ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 7 * * All Arts News On the Web * * May 22, 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 open studio weekend is an annual statewide visual arts celebration this Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. This year, six Fairfax artists open their studios to the public.
      Celine Hargraves of Celine's Art Studio will display original wildlife paintings in oil and acrylic. Chris LeBaron of Fairfax Forge and Sculpture Garden will show functional and abstract metal art. Joanne Littler of Pine Ledge Fiber Studio will demonstrate hand spinning and weaving. The Prema Design Art Studio will host three artists. Marie Keefe will show abstract and realistic watercolors and pastels. Studio arts teacher Cynthia Pease will display watercolors, mixed media work and henna body art. Deborah Travis will offer unique hand-made clothing and watercolor paintings.
      The Vermont Studio Tour map contains directions and tour planning information. Call 802-223-3380 or click here and for printable maps.


      Grace Church and the All Arts Council present the First Annual Farewell Reunion Concert, hosted by Mark Sustic next Thursday, May 29, at Grace Church in Sheldon.
      The Farewell Reunion Concert will fill the evening with traditional and original singing and dancing from Vermont, Appalachia, Scotland, Ireland. The concert will feature dancer Sharon Gouveia; David Carpenter, fiddle; Michele Choiniere, piano; Jim Daniels, guitar/banjo; Gary Dulabaum, banjo/guitar; Gerry Faulkenberg, concertina/bagpipes; Franklin Heyburn, fiddle; David Hoke, fiddle; Kathryn Kuba-Dandurand, Celtic harp; Michele Guerin-Lajoie, piano; Tom MacKenzie, banjo/hammered dulcimer; Jim McGinniss, fiddle/guitar; Ed Paquin, guitar/banjo; Susan Reit, Celtic harp; Mary Ann Samuels, hammered dulcimer/whistle; and some surprises.
      Organizer Mark Sustic is a performer and dance leader from Fairfax. He plays regularly as a member of Yankee Chank, the Will Dicker Boys, and Northern Routes and has performed throughout the Eastern U.S. and Canada at festivals, camps, schools, churches, and concert halls.
      The First Annual Farewell Reunion Concert is made possible by support from Messenger Print and Design, Parent to Parent of Vermont, and the All Arts Council. A freewill donation ($5 suggested per person) will benefit the Tom Sustic Scholarship Fund. Call 849-6968 for more info.


      Getty Images folded its venture and was declared insolvent one year ago this week. These high profile failures underscore the difficulty of selling online and the need for diversification in the arts.
      From time to time I discuss how artists earn a living in the Green Mountains. Here are some musicians who use the Internet but have found other ways to diversify and market their work.
      "Early on we realized that if we wanted to buy cooler and newer toys we had to find somebody else to pay for them," said Andre Maquera of West Street Digital. They started recording their own music, then diversified by working with several bands and a "good connection with Channel 3."
      At about the same time, Tim Stetson started DJ-ing in college, worked on the road crew for the rock band Wind Castle, and did programs for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.
      "Believe it or not, the sound equipment was the most important part," Mr. Stetson said. "Because it is a theater for the deaf, the sound reinforcement had to be even more precisely tuned." The system must produce higher highs and lower lows. "Many folks who have hearing difficulties can at least hear in those ranges and are able to feel the music."
      His Tim-Kath Enterprises now does commercial production and provides sound for area events including the Chew Chew, Franklin County Field Days, the Maple Festival, and some Summer Sounds concerts. Tim's elder son Dave manages most of the production contracts and now runs the DJ operation. They have grown enough to hire other young people for backstage and mixing jobs.
      "I like that because it shows that we have youth who are actually working and not just out running around, drinking beer," Tim said. The majority are high school age kids with an interest in music and production. "It's kind of O.J.T. for them," Dave added.
      They also offer support services including sales and rental sound equipment.
      West Street Digital began doing commercial work and that became "an integral part of our diversification," Mr. Maquera said. "I've written jingles for a lot of local businesses as well as for Coors Brewing Company, Zima, and others." Their jingles include Contact Communications (he sang that to me), Allen Lumber, Dollar Discount Store, Handy Chevrolet and Handy Dodge-Toyota. Friends regularly kid Mr. Maquera about "being the voice of the Vermont Furniture Gallery."
      People in the business do session work, too. "Fortunately there is a wealth of talented people around the area." Tammy Fletcher and Wendy Maquera are some of the singing voices.
      They do a lot of CD Mastering. Mastering is optimizing each song and compiling it as a collective work, "sort of homogenizing the project so that each song sounds like it belongs with the others. When you hear a CD, you don't want to change the volume for every song. We make sure you can hear everything and that it transitions well from system to system." The end result will sound the same on a top end stereo or a personal CD player.
      "We stay very busy with word of mouth. [Music] is a very tight knit community here in Vermont and everybody knows everybody. Everybody works together very well and we all have our own field of expertise, so if there's a project I can do better, they'll up here and vice versa."
      West Street has been building that capability and recognition for more than 20 years.
      "Diversification is important to making a business like this successful in Vermont," Tim Stetson said.


      The Open Doors Project at Franklin Central Supervisory Union has received a $741,000 grant for middle school students in St. Albans City, St. Albans Town, and Fairfield.
      "This is a great opportunity for local artisans," coordinator Cathy Ainsworth said.
      The Community Learning Centers grant allows schools to collaborate with local artists and community members to provide arts opportunities for 5th-8th graders. The Open Doors project will provide enrichment programs in arts, academics and athletics. Other activities include homework clubs, technology clubs, and camps, literacy book discussions, community mapping, carpentry and small engine repair, and outdoor safety programs.
      The Open Doors Project and the All Arts Council artists will build a long term summer program. Call Ms. Ainsworth (527-7063 ext. 20) or e-mail.


BURLINGTON--The Flynn Space presents Bebop, Jazz and the 60's Girls Groups tonight at 7:30 p.m. Jenni Johnson with special Franklin County guest The Spiders plus a four-piece horn section and other musicians will play some of the great Bebop artists like Parker and Gillespie plus the music of the 60s girls groups like The Dixie Cups, Martha Reeves and The Vandellas, The Supremes and more.
      Tickets are available through the Flynn box office and at the door.

BURLINGTON--Bruce Molsky will present a concert of traditional American music on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the Music Recital Hall at the University of Vermont Mr. Molsky is an influential fiddler, guitarist, banjo player, and singer. His music melds the mountain sounds of Appalachia and the power of blues with the rhythm of traditional African music.
      Mr. Molsky will also host a fiddle workshop on Saturday, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. E-mail
      Tickets ($13 advance, $15 day of show) are available through the Flynn Box Office (802-863-5966) or on-line at . Proceeds for this event will benefit the Tom Sustic Fund


      The performers, musicians and venues featured this week all use the Internet as part of their marketing effort. Here are their sites.
The Farewell Reunion Concert at Grace Church

Jenni Johnson and the poster for tonight's event.

Bruce Molsky

Tim Stetson

8084 and West Street Digital


      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.