ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 7 * * All Arts News On the Web * * April 10, 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 live music and more at the Fairfax Music Sessions at the Foothills Bakery in Fairfax most Saturday afternoons, at the Kept Writer in St Albans most Friday and Saturday evenings, at the Bayside in St Albans Town most Sunday afternoons, and the Cambridge CoffeeHouses at 7 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of every month.
     These gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, "show-and-tell" and occasional workshops. The booked performances and acoustic Open Mike Nights feature music, readings, and more from the best new artists in Vermont.


      The First Congregational Church in St Albans presents a new concert, A Celebration of God and Country, on Sunday, April 13. The concert is part of an ongoing series of cultural and arts events to celebrate the Congregational Church bicentennial this year.
      The Bicentennial Jubilee concert will include the expanded Citizens Band, directed by Ed Loomis, the 50-member Community Christian Singers, directed by Lin Smith, with Doris Hughes, organ, and Nan Arnstein, piano. The concert will debut BiCentennial Jubilee, a new composition for Town bands band written by Kevin Loomis in honor of the celebration year, and will include joint numbers as well as pieces by the chorus, band, and organ alone.
      The Bicentennial Jubilee is short, composer Kevin Loomis said. "The first section speaks of the building of the church body, the congregation. The clarinets play in unison at the beginning. It signifies people coming together to form one voice. The first part builds as instruments come in to represent people joining the church. The second part is the jubilee with some of the joy of a fanfare."
      Established in 1958, Samick has grown into the largest manufacturer of musical instruments in Korea, and the world's largest piano company. They are the first piano company to receive ISO 9000 certification. The Roby Piano Shop has provided the Samick grand piano for the months of music and celebration at the church.
      Admission is free. A reception will follow the concert. Call Lin Smith (527-2977) or Carol Klette (527-7264) for info.


      Composer, band leader, and performer Kevin Loomis of Highgate talked about writing a piece of classical music and about the different music bands play.
      "The style of music for Town Bands and Big Bands is totally different," he said. "Big band music is written for eight brass [four trumpets and four trombones], rhythm [piano, bass, guitar, and drums], and five saxes." Big Band music does not parts for the additional other instruments of a concert band.
      Concert bands generally include woodwind, brass and percussion instruments, but not strings. The more common instruments are flute and piccolo, oboe and bassoon, clarinet, and saxophone (the woodwinds); [French] horn, trumpet, trombone, baritone and euphonium, and tuba (the brasses); and the familiar drum set. A well-equipped concert band will also have tympani, stand-alone bass, crash cymbals, and some of the mallet instruments such as glockenspiel, marimba, xylophone or bells.
      The Bicentennial Jubilee is written for a concert Band.
      "I had to write for all the instruments," he said of creating a new work. "First, you come up with a melody line and you might come up with a counter melody to go with it."
      With the melody in hand, the composer starts building the chord. "The melody line provides one note of the chord. Three notes in harmony form the chord." With the harmony forged "you decide who gets these chord tones, what instruments they're going to go in to. That's part of the arranging."
      It helps to be able to read and write music. So many of today's pop composers simply bang out a melody on the guitar and improvise the harmonies on the fly. Songs composed that way can sound wonderful but often do not have the complexity of classical compositions and may never be written down.
      Mr. Loomis is a member of the clarinet section of the 40th Army Band as well as the Citizens Band, and the Enosburg Town Band. He also played in the Commodores, a professional big band led by Ed Loomis, and lead the Vermont Big Band, and the Sax Quartet. Kevin is married to musician Louise Loomis. Louise also plays in all of the bands.
      A sax quartet requires very focused play. "Because there are only four parts, the four parts of a chord, each player is responsible for one piece of the pie," he said.
      The Citizens Band was a formative part of his life.
      "My dad started me out on clarinet to get me into the music room when I was in third grade and I started playing in that band when I was in the fifth grade," he said. He played first clarinet in the BFA band and lead tenor sax in the BFA stage band, then auditioned as a high school senior at Fort Devon, Massachusetts, joined the army and was sent to the U.S. Naval School of Music (now the U.S. Armed Forces School of Music). He also took private clarinet lessons from Dr. Laws, a professor at UVM.
      "It's fun to play," he said, "but it is also a lot of work to play in several bands." The Enosburg Town Band, for example, practices every Tuesday night; the Joe Levesque Big Band practices every Monday.


      This is the biggest weekend of the spring for musicals.

ENOSBURG FALLS--The Enosburg Falls Drama Club presents Anything Goes in the Opera House at Enosburg Falls tomorrow and Saturday evening at 7 p.m. In this musical comedy by Cole Porter, the S.S. American sails from New York to England carrying gangster Moonface Martin, Hope and Evangeline Harcourt (a wealthy debutante and her mother), nightclub singer Reno Sweeny, New York businessman Elisha Witney, and Billy Crocker (his stowaway assistant). Porter weaves a story of long-lost love, new love, seduction, evading the law and social status.
      Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for students and senior citizens at the door.

FAIRFAX--The BFA-Fairfax Dramatic Arts Ensemble presents The Wizard of Oz in the new gym at BFA-Fairfax, tonight, tomorrow, and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with a special matinee on Saturday at 2 p.m. A children's literature classic, the Wizard of Oz was the first of a long series of Oz books written by L. Frank Baum.
      Admission is $5 at the door. Call 658-6676 for info.

SWANTON--The annual MVU Musical is always a popular production. This year, MVU presents Leader of the Pack The Ellie Greenwich Musical in the MVU Theater tonight, tomorrow, and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with a special $3 matinee on Saturday at 2 p.m. The song and dance revue Ellie Greenwich Musical showcases the hits of the popular bubble gum singer/songwriter. The show includes Be My Baby, Today I Met the Boy I'm Gonna Marry, Do Wah Diddy, And Then He Kissed Me, Chapel Of Love, and the Leader of the Pack.
      Admission to the evening performances is $7 and $5 at the door.


      Community-Music, one of the world's largest sets of community band and orchestra links, includes 644 groups located from Adelaide, Australia, to (I think) Zaans, Netherlands. Only amateur concert bands and orchestras are included.


      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).
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