ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 7 * * All Arts News On the Web * * July 17, 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.


      Sunday, on the 34th anniversary of man's first step on the Moon, we also celebrate the 102nd anniversary of Sterling Weed's birth. The All Arts Council and the City of St. Albans join all of Franklin County to wish Mr. Weed continued good health and good music.
      Happy Birthday, Sterling!


      This Sunday, The Vermont Maple Festival/Summer Sounds Concert Series has a double bill with outdoor family jazz concerts at both ends of the county. These maple and music events are always on Sunday evenings at 7 p.m., always in a town park, and always free.
ST. ALBANS--Barbara's Bouquets, Better Planet Books Toys and Hobbies, Betty's Flower Basket, The Dressing Room, Drinkwaters Jewelry Store, and Lorraine's present the Dixie Six in Taylor Park in the Vermont Maple Festival/Summer Sounds Richford concert on Sunday evening. The Dixie Six recaptures the sound and repertoire of Louis Armstrong's All Stars of the 1950s. This concert will take us on a nostalgic trip down the Mississippi to the Crescent City.
      The name Dixie Six is new to the Burlington jazz scene but the band is made up of musicians every jazz lover recognizes: Andy Ellenberger, piano; Glendon Ingalls, bass; Dave Hebert, drums; Bill Brislin, trombone; Tom Stanziola, clarinet; and Bill Wicker, trumpet. The instrumental configuration of three rhythm players (piano, bass and drums) and three horns in the front line (trombone, clarinet and trumpet) lets them retain a traditional dixie style with a newer flavor to the dixie classics and mid-century standards.
      The Sunday night concert will include Ain't Misbehavin', Beale Street Blues, Someday You'll Be Sorry, What A Wonderful World, Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans, Hello Dolly, and more.
      Before and during the concert, the Foster Grandparents will serve a tableful of goodies, including my personal favorite: ice cream with maple syrup, for all your sweet teeth.
RICHFORD--Also on Sunday, Jenni Johnson mesmerizes Davis Park with the jazz standards of Billie Holiday, W. C. Handy, Frank Sinatra, Bessie Smith, Ella Fitzgerald, and Dinah Washington as Banknorth-Vermont, the Crossing Restaurant, and Kaytek present Jenni Johnson and the Jazz Junketeers in the Vermont Maple Festival/Summer Sounds Richford concert. With Rob Guerrina, keyboard, Will Patton, bass, and Nick Aloi, drums, Ms. Johnson is jazzy, bluesy, funky, and nearly perfect.
      Singing jazz, blues and funk has been a central part of Ms. Johnson's life since her teen days in New York City. In the 1980s she pursued musical projects in Houston, Texas and Boston including unique work she titled "The Billie Holiday Story." She also worked in a Boston recording studio producing demo tapes for Star Search and the Coca-Cola Company. After returning to Burlington in 1989, she launched Jenni Johnson and the Jazz Junketeers, singing jazz and blues standards by her favorite African-American artists such as Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, W. C. Handy, and others.  This active Vermont Council on the Arts Touring Artist is a regular performer in Vermont Maple Festival/Summer Sounds, Discover Jazz, Yarasavi, First Night, and at ChowBella! Her current CD is Black Pearls.
      Stop by for Dessert in the Park at the Richford Historical Society Summer Sounds social before and during the concert. The social hour is a chance to visit with friends, work the history of Richford into the present, and to eat finger foods and maple delights.

      Summer Sounds concerts are presented by the Vermont Maple Festival, the City of St Albans and the Town of Richford, and the All Arts Council, and sponsored in St. Albans by Ben & Jerry's, the Handy Group, Northwestern Medical Center, Merchants Bank, and the St. Albans Main Street Merchants, and around Franklin County by Banknorth-Vermont, The Crossing, Franklin General Store, Franklin Telephone, Kaytek, Dick Wright Ford, and Wright Excavating.
      The rain sites are the Town Hall in Richford and the First Congregational Church in St. Albans. The community based All Arts Council brings the performing arts to northwestern Vermont.


      The AAC and the Parkside Diner present Art in the Park featuring work by area artists, a special luncheon menu at the Parkside Diner, live music, and poetry read from the bandstand, all on Saturday in the Downtown Park in Swanton.
      The fine arts will be represented by Carolyn Peters, Joy Mashtare, Meredith Roberts, Lauren Young, and more. Other activities in the Swanton Park include the Swanton Historical Society flea market. The art will all be available for sale.
      Art in the Park is a free exhibit from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday. It is the second of three outdoor fine arts and music exhibits in Franklin County this summer.


      The Third Annual Multiplicity Festival brings eight bands to Alburg this Saturday.

      Unfortunately, this event has generated some bad publicity thanks to a reputation for illegal activity. State and local law enforcement agencies issued citations to several attendees. Burlington Free Press article here.

      "We hand built a large stage on my father's 500 acre dairy farm," Steve Henry said. "Eight bands will play. All our friends and family participate to prepare the site, handle security, and make the event run smoothly." This year's new feature is "a 20 foot water tower with a 350 gallon tank to supply water for sinks, toilets and showers."
      The Yo Yo Nipples headline the concert with alternative and classic rock. The other bands include the Lestons, Named By Strangers, Given, and Torque, all from Burlington, plus Indecent Exposure from Franklin County, the heavy metal Prisoner 13, and Uncle Duff. Singer/songwriter Billy Caldwell of Shelburne will sing and play many sets during changeovers to keep the music live. Ezra Mulheron of MSR Sound will provide sound.
      "We always hosted smaller parties. When we started our own band, it grew," Steve Henry said. "It's a great community thing that with a little time and management it comes off surprisingly well."
      The first band for the Multiplicity Festival on Saturday starts at 2 p.m. The music will continue "until they stop." There are three food vendors and a $10 cover charge. "Most people stay over Saturday night and on Sunday we clean up and turn it back into a pasture," Mr. Henry said. Directions: follow Route 78 West from Swanton. Cross the Swanton-Alburg bridge. Turn right onto Alburg Springs Road. Left on Greenwood Road into the Henry Farm. There are campsites under trees as well as in the fields.
      The Henrys invite all ages to this concert.


      The Arts Journal is a daily summary of cultural journalism, with links to the articles from print publications and other Internet magazines.


      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).
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