ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 7 * * All Arts News On the Web * * August 7, 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.


      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls and the All Arts Council present a great Acadian kitchen party on Monday evening. Canada's famed Barachois will return to the Opera House stage to celebrate Acadian culture and music. The concert is a Special Performance in the venue's 2003 Mentors Series.
      The science: Barachois (bara-shwa') [Acadian]--shallow pools of water separated from the sea by sand dunes. Located between Perce and Gaspe in Quebec, Barachois is frozen in time by masses of Devonian period rock. Its original life was not on land, but in the sea, so its fossils include early fishes such as Esthenopteron foordi of the baie de chaleurs, as well as Crinoides, Brachiopods, Corals, Trilobites, Sponges, Graptolites, Gastropods, and perhaps Eurypterids.
      The art: This Barachois is an award winning, internationally known ensemble and one of Canada's national treasures. The quartet step dances into new interpretations of the Acadian heritage and created a soiree full of warmth and surprises rooted in tradition, song, dance and pure fun
      Traditional Acadian music has a rhythmic, high-voltage style born in a culture nurtured across the centuries on Prince Edward Island, Canada. Some of the first settlers in North America brought these songs from France and infused them with Scottish and Irish fiddling. The heartbeat of the music has been passed down generation to generation by way of kitchen parties and community gatherings. It is a musical genre all its own, filled with passion and life.
      The Enosburg soiree will have driving foot rhythms, piano, home made percussion instruments, close harmonies, laughter seasoning and the occasional brass.
      Barachois is a performing family with Albert Arsenault, vocals, dance, fiddle, bass, and assorted percussion; Helene Arsenault-Bergeron, piano, vocals, dance, reed (pump) organ, guitar, foot percussion; Louise Arsenault, fiddle, vocals, dance, harmonica, guitar, foot percussion; and Chuck Arsenault, vocals, guitar, harmonica, dance, sousaphone, trumpet. They have performed at Lincoln Center, as well as the Philadelphia Folk Festival, and the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, Scotland.
      The group's first album, Barachois, received three nominations at the 1997 East Coast Music Awards and won the Francophone Recording of the Year. The band has just released Encore, its second album.
      "Our special presentations bring well-established and expensive professional artists from the pinnacle of their performance arts disciplines to Enosburg," said OHEF Executive Director Jon Scott. "These Mentor's Series performances bringing a wide range of entertainment of the highest quality to our stage while inspiring the people of our community who may be considering a career in the arts."
      The All Arts Gallery at the Opera House features fine art photography this month. On the walls downstairs are the landcapes of Timothy Stetson, black-and-white portraits of Wayne Tarr, and my own landscape and architectural images.
      Barachois is presented by the Opera House at Enosburg Falls on Monday, August 11, at 8 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for senior and students. Save a buck on advance sale tickets at theAll Arts ticket centers: Enosburg Pharmacy and Merchants Bank in Enosburg Falls, at Swanton Rexall, and at Better Planet and at the Kept Writer in St Albans. Call 802-933-6171 or click here for more info.


      The Highgate Manor presents the Upstate New Yorkers in the Vermont Maple Festival/Summer Sounds concert in Highgate Municipal Park on Sunday evening. The concert will include original songs plus the covers of the great country music artists of the past.
      The Upstate New Yorkers are Gary Finney, keyboards; Tom Venne acoustic guitar and 5-string banjo, vocals; and Junior Barber, dobro. Mr. Barber has been nominated as a top 10 dobro player of the year for the past six years and was a major influence for the Gibson Brothers. They play all of Merle Haggard and George Jones' music plus Deliverance and other bluegrass, and a wide range of originals. The song that brought them national recognition is Upstate New Yorker, written by Gary Finney. The group has worked with Johnny Russell, Little Jimmy Dickens, Gene Watson, Stonewall Jackson, and many others.
      "We play the really old time country music, the way it used to be," said Mr. Finney. This is their second appearance in Summer Sounds.
      Merle Haggard has had 38 Number One singles. In 1961, Jimmy Rodger, Fred Rose, and Hank Williams, Sr, were the first three artists to be induced into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Pasty Cline was the first woman elected to the Hall of Fame in 1973.
      "We always save one portion of the show for requests," said Mr. Finney.
      Stop by for a full scale Social in the Park at the Holy Trinity Summer Sounds social starting at 6:30 p.m. The social hour is a chance to visit with friends, wish for dry weather, and eat some delicious desserts.
      The Vermont Maple Festival presents the Summer Sounds concerts in Highgate because music and maple go together 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 nearby rain site will be announced on Sunday. The community based All Arts Council brings the performing arts to northwestern Vermont with concerts that are always on Sunday evenings at 7 p.m., always in a town park, and always free.


      The Burlington Coffeehouse is coming to St. Albans as Sue and Ken Wade host a garden party with We're About Nine at their home tomorrow evening.
      We're About Nine is a three-part-harmony-singer-songwriter-adult-alternative-contemporary-americana-folk-rock-group with vocals and acoustic guitars plus electric bass, percussion, electric guitar, and piano, all from Baltimore, MD. They offer crisp, powerful vocals, sly humor, and passionate, quirky, literate songs. They have performed at The Kennedy Center, Susquehanna Festival, the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, and the Burlington Coffeehouse, and were the Wammie Nominees for Best Contemporary Folk Group. Their third CD is Engine.
      The Wades present We're About Nine at 19 Messenger Street, St. Albans, Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. The suggested donation is $10/person.


      The 2003 Lake Champlain Bluegrass Festival opens Friday night with the Lincoln Gap Bluegrass Band, Big Spike Bluegrass Band, and the Gibson Brothers, plus a major fiddler's contest, a bonfire and barbeque, and free weekend camping all on the Palmer family farm in Alburg.
      The Gibson Brothers Bluegrass Band of Ellenburg Depot, NY, are North Country legends. The band consists of mandolinist/fiddler Marc MacGlashan, Mike Barber, stand-up bass, Eric Gibson, banjo, and Leigh Gibson, guitar. They have headlined at the Grand Ole Opry and are returning to Tennessee later this month for shows in Nashville and at Dollywood. Their CD, Bona Fide, was released by Sugar Hill Records in March. It is number one on the bluegrass charts.
      "We didn't advertise this, but we are starting Friday night with Bob Degree and the Bluegrass Storm," said organizer Steve Palmer. The Storm will start about 6:30 and play until dark.
      The three bluegrass bands will play at least two sets each on Saturday "right up to dark."
      The Second annual Fiddler's Contest offers $3,000 prize money. It will start at 10 a.m. Saturday. "We are limiting the number of fiddle players to about 35 because we will run out of time," Mr. Palmer said.
      "We're a family event," he said. "There are a lot of kids there with their parents and grandparents."
      The Alburg Volunteer Fire Department will feed the crowd with a chicken barbecue on Saturday starting at noon. The camping area will open at noon tomorrow; camping is free for concert attendees.
      The 2003 Lake Champlain Bluegrass Festival on Route 2 in Alburg is sponsored by Hay-bale Entertainment. Despite very little advertising, the popular Festival attracted over 500 people last year. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the festival and are available at Crossroads Mobil and the Alburg Flea Market in Alburg, and at Pure Pop Records in Burlington. Call (802) 482-8110 for info and for contestant registration forms


      Black and White fine art photographers: the AAC wants you for the Art in the Park Festival August 17 in St. Albans Bay Park. Email the All Arts Council for more info.


      Diego Rivera at the DIA offers an in-depth look at the creation of Rivera's fresco at The Detroit Institute of Arts. The site also includes GIF animations that show the work under construction.


      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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