ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 7 * * All Arts News On the Web * * July 24, 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 1 p.m., at ChowBella in St Albans 8-10 p.m. most Wednesday evenings, 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.

      This is the busiest weekend of the summer with major events in Enosburg, Fairfield, Highgate, and Swanton.


      The Vermont Maple Festival/Summer Sounds concert series comes home as Chevalier Drilling presents the Burlington Ecumenical Gospel Choir in Highgate Municipal Park this Sunday at 7 p.m.
      The summer Burlington Ecumenical Gospel Choir is a sixteen voice chorus located in the tropical Burlington area and led by John Hagwood. Some arrangements are taken from hymns and there will be plenty of contemporary African-American gospel plus an Island medley of gospel songs with a Jamaican lilt.
      The Gospel will ring loud and clear at this concert and some interactive audience participation is required. Be prepared to clap and stomp. Can you say, Amen! Hallelujah! A-MEN!
      The Burlington Ecumenical Gospel Choir was founded in 1992 by the New Alpha Missionary Baptist Church, to be a symbol of harmony as a racially, culturally and religiously diverse group. They perform regularly at Discover Jazz, Burlington Jazz Festival, UVM WinterFest, Champlain Valley Fair and Summer Sounds.
      Just before the concert, stop by for Dessert in the Park at the MVU Class of 2005 social starting at 6:30 p.m. The social hour is a chance to visit with friends and eat sticky stuff and delicious desserts.
      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 Opera House at Enosburg Falls presents the singers and dancers of the Green Actors Guild in a return engagement tonight through Saturday. A Night at the Speakeasy -- from Berlin to Chicago presents the music, song and dance of the 20s through the 40s in a cabaret atmosphere. There are song and dance numbers from Chicago, Cabaret, and Sondheim's Dick Tracy with choreography in the style of Bob Fosse.
      "The show is about two-thirds song and dance with ensemble and one-third solos," Pat Willey said. "It is a big costume show this time." For this production, the Opera House has floor seating plus regular seating in an intimate setting.
      The entire cast draws from area women between 14 and 21 with Jennifer Corbiere, Emily Cseh, Lanette Meyer, Jennifer O'Brien, Bekka Schnell, Sally Turner, plus Meg Willey and Pat Willey of St. Albans. Meg Willey is director, choreographer, and accompanist. Pat Willey is producer and costume designer.
      Recent Green Actors Guild performances include Bye Bye Birdie and Crazy for You.
      The Opera House Exhibit Hall features fine art photographs for the summer of 2003. On exhibit now are landscapes by Tim Stetson, black-and-white portraits by Wayne Tarr, my own landscapes and architectural studies, and more.
      A Night at the Speakeasy will play for three nights, July 24, 25, and 26, 2003 at 8 p.m. Admission is $8/Adults, $7/Seniors and Students. Children 12 and under are free. Tickets are available at the door. For more information or reservations, call the Opera House (933-6171) or Green Actors Guild (524-9364).
      The Green Actors Guild will donate all profits from the event to the Opera House to support the development of the theater arts in the community.


      Swanton has held its annual four-day Summer Festival on the last July weekend for 45 years. The whole state comes out for the parade, carnival rides, a barbecue dinner, bingo, an auction, library book sale, the 10K Swan Run, and live music.
      The Citizens Concert Band performs the kickoff concert for the Summer Festival in the park tonight at 7 p.m.
      Tomorrow, The Dares, a three-piece pre-teen rock band from Burlington performs original alternative music play 3-5 in the park.
      On Saturday evening, the street dance runs 8-11 and features Esther Combs and the Blue Bandana Band in a country-rock extravaganza.
      The 45th annual Parade begins at 2 on Sunday and there will be a line dance demo featuring local dancers instructed by Dancing Dean from 5-6 p.m. Then WLFE presents the 22nd annual Colgate Country Showdown on Sunday in the parking lot at 7 p.m. There are thirteen competitors scheduled including Chad Abbott, Newport,VT; Shannon Boisvert, of Massena, NY; Bonnie Drake of South Burlington; Alyson Gibbs, Plymouth NH; Steven Gibbs, Plymouth NH; Danielle Hakey, St. Albans; Tiffany Hanson, Swanton; Michelle Rea Jones, Wolfeboro, NH; Amy Kane, Richford; Darlene McCoy, Hadley NY; Shayna Sherwood of Enosburg; Tammy Snyder, Ticonderoga, NY; and Danielle Thompson, St. Albans. In an interesting change from prior years, contestants will use an "invisible band" as backup.
      "It's a wide open field from all over the region, so it looks like a really strong competition this year," said Mike Kmack of WLFE.
      The winner of this first step in the nation's largest country music talent search goes on to the State Finals. There is no age limit for contestants. State, Regional and National contests provide a back-up band for all contestants. State and Regional rules allow 7 minutes from the first musical note until the last note of the second song.
      Because the Showdown is a training and selection competition for up-and-coming performers and bands, Colgate encourages contestants to get their individual judging scores after the contest. The scores help performers see how they were judged in the different categories, and to fine tune their performances for the future.
      The Colgate Country Showdown is sponsored and operated by WLFE-102.3 FM. Over 400 radio stations stage the local competitions for the nation's largest country talent search.


      The Eleventh Annual Jig in the Valley brings an eclectic day of outdoor music to a good cause in Fairfield on Sunday. This community event brings together musicians who are generous with their time, the community members and friends, and people from all over the state for great music for a good cause.
      The musicians include John Cassel, the Irish singers of the Fenian Four, the bluegrass of the Lost Nation Valley Band, the Oleo Romeos, the Motown sounds of the Fabulous Spiders, and much more. There is also a great chicken BBQ and vegetarian fare.
      The suggested donation is $6 and kids under 10 are free. Bring lawn chairs, blankets, and plenty of kids.
      The Jig in the Valley runs from noon until dusk on Sunday. The proceeds benefit the many programs at the Fairfield Community Center including the after-school homework club, Early Essential Ed and Headstart, and a wide variety of educational, arts, and special programming. Call 802-827-3130 for info.


      We have had so much else going on that this regular monthly feature did not appear in print. See it online only.

ARIZONA SCHOOL OF HEALTH SCIENCES (July 31)--Private graduate school wants artwork to permanently decorate the hallways. Artwork must be able to be hung on the walls. Prizes from $250 to $1000. Entry fee. Click here for info or to send JPEG entries

MASK SHOW (August 1)--Studio Place Arts will host a group show with tribal, performance, celebratory, animal and decorative masks in September in Barre. Slides, photos, or digital images need to be received by SPA for review by committee. Original works may be brought to SPA for consideration. Call (802) 479-7069 or Click here or e-mail for info.

JOURNEYS, JURIED ONLINE EXHIBITION (August 15)--Pick a journey through time, the soul, the mind, to a special place far away or right around the corner. Artists are invited to interpret this versatile theme in any media. Entry Fee. E-mail or click here for more info.

FEED THE BODY, FEED THE SOUL (August 16)--Fitton Center for Creative Arts exhibition theme is Gifts from the Earth. National fine craft, fine art competition. $3500 cash awards. Art must not exceed 36 inches in any direction. Click here or call 513.863.8873 for info.

2004 EASTER SEALS ART COMPETITION (August 29)--Seeks beautiful original lily art work from which Easter Seals can select six pieces that will become Easter Seals' 2004 stamps. Entry Categories include student, adult, and senior. Click here or e-mail for more info.


      Clay Times is a bimonthly magazine for clay artists of all levels. They buy articles based on first-hand experience to provide their readers with specific information; the editors are looking for pieces on oxidation glazing and firing methods for unique results. They pay $75 for full-length features.


      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.