ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 7 * * All Arts News On the Web * * January 2, 2003


      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.


      2003 will be a "building" year for the AAC and a busy year in the arts with over 250 concerts, exhibits, recitals, and shows from more than 38 organizations.

      The arts council has a three-part plan for 2003. We will continue our popular programs, begin a new Vermont Singer/Songwriter Festival in September, and work to build up the "back office" support so we can continue offering resources, marketing and tech help to other local groups and presenters.
      The AAC will maintain three permanent gallery exhibits: the AAC/Opera House Gallery in Enosburg Falls, the Swanton Library Gallery, and the Highgate Springs Welcome Center Gallery. We will also have several one-time shows and are looking for new venues. Email the All Arts Council if you would like to suggest or host a show.
      The All Arts Council books the entertainment for Franklin County's premiere outdoor events: the Vermont Maple Festival and the Summer Sounds concert series, and helps with the Vermont Dairy Festival, Swanton Festival and Franklin County Field Days. All together, more than 100,000 people hear the bands present at those venues. This year, we are going to use that drawing power to focus mostly on marketing local talent at the major festivals and book groups you haven't heard before for Summer Sounds.
      The AAC Grumpy Grownups Series continues this month with bassoonist Ben Hoadley in performance in St Albans as well as in residencies around the area. Then on January 31, the Vermont Youth Orchestra returns.
      Summer Sounds, the All Arts Council and Franklin County's premiere outdoor concert series, will continue with new performers from outside Franklin County, new venues, and some new sponsors. The 2003 lineup will include bluegrass, classical, country, folk, jazz, pop, opera, and classic rock-n-roll. The concerts always alternate between the Highgate Municipal Park and Taylor Park in St Albans and hosts additional concerts in Fairfax, Franklin, Richford, and St. Albans Bay.
      AAC Saturday Arts Fest will feature craft fairs, pottery, B+W photography exhibits, fine art exhibits, and music, once each month through the Franklin County summer.
      The Grand Holiday Crafts and Fine Arts Tour of Franklin County will take Christmas shoppers to Enosburg, Fairfield, Franklin, St Albans, Swanton, and more
      The All Arts Council has one significant new arts event planned. We will host the Vermont Singer/Songwriter Festival, a juried art and music weekend that will bring a large audience to Franklin County in September.

      We begin the new year with our continuing search for an executive director, a permanent home, cash donations, and new members. The E.D., the volunteers, and a permanent base make up the "back room" a Local Arts Service Organization like this needs to offer marketing and technical help, have resources, store stuff, and to host meetings and exhibits, and concerts and workshops for artists, other groups, and local presenters.

      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls plans a mix of touring and community events with an aim of at least one major production each month. They will continue strengthening the youth series (Emerging Talents) by supporting and presenting performances by area groups of young aspiring performance artists and dancers. In conjunction with the AAC, they will host exhibits of artwork by Franklin County artists in the Gallery.
      The Mentors Series will include a Two Chord Jones bluegrass concert; the No Strings Marionette Company puppetry show with music; a family comedy performance by Waldo and Woodhead; the Flower/Brown Guitar Duo in a classical music recital; Vermont's favorite Western swing band, Rick and the Ramblers, in concert; and The Angel Band, an Irish folk/ethnic music, in concert.
      The Community Treasures series will include the Proscenium Players presentation of two one act plays by Colleen Curran; and the annual Holiday Concert of music and song by the Enosburg Town Band and Enosburg Community Chorus.
      The Emerging Talents series features the 11th Annual Talent Search and competition.
      The Opera House will also host the Sherwood Variety Show, the Franklin Northeast Supervisory District Art Show and Exhibition, and the EFHS Mr. Hornet Talent Competition.

      Bay Days will feature up-and-coming bands all day and finish with Summer Sounds and the fireworks.
      The Fairfax Community Theater Company will present A.R. Gurney's "Love Letters" in February at the Brick Meeting House in Westford. Fairfax Community Theater Company summer show
      Franklin County Field Days brings local Entertainment to the Franklin County Airport in Highgate
      The 11th Annual Jig in the Valley will benefit the East Fairfield Community Center with a family day of music and picnicking on the last weekend in July. This concert helps raise funds and awareness for the NMC regional health center, pre-school, Head Start, Teen, and Senior Citizen programs.
      Launie and Jedd Kettler will keep the Kept Writer Bookshop and Cafe filled with music and merriment every week. There is music with singer/songwriters, folkies, unplugged rock, and blues on most Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings as well as a continuous exhibit of fine art and photographs by area artists, and the Kept Writer Magazine.
      County-wide, our public libraries have a slew of plans including readings, lunchtime concerts, art shows, and kids performers.
      The Montgomery Historical Society Winter Program will be held in Pratt Hall on January 25. They will also host the annual AugustFest fundraiser plus the popular Concerts By the Common series of classical music outdoors.
      Music Sessions will continue on most Saturdays at the Foothills Bakery in Fairfax for acoustic, non-amplified instruments and voices. The sessions start about 1 p.m. and end no later than 4 p.m.
      The Northern Forest Canoe Trail and the AAC will need sculptors, painters, photographers and writers to develop public art for the Missisquoi River Basin from Swanton to Richford throughout the summer.
      The Proscenium Players will present Another Labor Day and Amelia Earhart Was Not A Spy, two one-act plays by award winning Canadian playwright Colleen Curran at the Opera House at Enosburg Falls, Hardwick Town House, and Little White Church in Highgate Springs. One performance at each venue will have a sign language interpreter. Auditions will be held January 10 and 11 at the Opera House at Enosburg Falls.
      Ms. Curran "puts a comedic twist to ordinary stories," said producer Tim Stetson.
      The Rotary Home Show will fill the Collins-Perley Sports and Fitness Complex in March. One of their major draws each year is a significant art exhibit.
      St. Luke's Art Show will showcase area artists in a lovely setting of wine and cheese this spring at St. Luke's Episcopal Church.
      St John's Ministry of Arts plans monthly outdoor summer concerts in its annual 3-concert series at St John's Episcopal Church in Highgate Falls.
      School art shows will include FNESU's sixth annual Art Gala and the third annual FCSU Art Show. The shows bring together hundreds of two and three dimensional pieces in schools and halls around the County.
      The Summer Music at Grace series at Grace Church in Sheldon will again bring some favorite classical performers to Franklin County for three concerts this summer.
      The Swanton Summer Festival presents local performers to a large audience throughout their four-day July extravaganza.
      The 47th annual Vermont Dairy Festival will spotlight Franklin County performers with a special emphasis on the Colgate Country Showdown.
      The 37th annual Vermont Maple Festival will expand its hours of music on the Main Street stage so there will be continuous entertainment during the entire festival. The AAC books the best of Franklin County performers for this first major outdoor event of each year and hosts a major art show in City Hall.

      The Citizens Concert Band will celebrate its 55th year with outdoor concerts alternating on Wednesdays between Swanton and St. Albans, starting in May. e-mail us for info.
      The Enosburg Town Band performs Tuesdays in the Lincoln Park Bandstand, starting in June. E-mail us for info.
      The Fairfield-Fletcher-Westford Band will start Thursday nights in late April and will begin playing concerts around Franklin County in June. e-mail us for info.


ST ALBANS--The First Congregational Church presents a Community Dance with New England contras, squares, and Circles on Sunday, 3-5 p.m. The caller is Mark Sustic, with Frank Heyburn, fiddle, and Michele Choiniere, piano.
      Admission is $5/person or $10 for the whole family. Be sure to bring non-marking, soft-soled shoes to preserve the floor. There is parking on Church Street or behind the church and the courthouse. E-mail for more info

FAIRFAX--The first regular Music Session of the New Year with acoustic instrumentalists playing traditional songs will be held at the Foothills Bakery on Saturday, 1-4:30 p.m. Admission is free by donation.


      In keeping with our "look ahead," here's a preview of some festival sites that will feature arts and music this year. The Franklin County Field Days and Swanton Festival do not (yet) have web sites:
      Click here for Summer Sounds.
      Click here for the Vermont Maple Festival.
      Click here for the Vermont Dairy Festival.


      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.


AAC dancing logo

All Arts Council of Franklin County

Support Free Speech on the Internet
Dick Harper, Chair
P.O. Box 1
Highgate Springs, VT 05460
email us

Go to [ Dick Harper | All Arts Index | ArtBits Archive ]

      This article was originally published in the St Albans Messenger and other traditional print media. It is Copyright © 2003 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.