ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 7 * * All Arts News On the Web * * May 29, 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.


      Grace Church and the All Arts Council present the First Annual Farewell Reunion Concert, hosted by Mark Sustic tonight at Grace Church in Sheldon.
      "It's a beautiful church with great acoustics," fiddler and songwriter Jim McGinnis said.
      Last year, Franklin County musician, teacher, and extraordinary concert organizer Mark Sustic celebrated the end of his 20-year tenure as Coordinator of Early Childhood Programs with a Farewell Concert Tour. It was music to enjoy with your children, grandchildren, neighbors and friends and it is becoming an annual tradition.
      The Farewell Reunion Concert will fill the evening with the traditional and original music from Vermont, Appalachia, Scotland, and Ireland played by Tom MacKenzie, banjo/hammered dulcimer; Jim McGinniss, fiddle/guitar; Susan Reit, Celtic harp; Mary Ann Samuels, hammered dulcimer/whistle; and many more.
      Well-known in Franklin County, Tom MacKenzie has been "doing lots of writing." Mr. MacKenzie does the "traditional musician thing": he sings, tells stories, and plays hammered dulcimer and banjo. He has extensively toured Tennessee, Virginia, and Vermont, played the Midwest, and played Hollywood on Oscar night.
      The full list of Mr. MacKenzie's original songs is online at MP3. Wake Me When It's Over, his current CD, has his old time French Canadian folk music, Scottish lullabies, Estonian folk tunes, and rag time. "I'm recording now," he said, "but it's a long process." We can perhaps expect a new release in the Fall.
      Jim McGinnis has performed at the Champlain Folk Festival and played in many bands over the years. "I played bass in Pie Island [bluegrass] and the End Zone [rhythm and blues, not football]," he said. He has played the fiddle for about 20 years. "I've played traditional music, some Irish fiddling, old time fiddling."
      He writes tunes. He also writes poetry.
      "I was in graduate school when I decided I like poetry and secretly aspired to write tunes," he said. He wrote his first songs at that time and discovered the attention needed for rhythm and melody. It creates a different state of feeling, he said. He is freer with regular poetry than with lyrics. "Poetry does not have to be verse be or metered. All poetry does is to create feelings. However it goes about doing that is a legitimate method. If it creates the state, it's working. If people respond to it, it's right."
      So how do we know a work is poetry and not prose printed funny? "You have to trust what the poets tell you," he said.
      "I've play hammered dulcimer and penny whistles and recorders for about 25 years," Mary Ann Samuels said. "I play traditional music and for the last few years I've also been playing early music like Renaissance and medieval music. Susan Reit plays Celtic harp and has studied early music but she is starting to play folk music more." Ms. Samuels has taught music in area schools for more than 20 years and is soon to end her public school classes to devote more time to playing and to her private students.
      Ms. Reit and Ms. Samuels play as a duo, in a recorder group, and in Aurora, an early music group that will play the Summer at Grace series next month.
      The concert will also feature dancer Sharon Gouveia; David Carpenter, fiddle; Michele Choiniere, piano; Jim Daniels, guitar/banjo; Gary Dulabaum, banjo/guitar; Gerry Faulkenberg, concertina/bagpipes; Frank Heyburn, fiddle; David Hoke, fiddle; Kathryn Kuba-Dandurand, Celtic harp; Michele Guerin-Lajoie, piano; Jim McGinniss, fiddle/guitar; Ed Paquin, guitar/banjo; Mark Sustic, fiddle; and more.
      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.


      Tom Sustic died July 4, 2001 after a 2-year battle with leukemia. A fund was established to support a bone marrow transplant for Tom, but a donor was never found. There is now about $40,000 in a fund to support families with children with cancer. "Our intent is to sustain the fund at its present level," Mark Sustic said. The long range plan is to growing an endowment with events like this concert, so that it will continue to generate revenue to support other families with terminally ill children, particularly those in need of transplantation.
      Moneys from the fund have provided income support for a parent who left a job to care for a child; expenses for a family with a child diagnosed during the holiday season; airline tickets for a family to accompany their child traveling to treatment in another state; support for two families with children receiving bone marrow transplants in other states; support for a family to purchase computer equipment; and a car repair for a family who transports their child to Burlington for treatments
      Send contributions to the fund at the People's Trust Company, PO Box 320, St. Albans, VT 05478-0320, Attn: Tom Sustic Scholarship Fund. Contributions can also be dropped off at any of the bank's locations. E-mail.


      The Vermont Dairy Festival Scholarship Pageant begins tonight at 7:30 in the Opera House at Enosburg Falls. The 2003 pageant includes singers and instrumentalists.
      The Dairy Scholarship Pageant is divided into two evenings, with shows tonight and next Thursday evening. Tonight college-bound seniors from Enosburg, Fairfield, and St. Albans will compete in the talent and speech categories. The contestants return June 5 for the remaining judging. "The prizes are up this year" thanks to the Enosburg Lions. The overall winner receives a $750 scholarship; the first runner up receives $450 and second runner up, $300. Winners in creative and performing arts and in speech also receive $100 and $50 scholarships from the ticket sales.
      "On June 5, we will do the rest of the judging," organizer Lise Gates said. "In the morning, each contestant has a five to seven-minute interview with each judge. And they will judge the scholastic achievement.
      "They are all working very hard on their youth fitness dance. Some of the members of the Enosburg Jazz Band will play. And the school video group has put together clips to show during intermission."
      The Pageant begins tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Opera House at Enosburg Falls. Tickets for the performance and speech show tonight are available at the door.
      "We don't have enough seats for next week," Ms. Gates said. Advance sale tickets for the June 5 Pageant night will be on sale at the Opera House tonight and again from 7-9 p.m. on Tuesday, June 3 only.


FRANKLIN--The Franklin Community Chorus will take part in the Franklin Memorial Day Program, tomorrow following the parade at Franklin Town Hall at 10:30 a.m. Franklin and area singers should attend the final rehearsal tonight in Franklin Town Hall at 7 p.m.

ST. ALBANS-The Kept Writer presents the rich bluegrass & folk guitar, mandolin and vocals of Dick Staber and Judith Chasnoff tomorrow evening, 7-9 p.m. The Adirondack/Lake Champlain region performers have been performing a unique brand of folk and bluegrass-based acoustic music since 1993.

HYDE PARK--The Lamoille County Players present the Will Patton Quintet, "all five of us," at the Hyde Park Opera House Saturday at 8 p.m. This is the first time the group has played together since the release of Peripherique at the Flynn. The gypsy jazz and Brasilian tunes concert features Mr. Patton on mandolin and other stringed stuff; David Gusakov, violin; Tom Steele, "on everything;" Clyde Stats, string bass; and Steve Blair, guitar. Tyrone Shaw will emcee.
      "The Opera Houses around Vermont have nice acoustics," Mr. Patton said. "They have an ambiance and are kind to acoustic music."
      Tickets are $10 at the door, $5 for seniors and students. Call 888-4507 for info.

ENOSBURG FALLS--The Enosburg Town Band holds rehearsals on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. in the Opera House at Enosburg Falls. They are actively seeking new members. Call the Opera House (933-6171) for info.


      Jeff Russell shows science fiction fans the true scale of fictional spacecraft. His site allows comparison of ships across genres as well as to buildings and monuments such as the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, and even the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. The scale is accurate on any computer platform. The charts are partially interactive. The site is very graphics intensive and may stall a dial-up connection.
      Note that Mr. Russell examines only the physical dimensions of the starships; he makes no claims the ships' firepower, speed, or space worthiness.


      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.