ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 7 * * All Arts News On the Web * * April 24, 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 37th Annual Vermont Maple Festival begins tomorrow in St. Albans. In addition to maple exhibits, food, and family fun, the Maple Festival committee and the All Arts Council showcase some of the best artists and best performers in Franklin County for about 50,000 visitors.

ART--The Maple Festival Craft Show and Sale begins tomorrow, and continues Saturday and Sunday in the BFA gym. On Saturday and Sunday, the All Arts Council fine art exhibit in St. Albans City Hall features exceptional oil and watercolor paintings, fine art photographs, digital art, mixed media, prints, and sculpture by Franklin County artists including Eric Bataille, Corliss Blakely, Bob Brodeur, April Henderson, David Juaire, Natalie LaRocque-Bouchard, Patrick Murphy, Kate Ritz, David R. Southwick, and Gustav Verderber.
      Eric Bataille paints nature studies in acrylics and watercolor, achieving harmonious colors, and simple and strong composition in his work.
      Vermont's premier artist, Corliss Blakely of St. Albans, will exhibit a new collection of small prints plus two new oil paintings.
      Bob Brodeur's lifelong love of photography will be displayed in his warm and intimate scenic Vermont landscapes.
      Photographer April Henderson, known for her still life closeups, will show some new very large works Snow Squall and Wagon Wheel, Sugaring, and several small, whimsical, works.
      Vermont Life scenic photographer David Juaire of Georgia shoots with a medium format camera for its exceptional clarity. He will show some of his 2003 sugaring photos.
      Working artist Natalie LaRocque-Bouchard paints primarily in acrylic on large canvas, makes trompe l'oeil murals, and creates digital art. Her pieces often bring a spiritual feel to landscapes or skyscapes. She will also have custom slates in the Maple Festival Craft Show.
      Painter, singer, and teacher Patrick Murphy has an historical, architectural mood in his oil paintings. He will exhibit Lake Willoughby and Richford.
      Oil painter and farmer Kate Ritz paints mostly bright and full bodied landscapes to "document perspective with color and harmony" from a world full of color.
      Poet David R. Southwick has fine art photographs bound as well as printed and custom framed in native wood and wood veneer. Some include his poetry.
      Photographer Wayne Tarr specializes in portraiture professionally and in thought-provoking black and white fine art images for exhibit.
      Nature photographer and environmental interpreter Gustav W. Verderber is well known in Franklin County for his stunning images. This exhibit will include a new series of poster-sized photographs.
      Writer/photographer (and arts columnist) Dick Harper: My own landscape photography is focused mostly on winter architecture and summer beaches. I will have Spring Fishing, a Camp Fire, and the now world famous Sugaring at St. Albans, Rum Cay, Bahamas that appeared in this newspaper on exhibit.

MUSIC--The AAC books all of the Main Street entertainment for Vermont Maple Festival and provides sound by Tim-Kath Productions for all the bands. The Main Stage has new hours this year; it stays live until 7 p.m. Friday, 6 p.m. Saturday, and 4 p.m. on Sunday.
      Continuous free entertainment begins at noon tomorrow on the Main Street stage with the Sliders, the Kids on the Block-Vermont, folk music from Jim LaClair and Dennis Brown, the classical and contemporary piano of Melinda Firkey, and the country rock music of Borderline. The free entertainment continues on Saturday with the Croppies, Yankee Wild, singer Mark Shelton, the Spiders, the danceable jazz of Joe Levesque's Big Band, and a free preview of the Fiddler's Variety Show. The Roxy Bissonette Dance Studio show and award winners from the Talent Show will perform. On Sunday, the free Main Street Stage hosts WLFE Disk Jockey Chris O'Neil plus the Oleo Romeos in their first Maple Festival appearance.
      Country rock trio Borderline plays everything from old country to top-40 country and some classic rock dancing music with Howard Ring, guitar and vocals, Kevin Bockus, bass and vocals, and Stanley Ring, drums and vocals. Friday at 4 and 6 p.m.
      Expect a lively, upbeat show from pianist Melinda Firkey whose favorite music is classical. "I'm planning to mix it up a little," she said of her plans to play about 15 to 20 well known classical and the same number of contemporary songs. Some will be bouncy and some will be Bette Midler or Celine Dion arrangements.
      The nationally known educational puppet troupe Kids on the Block-Vermont production returns with their Japanese Bunraku-style puppets that look like real kids. Each play covers contemporary issues and puts out a positive message to help kids deal with the scarier aspects of life. This year's theme is Bullies; there will be a meet the puppets time. Friday at 1 p.m.
      Joe Levesque's Big Band II returns to Franklin County with choice arrangements of Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, and other favorites. Big Band music needs soaring woodwinds, lots of brass, and plenty of rhythm. Music from the swing era is dance music. Bring your dancing shoes as the orchestra lights up the evening sky. Saturday at 5 p.m.
      The Oleo Romeos play a unique blend of country, blues, and rock, with original tunes by Tyrone Shaw. The group features Tyrone Shaw, guitar and vocals, Jerry Bowers, guitar, Will Patton, bass, and Eric Belrose, drums. They have a new CD coming out later this season. Sunday immediately after the parade.
      The Roxy Studio Dancers are a young troupe from all around Franklin County under the leadership of Roxy Bissonette. Saturday at 10 a.m.
      BFA students Mark Coutu, guitar, Dan Dodd, bass, and Travis Minckler, drums, are the Sliders. They play mostly original rock and alternative rock.
      The Spiders have been singing together for almost 25 years with a repertoire from Motown, jazz standards, and folk tunes, to a capella doo-wop. comprised of Pat LeBoeuf, Marcia Brewster and Debbie Patton, with Tommy Steele, sax, and Will Patton, strings. Saturday at 4 p.m.
      WRSA and WLFE's Chris O'Neil will be the official Maple Festival disk jockey on the Main Street stage. Chris will entertain the crowd with country music favorites and platter patter. Sunday at 11:30 a.m.
      Yankee Wild brings a mix of slow, old time country to good snappy modern country music (and maybe even a little rock thrown in) to the Main Street stage. The group is Willie Hughes, lead guitar and lead vocalist, Bob Corbiere, bass and vocals, Steve Sweetser, rhythm guitar and fiddle, and Tim Michel, drums. Saturday at 1 and 3 p.m.

MORE EVENTS AROUND TOWN--The First Congregational Church monthly community Contra and Square dance will be held in Fellowship Hall at the First Congregational Church (note that the location has changed). The caller is Mark Sustic, with Frank Heyburn, fiddle, Michele Choiniere, piano, and an army of area fiddlers to play from 5:00-7:30 p.m. Admission is $5/person or $10 for the whole family. Tickets are available at the door.
      The Fiddler's Variety Show is an annual sellout in BFA Auditorium. "Come for two hours (or more) of Canadian and American singers, dancers, pickers, comedy, clogging, and even some pretty fancy fiddlin' around," said Frank Heyburn. Tickets are available at the information booth on Main Street and at the festival office.
      The Kept Writer hosts a two-day fundraiser with 10 hours of music, a silent auction and a book signing by Ginny Joyner all for the Franklin County Humane Society. Spencer Lewis, Dan Haley, tomorrow evening, 7-9 p.m. Illustrator Ginny Joyner will sign "M Is For Maple: A Vermont Alphabet" Saturday at noon. Charlie Messing, Meg Irish and The Hubcats, Rebecca Padula, Lyle King, Ben Bishop, and Jim Branca, all on Saturday 12:30-6:15 p.m.
      The Welden Theater will screen John O'Brien's Independent film Nosey Parker for Maple Festival weekend. A Nosey Parker is a busybody. The film tells the story of Natalie and Richard Newman's move to unspoiled rural Vermont to rejuvenate their marriage by building a trophy house. The construction leads to a confrontation with the local lister, some flirtation, and some xenophobia.
      Director John O'Brien who grew up on a Tunbridge sheep farm will introduce the film in St. Albans. The film is part of his trilogy about the Tunbridge people.
      The Youth Talent Show takes over BFA Auditorium on Friday evening. This annual favorite brings together some of the most talented children in the County competing for scholarship prizes. Tickets are available at the information booth on Main Street and at the festival office.

      The biggest event of the weekend is the 37th annual Maple Festival Parade. Starting from Houghton Street on Sunday at 1 p.m. sharp, the parade stretches out for miles with over 120 bands, unique floats, clowns, horses and tractors, and the ever-popular pooper scooper.
      This year, the theme is Vermont Maple Syrup: It Doesn't Get any Better!


      From the Top is a not-for-profit multi-media organization that encourages youth development through music. This interactive site has information, entertainment, and education for pre-college aged musicians, plus their parents and teachers.


      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.