ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 7 * * All Arts News On the Web * * June 26, 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.


      Highgate Municipal Park will go wildly Celtic as O.C. McCuin and Sons present Atlantic Crossing playing the ballads and instrumental music of Scotland, Ireland, England, New England, the Maritimes, and Quebec in the Vermont Maple Festival/Summer Sounds concert series on Sunday evening.
      Atlantic Crossing is a very large trio with Rick Klein, guitar and vocals; Brian Perkins, mandolin, tenor banjo, bouzouki, feet, and vocals; Viveka Fox, fiddle and bodhran; and guest appearances of Peter Macfarlane, fiddle and vocals. Their stirring songs, haunting airs, and driving sets of dance tunes show the many moods of these musical traditions.
      Mr. Perkins is a music teacher and sound technician, as well as director of Burlington's popular Celtic College workshop series. Mr. Klein is a licensed captain who has lived and worked on the sea. He developed his powerful rhythm playing over years of dance band work. Ms. Fox has played American, Scottish and Irish music since childhood, and loves the Gaelic soul and American exuberance of the music of Cape Breton. Mr. Macfarlane travels from Oxfordshire, U.K. where he organized and led the Aylesbury Fiddle Rally, an annual fiddler's gathering.
      The Atlantic Crossing arrangements of Scottish and Cape Breton music and their own original material feature driving rhythms, rich harmonies, and a love for the tradition. Atlantic Crossing has been featured on Vermont Public Radio, and has toured the U.S. in England with appearances at festivals, concert series, and workshops. As a high energy contradance band, they have played some of the major dance series in the U.S., including Boston, Washington DC, and Seattle. Atlantic Crossing has been accepted to the Vermont Arts Council's juried register for the careful research they do, as well as for their solid rhythms and classical concert-quality craftsmanship.
      The band has released three CDs: the current Groundswell this year, Full and Away, which was named one of the top 10 Vermont albums of 2000, and Wind Against The Tide.
      The Vermont Maple Festival presents the Summer Sounds concerts in Highgate to keep music and maple together all year round. The concerts are sponsored by the Town of Highgate, and the All Arts Council, and underwritten by Chevalier Drilling, The Highgate Manor, O. C. McCuin & Sons, Ray's Extrusion Dies & Tubing, and The Tyler Place. The rain sites is the Highgate United Methodist Church. The concerts are always on Sunday evenings at 7 p.m., always in a town park, and always free. Bring a blanket or a lawn chair and maybe an umbrella as you settle in to enjoy outdoor family music and festivities. The community based All Arts Council brings the performing arts to northwestern Vermont.


      The Fairfax Community Theater Company presents America's award winning musical 1776 with music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards in a four day run beginning next Wednesday, July 2. 1776 uses the words of the founding fathers in a delightful history lesson.
      The unconventional classic Broadway hit takes place in the summer of 1776 when this new nation may be ready to declare independence if only the founding fathers can agree to do it. The musical follows John Adams, Ben Franklin, Richard Henry Lee and Thomas Jefferson as they win over the second Continental Congress.. The musical is a heart stopping, poignant insight into American history. Margie Cain directs.
      The cast includes Tom Townsend as President John Hancock, the members of the Continental Congress: Kevin Cahoon as Dr. Josiah Bartlett of New Hampshire; Peter Harrington as John Adams, Massachusetts; Paul Lavallee as Stephen Hopkins, Rhode Island; Norm Lavallee as Roger Sherman, Connecticut; Jesse Gaudette as Lewis Morris and Buddy Meilleur as Robert Livingston, New York; Jen Leach as Rev. Jonathan Witherspoon, New Jersey; Al Allen as Benjamin Franklin, Jerry Starks as John Dickinson, and Todd Sargent as James Wilson, Pennsylvania; Michel Denizot as Caesar Rodney, Ford Webber as Col. Thomas McKean, and Peg Bushey as George Read, Delaware; Bill Kneen as Samuel Chase, Maryland; John List as Richard Henry Lee and Bob Martin as Thomas Jefferson, Virginia; Sam Harrington as Joseph Hewes, North Carolina; Rick Ames as Edward Rutledge, South Carolina; James Eichelberger as Dr. Lyman Hall, Georgia. Kimberly A. Ward portrays Abigail Adams; Adrienne Sass as Martha Jefferson; plus Warren Lyndes as The Courier; Mike Smith as The Leather Apron; Jen Leach in a dual role as The Painter; Bob Bessette as Secretary Charles Thompson; and Jesse Clayton as Custodian Andrew McNair.
      Performances at Bellows Free Academy-Fairfax begin next Wednesday, July 2, at 7:00 pm. Admission is $10 adults, $7 seniors and students under 12. Call (802) 899-2730 or click here and for reservations.


AROUND FRANKLIN COUNTY--Sixteen area schools and libraries are presenting the Backpack Theater stagings of No Room for a Sneeze and The Bremen Town Musicians, in six days this week. Today, they appear at Fairfax Community Library at 10 a.m., South Hero Community Library at 1 p.m., Enosburg Public Library at 4 p.m, and Sheldon School at 6:30 p.m. Tomorrow, the tour ends with shows at the Alburg Library at 1:30 p.m. and Barnes and Noble at 7 p.m. Performances are free and open to the public.
      Elementary school teacher and drama instructor Ernie Hemingway founded The Traveling Storyteller and Backpack Theater. "This is the biggest trip we've ever had," she said.
      The theater troupe has 15 kids aged 10-16 from Fairfield, Grand Isle, Highgate, Sheldon, Swanton, St. Albans, and MVU. "We have a diverse age group working together with great camaraderie," Ms. Hemingway said. They have a waiting list to join the troupe.
      All the plays are original works and the puppets are made in Highgate. Ms. Hemingway wrote the plays; Ryan Dempsey, 16, of Milton composed the music. "This show is all action with six original songs," Ms. Hemingway said.


      The Traveling Storyteller brings a storyteller and two or three puppeteers to events and art activities all around Vermont. Traveling Storyteller will celebrate its 500th show this summer.


      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.