presented a series of one-act plays on the main stage.
      The Opera House also hosted several benefit events including Burlington's Encore singers concert for Health Seekers; the Croppies who celebrated the release of their new CD and gathered funds for the Adaptive Music Program; and a variety show to support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

      Franklin County has four major festivals. The Vermont Maple Festival boasted Franklin County performers on the Main Street stage and Franklin County artists in City Hall. The Vermont Dairy Festival also hosted Franklin County performers with a special emphasis on the Colgate Country Showdown. The Swanton Festival offered performances by well known musicians the last weekend of July and Franklin County Field Days had a weekend full of comfortable, well-known, free entertainment on their new stage.
      Arlene Jarvis, Claire Campbell, and Marcia Perry presented a concert of light classics and folk songs in St Albans and Franklin. The program included Copland, Duparc, Obradors, Spanish duets, and the folk songs of Scotland Ireland and Wales.
      Bay Days featured up and coming bands all day and finished with Summer Sounds and the fireworks.
      The Cambridge Arts Council presented the 17 member Vermont Jazz Ensemble, a concert with Gopher Broke Bluegrass and Big Spike Bluegrass, Diane Zeigler, Circus Smirkus, Taino, the Firefly Production of The Holidays (Some Assembly Required), as well as a twice-monthly CoffeeHouse at Dinner's Dunn at the Windridge Bakery.
      The Cardiac Capers Tour of America created an entirely local production to save the cost of the hired director and production company and to raise more money for the hospital.
      The popular Montgomery Historical Society Concerts By the Common was a series of classical music events.
      Exit Stage Left Players performed Crimes of the Heart, the hilarious and moving Pulitzer Prize winning drama by Beth Henley.
      Expo 2002 featured artist Sheel Gardner Anand in a major one-man show.
      The Fairfax Community Theater Company spring show was the fast paced comedy Don't Dress for Dinner. They produced Shakespeare's comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream in the summer season.
      The Fairfax Music Sessions offered Saturday afternoons full of acoustic instruments, and traditional music at the Foothills Bakery.
      The tenth annual Jig in the Valley benefit concert and dance raised funds and awareness for the NMC regional health center, pre-school, Head Start, Teen, and Senior Citizen programs at the Fairfield Community Center.
      Launie and Jedd Kettler kept the Kept Writer Bookshop and Cafe filled with music and merriment every week. There was music with singer/songwriters, folkies, unplugged rockers, and blues on most Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings as well as a continuous exhibit of fine art and photographs by area artists. The Kept Writer Magazine debuted this year with a mix of local words and art.
      St John's Ministry of Arts monthly outdoor summer concerts at St John's Episcopal Church in Highgate Falls featured a series of Ensembles and Solos.
      St Luke's Episcopal Church and the AAC hosted the first of an annual series of St Luke's Art Galas with a wine and cheese reception for artists of St Luke's parish.
      The Summer Music at Grace series at Grace Church in Sheldon presented Mark Sustic's Farewell Tour, Village Harmony returning for its fifth year, the Matthews Duo of guitarist Peter Matthews and flutist Wendy Matthews, organist Erik Kenyon, and the Aurora Early Music Ensemble.
      Swanton Elementary music teachers Anna Perkins and Melissa Ewell presented a St Patricks Day flute and piano concert in Swanton and in Burlington. The program included works by Tchaikovsky, Taffanel, and traditional Celtic music with commentary about the historical aspects of the Celtic selections.
      And we saw exceptional live music with Franklin County entertainers at the Abbey, the Bayside Pavilion, the Boonys Pub and Grill, Chow! Bella, Diamond Jim's, the Highgate Manor, and Sha-Booms.
      School art shows included FNESU's fifth annual Art Gala and the second annual FCSU Art Show. These shows exhibited hundreds of two and three dimensional pieces. Each high school in the county also has a strong program of excellent public concerts.
      County-wide, our public libraries had readings, lunchtime concerts, art shows, and kids performers.


KEY WEST INDIEFEST 2003 (December 31)--Companion event to Telluride IndieFest showcases the best independent films and screenplays by the sea. Click here or e-mail for more info and online entry forms.

OUTDOOR SCULPTURE COMPETITION (December 31)--This joint project of Polk Museum of Art and the City of Lakeland, is accepting submissions for a Public Art exhibition in Lakeland, Florida. 10 works from sculptors working in North America will be accepted. No incomplete works or project proposals. Cash prize, transportation expenses, and a Best of Show award. Entry fee. Click here or e-mail for more info


      Working with the Pentagon and major publishers, the Legacy Project will distribute the first "Armed Services Editions" of books to American troops since World War II.
      First published in 1943, more than 123 million ASEs were handed out to U.S. troops overseas. With more than 1,300 titles of mysteries, biographies, crime stories, adventure novels, and classics, it was the largest free distribution of fiction and non-fiction books in history. Unlike the original ASEs, these new books are being paid for entirely with private donations. No government funding is being used.


      In a frenzy of uncensored cut-and-paste, I got both the show time and the prices wrong for at least one Opera House concert (it was a bargain). When the Northwestern Medical Center featured artist Doug Underwood, I mistakenly hung another artist in this space.


      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).
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