ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 7 * * All Arts News On the Web * * August 14, 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 summer music season continues with concerts in Franklin, Highgate, Montgomery, North Hero, and at St. Albans Bay.


      Summer festivals in the town park at St. Albans Bay are a family day of games, sports, fair food, plus live music and an exhibit of major Vermont artists. This weekend the St. Albans Rec Department hosts a festival at the Bay on Sunday from 1 p.m. until dark.
ART--The All Arts Council will present a Black-and-White exhibition of Vermont fine art photographers. The Black-and-White exhibit in the St. Albans Bay bath house pavilion will feature fine art photographs and digital art by Franklin County artists including Suzanne Bollois, Chuck Meunier, Brian Russell, Wayne Tarr, and me.
      Suzanne Bollois and Brian Russell are new names to the AAC exhibits. Ms. Bollois' Discovery series focuses the eye on a pinpoint of light. Mr. Russell, fresh from photography studies in Daytona, will show Florida landscapes and architectural photos.
      Chuck Meunier's photography shows a painter's eye. Wayne Tarr specializes in portraiture and in thought-provoking black and white imagery. Since Mr. Russell has broken the ice, I will also show images from South Florida and the Everglades.
LIVE MUSIC--the Town of St. Albans and the All Arts Council present the Night Walkers in their Franklin County debut starting at 2 p.m. on the stage at St. Albans Town Park at the Bay.
      The Night Walkers include Jesse Grandshaw, bass, mandolin, and synthesizer; Todd Gravelin, vocals, guitar, and synthesizer; Steve LeClair, vocals and guitar; Mike McGinnis, guitar, and synthesizer; and Kevin Irish, drums. Sound reinforcement will be provided by Dave Stetson of TimKath. "We play everything from country to rock and roll to blues to bluegrass," Mr. Grandshaw said.


ST. ALBANS TOWN--St. Albans Bay Park will stay hot as Ben and Jerry's Homemade presents the Grippo Funk Band with a unique funk-rock-blues sound in the Vermont Maple Festival/Summer Sounds series on Sunday evening.
      The Grippo Funk Band is a Burlington-based seven-piece ensemble and an area favorite. The band incorporates MC Manus Dunbar into their funky/bluesy/jazzy mix to create a fresh sound for a summer evening. Members Dave Grippo, Dave Diamond, Aaron Hersey, Bruce Sklar, Kenny Gulfield and James Harvey will perform popular covers as well as their funky originals. Mr. Grippo is well known for his masterful saxophone talents and for recording on five Phish albums; he is on tour with Trey Anastasio's new jam band. Their current and sole album is Live on Stage, recorded live audience at Club Metronome in the summer of 2000.
      Before and during the concert, the Northwest Regional Public Transit Network (the "Purple Bus") volunteers will serve a tableful of goodies for your sweet tooth. Meet some old friends and make new ones as you picnic in the Bay Park starting at 6:30.

FRANKLIN--Franklin Telephone, Wright Excavating, and Dick Wright Ford present a Community Square Dance for the first time in the Vermont Maple Festival/Summer Sounds series on Sunday evening on the Franklin Town Hall lawn. The evening will start with music by Mark Sustic, Jim Daniels, and Jim McGinnis. The Summer Sounds dancers will demonstrate some club dancing routines and Mr. Sustic will call a community dance for all to watch or join.
      Jim Daniels sings and plays guitar as well as fretless and fretted clawhammer banjo in what he called "more tunings than you can shake a stick at." Jim McGinnis sings original and traditional songs, and plays the guitar and the fiddle. Mark Sustic calls and teaches the dances, sings, and plays a variety of stringed instruments. Franklin County has no formal square dance club but the Summer Sounds dancers hope to find enough area interest to start one.
      The Thunderbolt online offers a list of Square Dance Rules from 1875. Here are some of the ones we will not enforce:
      The Summer Sounds dancers will wear traditional costumes. Everyone else is invited to "come as you are."
      The Modern Woodmen will host a social full of fun food starting at 6:30 p.m., while the square dance band tunes up, and ongoing through the evening. Wipe your chin and pull down your vest; come dance with the girl you love the best.

      The Vermont Maple Festival presents the Summer Sounds concerts all around Franklin County to keep music and maple together all year. These concerts are sponsored by the Town of Franklin, the Town of St. Albans, and the All Arts Council, and underwritten in St. Albans by Ben & Jerry's Homemade, the Handy Group new car dealers, Merchants Bank, Northwestern Medical Center, and the St. Albans Main Street Merchants and around Franklin County by Banknorth-Vermont, the Crossing Restaurant, Franklin Telephone, Kaytek, Wright Excavating, and Dick Wright Ford.
      The community based All Arts Council brings the performing arts to northwestern Vermont. 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 almost certainly an umbrella as you settle in to enjoy outdoor family music and festivities.


HIGHGATE FALLS--The Summer Ministry of the Arts presents Horns Borealis, a French Horn quartet in a light classic program at St. John's Episcopal Church on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. The concert will be preceded by an Episcopal Evensong service at 3 p.m. Admission is by donation.

MONTGOMERY--The Montgomery Historical Society presents the Craftsbury Chamber Players in the 15th annual Concerts by the Common series on Saturday at 8 p.m. in Pratt Hall. The program includes the Mother Goose Suite for piano in four hands, Mendelssohn's Quartet in D Minor and much more.
      Tickets are $14 general admission and $8 for students and are available at Lutz's Automotive and at the door. Call 326-4528 for info.

BURLINGTON--Rock your blues away on a boat cruise Friday evening, 7-10 p.m. The Nobby Reed Project and SuperSounds DJ will play this benefit for Linking Learning to Life. "It's a good cause and we get to go out on the lake," Mr. Reed said.
      Boarding begins at 6:45 at the King Street Ferry Dock. Tickets are $30 per person in advance and $35 at the dock. Call 802-951-8845 or E-mail for info and reservations.

NORTH HERO--Island Arts presents an International Festival of Traditional Archery and Culture starting Sunday and continuing through August 23 at Camp Abnaki.
      The Taiko Drummers will kick off the festival on Sunday at 3 p.m. Admission is $10 Island Arts will also host an exhibit of paintings by young Chinese children as well as Vermont of traditional disciplines plus classes and demonstrations of archery by archers from Bhutan and from the New England School of Archery, all on August 23. Participants can register this Sunday for next weekend's archery classes.
      This is the 20th year Celebration for Island Arts. Click here.


      The Island Arts Festival of Traditional Archery and Culture has room for a few area artists of any traditional discipline for the exhibit August 23 at Camp Abnaki. Click here ASAP if you would like to participate this year.


      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls has moved.
      OK, the building is still on Depot Street in the Village, but the Opera House web site has moved to its own new domain at
      The site includes the current Opera House calendar with links to many great presentations, how to buy tickets, pages on the friends of the Opera House, its history, media resources, an opportunity to join the Opera House online, news of the Opera House Performance Series, and a listing of the Board of Directors. Coming soon will be online ticket sales.
      Maintaining a site like this is an ongoing labor of love. The Opera House site was designed by and is kept current by Tim Stetson, an Opera House trustee and AAC director.


      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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