ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 7 * * All Arts News On the Web * * June 19, 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 Vermont Maple Festival/Summer Sounds is Franklin County's premiere outdoor concert series. The series opens this Sunday in Taylor Park as Northwestern Medical Center presents the Sandra Wright Band.
      "Music and maple go together year round," said Maple Festival chairman Jim Cameron.
      Blues and soul singer Sandra Wright began singing gospel in her native Memphis at age four. She sang with Nashville R&B group the Canned Souls after turned down an offer from the National Black Opera Company. She later joined the Nashville Minstrel Players and performed her one-woman play/tribute to Bessie Smith at the Chattanooga Music Festival. By 1990, she was working as the lead singer for Bordello and opening for Clarence "Gatemouth'' Brown. She has sung the Nashville club circuit, recorded radio and TV jingles, and several singles for Truth Records, a subsidiary of Stax.
      "We'll run down a show of rhythm and blues and jazz tunes," Ms. Wright said. "Some of the guys will do instrumentals and vocals of rock tunes." Lead by vocalist Sandra Wright, the band includes John Harris, bass, Dave Nerbak, lead guitar and vocals, Matt Nerbak, drums and vocals, Mike Sucher, keyboard.
      "The All Arts Council has concentrated on great touring groups for the Maple Festival/Summer Sounds series again this year," said treasurer Tim Stetson. "We'll have live free concerts every Sunday evening throughout the summer." The popular series also schedules individual concerts in Franklin and Richford. With a mix of old time and modern country, ethnic dance, folk, jazz, singer/songwriters, and gospel, the performances include Atlantic Crossing, Milton Community Band, the Joe Levesque Big Band, Jenni Johnson and the Jazz Junketeers, the New Alpha Ecumenical Gospel Choir, Tin Pan Alley, the Upstate New Yorkers, Grippo Funk, Tammy Fletcher and the Disciples, and even a Square Dance. Bring your own bug spray.
      Summer Sounds concerts in St. Albans are presented by the Vermont Maple Festival, the City of St. Albans, and the All Arts Council of Franklin County, and sponsored by Ben & Jerry's Homemade, the Handy Group of new car dealers, a select group of Main Street stores, Merchant's Bank, and Northwestern Medical Center. This concert is hosted by the Franklin County Humane Society.
      The community based All Arts Council brings the performing arts to northwestern Vermont. The Vermont Maple Festival/Summer Sounds concerts are always on Sunday night, always in a Town Park, always at 7 p.m., and always free. The rain site is the First Congregational Church.

      The Sandra Wright Band recorded its debut album in 1992 and later that year relocated to Vermont. Her album Shake You Down is available on Hipshake Records. They will also play at Red Square on June 27 and Morrisville on July 4.


      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls presents an elegant evening of Music for Two Guitars on Saturday evening. Edward Flower and Joel Brown bring a passion for the sound of the two instruments played as one to a program that will range from English folksongs to the Spanish classics to the Baroque. The event is part of the ongoing Opera House Mentors Series.
      Music for Two Guitars incorporates many reductions of larger instrumental works, such as Joel Brown's arrangement of the Vivaldi Concertino in D Minor, for lute and strings as well as Let Us Take the Road, Handel, and Music for a While, Purcell, and Sinfonia, BWV 29, Bach (all arranged by Edward Flower). The program will also include a celebration of melody with five traditional English-language songs and the Spanish Romance Anonimo and Recuerdos del Alhambra (arranged by Flower and Brown). In the J.S. Bach, Prelude in C Major, Mr. Flowers extends a single harpsichord piece with the texture and reverberation of two masterful guitars.
      Acclaimed as soloists and chamber musicians, Edward Flower and Joel Brown each play demanding tour schedules in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the U.S.
      British-born composer and teacher Edward Flower has performed in the world's major music centers including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Alice Tully Hall in New York, Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, and the Sidney Opera House. He has taught at Ithaca College, Boston University, Tanglewood Institute, and Bennington College and privately in his home in Sheffield, MA. A current Dorian Group artist, he has also recorded for Argo, Telarc, EMI, and the Musical Heritage Society.
      As a composer and arranger, Mr. Flower has worked with the Julliard Theater, and the Music Theater Group; he wrote the score for the film Into the Mainstream and created the guitar music in Peter Brooks' revered Royal Shakespeare Company production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
      Skidmore Artist-in-Residence Joel Brown recorded in London recently with the London Symphony and performed at Carnegie Hall with Dawn Upshaw. He has held recitals on the East and West Coasts with Frederika von Stade and has performed on NBC's Today, CNN's Showbiz Today, and on NPR. He has also recorded for the Dorian, Telarc, and Albany labels.
      Mr. Brown also founded Tritonis; their CD, Five Premiers: Chamber Music with Guitar, contains five works he commissioned. He tours regularly with Triple Play, performing with Chris Brubeck and Peter "Madcat" Ruth.
      Mr. Flower and Mr. Brown have performed together since 1985. Their first recording was Chords & Thyme, a collection of Mr. Flowers' arrangements of the traditional melodies of England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and America for Dorian.
      The Opera House will draw for a free CD courtesy of the artists from all concert goers. The drawing will take place at the end of the intermission. If the winner purchased the CD at the concert, the purchase price will be refunded.
      The Opera House Mentors Series presents established artists to the community and acts as an inspiration for up-and-coming Franklin County performers.
      Music for Two Guitars will be presented in the Opera House at Enosburg Falls on Saturday, June 21, at 8 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and $5 for 12 and under at the door. Advance tickets at $10 for adults and $10 for seniors and $5 for 12 and under are available through the All Arts Council ticket centers: Enosburg Pharmacy and Merchants Bank in Enosburg Falls, Better Planet Books, Toys, and Hobbies and the Kept Writer in St. Albans, and Swanton Rexall. Call 802-933-6171 or click here for more info.

      Music for Two Guitars will be repeated in the Vergennes Opera House on Sunday, June 22, at 4 p.m. Sunday tickets in Vergennes are $15 adult, $12 student/senior, $6 children 12 and under.


ST. ALBANS--The Kept Writer presents the powerful acoustic blues guitar and vocals of Jim Branca on Friday, June 20, 7-9 p.m.

ST. ALBANS--Relay For Life presents children's singer/songwriter Gary Dulabaum and Mark Sustic in a free children's concert at the Collins-Perley Sports Complex on Saturday, June 21st from 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
      The concert is part of the annual Relay For Life, a community event to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. All Franklin county families are invited for an uplifting community event.


      The All Arts Council serves northwestern Vermont as an all-volunteer presenter, artist's guild, and local arts service organization. This site is chock full of info about programs that nurture talent, help arts education, and provide networking and technical assistance to artists and groups working in all forms of the arts. There is also the odd bit of news and scheduling about area concerts, shows and gallery exhibits, and more.


      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.