ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 7 * * All Arts News On the Web * * January 30, 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.


      Is there too much snow on the ground?
      Not enough?
      Is it too cold or are the walls of your cabin closing in?
      Want to get out before the coastal storm wallops us?
      The AAC Concerts for Grumpy Grownups has the answer as the Vermont Youth Orchestra returns to Franklin County with Orchestral Favorites tomorrow evening in the MVU Theater in Swanton. Music Director Troy Peters will conduct. VYO soloists Eli Chalmer, trombone, and Theaura Dove Ziegler, cello, will appear with 83 of Vermont's best young musicians. The MVU Theater is the best acoustic space in Vermont.
      "'Orchestral Favorites' is built around two of the most popular and beloved works in the repertoire," Mr. Peters said.
      Cesar Franck's Symphony in D Minor is a tuneful and exciting masterpiece. Rossini's Overture to The Thieving Magpie has a dramatic, martial opening, exciting crescendos, and a rousing close. Eli Chalmer will solo in the lively Trombone Concertino by Swedish composer Lars-Erik Larsson, and Theaura Ziegler will be featured in the first movement of Elgar's nostalgic Cello Concerto.
      "In the early Twentieth Century lots of composers were getting modern and adventurous and sort of going crazy," Mr. Peters said. "Elgar was looking backwards to the romantic era and was writing music that was more sentimental." The Cello Concerto captures the feeling of looking back to the sounds of the Nineteenth Century from the perspective of the First World War. The music responds to that world not with complication but by being emotional and old-fashioned.
      "The Rossini is just ten minutes of non-stop fun," he said. "It's just charming tunes and lots of energy. Everyone knows the 'William Tell Overture' and this has a similar sense of excitement and adventure all the way through as a lot of Rossini's music does."
      The Franck Symphony is our lead in to Valentine's Day. "It is full of romance and a composer who was all about being over the top, about being heart-on-your-sleeve passionate."
      Eli Chalmer is a senior at Montpelier High School and has studied trombone for seven years. Mr. Chalmer also plays jazz and has participated in the Vermont All State Jazz Ensemble, as well as the All New England Concert Band. He plans to pursue a degree in music performance next fall.
      Theaura Dove Ziegler is a home-schooled senior from West Barnet, Vermont. She has played the cello since she was five years old. Ms. Ziegler participated in Vermont All State Music Festival in 1999 and 2000; this is her first year as a member of the VYO. She will attend college to study cello performance next fall.
      Music Director and composer Troy Peters has led the orchestra for more than eight years. A native of Scotland and graduate of the Curtis School of music, Mr. Peters is also a regular guest conductor with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Vermont Philharmonic, Vermont Opera Theater, and the Bach Wind Philharmonic as well as a popular judge for the Colgate Country Showdown.
      Five of the VYO musicians are from Franklin County: Josh Adriance, Richford; Kelvin Crosby, Georgia; Jon Hutchinson, St. Albans; Chris McCarthy, Swanton; and Nicole Mongeon, Fairfax.
      The Vermont Youth Orchestra is celebrating its 40th Anniversary Season. In 1957 a women's PTA group at Burlington High School called the Friends of Music began to bring music to more children beyond the offerings of local schools. Their efforts included bringing performers into the schools and distributing a free directory of private music teachers.
      The VYO began student performances in 1963 with about forty students from twelve schools, under BHS Music Director Virgilio Mori as conductor. The orchestra was managed entirely by volunteers and rehearsed weekly at Burlington High School. Five conductors--Mr. Mori, Peter Brown, Thomas L. Read, Raymond Anderson, and David Dworkin--led the VYO during the first three decades. In 1995, Troy Peters left his post as Assistant Conductor of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra to move to Vermont. Now with students, volunteers, parents, artists, and educators, the Vermont Youth Orchestra has five orchestras, chamber groups, and three summer camps to create opportunities for young people to appreciate and pursue excellence in music. The VYO philosophy offers orchestral experience to every interested student.
      The Vermont Youth Orchestra offers three performances each season at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts and one in Franklin County.
      The Concerts for Grumpy Grownups series is sponsored by the All Arts Council with the ongoing support of the St Albans Messenger. Dinner for the orchestra was provided by Dominos Pizza.
      Orchestral Favorites, on Friday at 8 p.m., will benefit youth programs run by the VYOA. Admission is $5/adults, $2/senior citizens and students, children under 12 free. Tickets for all events in this series are available at Better Planet Books, Toys, and Hobbies and at the Kept Writer in St Albans, Enosburg Pharmacy in Enosburg Falls, Swanton Rexall in Swanton, and at the door.
      Bring your honey.


      The Kept Writer presents Songwriters In The Round, tomorrow evening at the cafe. Bob Williams, Karen McFeeters and Ben Bishop will host a night of round-robin, sharing of songs, and talk about songwriting. An empty chair on stage will invite songwriters in the audience to share their own material as well.
      Mr. Williams' songs reflect the folk, blues and rock traditions as well as Central European cabaret styles. St. Albans native Karen McFeeters has performed at Summer Sounds and at First Night Burlington. She released her debut CD, Bachelor Girl, recent to critical and popular acclaim.
      Songwriters In The Round is Friday evening at 7 p.m. There is no cover charge, but donations are a good thing.


FRANKLIN--The Boonys Pub and Grill presents the powerful acoustic blues of Jim Branca on Saturday starting at 7 p.m.

JEFFERSONVILLE--The Cambridge CoffeeHouse presents Vermont Women in Song at Dinner's Dunn at the Windridge Bakery on Wednesday, February 5, 7-9 p.m.
      The Cambridge Arts Council sponsors the CoffeeHouse on the first and third Wednesday of each month. Admission is free but donations are appreciated. E-mail for info.

SWANTON-HIGHGATE--Quebecois step-dancer Benoit Bourque of Montreal will teach Quebecois Dance and Percussion on Tuesday and Wednesday to all MVUHS students studying French. M. Bourque has given workshops at MVU in 1995, 1996, 1999 and 2001. All parents and community members are welcome to attend. Workshops will be held in the MVU library. For more information, call MVU French teachers at 802.868.7311.


      Lake Superior State University has published 2003 BANISHED, the "28th annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness, which the world needs 'now, more than ever.'"
      This year's list includes "material breach," "untimely death," and "extreme." "Basically" was banned somewhat unsuccessfully in 1984. 1996 had "virtual reality" and "reality TV" appeared last year.
      My favorite search engine gives you a fast look at whether a word has been listed already. Go to and enter this phrase in the search box: [your word] "archives: banished words" . Includine the quotation marks but not the brackets.


      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 © 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.