ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 7 * * All Arts News On the Web * * November 6, 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 presents an Indian Summer Celebration of Life with national recording artist and Iroquois educator Howard Lyons on Saturday at 8 p.m. The award winning, lyrical songwriter has crossed over musical barriers with dramatic, emotional songs and rich vocals.
      "Within my own compositions I use authentic Mohawk language but it is supported in a contemporary format," Mr. Lyons said. That format has more appeal to mainstream audiences. "There are two categories, the traditional and contemporary [of modern native artists]. The traditional uses straight language and drum and rattle with no contemporary instruments like guitar or piano or violin. That is very much the way it might have sounded 1,000 years ago. The contemporary format incorporates those modern instruments with the same words, and the same feeling, conveying the same message. It gives us the opportunity to move it into mainstream and make it more accessible and appealing to a wider range of people."
      There was always a lot of music in the house when Howard Lyons was growing up. His parents always had Buck Owens or Ray Charles or some of the older artists who paved the way on the radio or record player. He worked on a farm to buy his first guitar when he was about 16.
      "I've always had a deep appreciation for acoustic music," he said. "In the early days, as I was growing up as a teenager, it was a form of self-expression and creativity for me."
      He formed his first band in high school with that revolved around Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Don McLean. Today he blends his heritage knowledge with that heavy folk influence, with country, and even some rock and roll for a sound that is all his own.
      Mr. Lyons has performed and hosted workshops for thousands of students at more than 970 schools nationwide and will also be in some area schools this week. His program stresses the rich culture of the Iroquois Confederacy and highlights the fundamentals of Peace, Honor, practicing the Good Mind and Respect for Mother Earth. He refers to the misinformation about Native culture in the news, from Hollywood, and even in textbooks and presents both historical and modern facts to override these stereotypes. He is a member of the Mohawk Nation of Akwesasne of Upstate New York.
      "The schools kind of snuck up on me," he said. "I was doing presentations and in my music is a very deep influence of my Native American culture. You can't separate the two. It's a part of who you are. And as a result, it comes out in my music. A lot of people have asked if I could bring it into the schools to speak a little but more of the Native American culture because it's not spoken of very widely."
      He is old enough that he grew up in a time and place in which his family was trying to be assimilated and "the culture was not spoken of at all. My parents went through their generation was punished in school if they spoke their native language. As a result, a lot of our older people don't talk much about the culture unless you're really involved in our traditional ceremonies."
      He was in Richford High School yesterday and will do two morning presentations for Enosburg High School and an afternoon session at Berkshire Elementary today. Tomorrow evening he performs a concert in St. Regis, NY, then returns to Enosburg Falls for the Saturday evening concert at the Opera House. "This show revolves around my school appearances. I'm trying to keep my school performances accessible and affordable." His program supports current curriculum plans.
      This year he has performed at the nation's largest American Indian cultural event, the Indian Summer Festival in Milwaukee, at Lincoln Center, and the New England States Exposition. He has released two national recordings of original compositions using his Native Mohawk language.
      The concert is scheduled to coincide with Native American Awareness Month. Celebrated each November, national Native American Awareness Month includes all native, indigenous, and aboriginal peoples of the Americas but its goal is to make everyone aware of all indigenous peoples the world over.
      Tickets are available at the All Arts ticket centers, the Enosburg Pharmacy and Merchants Bank in Enosburg Falls, Better Planet in St. Albans, and Swanton Rexall. General admission is $8/adult and seniors, $4 students age 12-18, and children under 12 are free. Call 802-933-6171 or click here for more info.


ST. ALBANS--The Northwestern Medical Center rotating exhibit wall features the landscapes of Barbara Hamm through November 30. The St. Albans resident has taken instruction in oil painting, but learned watercolor with only red, yellow, blue, white, and black so she uses those very limited colors. She has painted around the world as well as the covered bridges here in Vermont. The exhibit includes her recently finished Peggy's Cove in Nova Scotia.

BURLINGTON--The Doll-Anstadt Gallery presents Layers / New Paintings, a solo exhibition by Fairfield artist Gail Salzman beginning with a public reception for the artist tomorrow evening. The exhibit will continue through the month of November.
      Fairfield resident Gail Salzman works primarily in oils, creating richly layered paintings that suggest primordial rhythms. She has said her paintings are not abstract but neither are they representational. She explores our inner landscape.
      Ms. Salzman is an award- and grant-winning artist and respected teacher. She was among the first artists to receive a painting award from the National Endowment for the Arts. She received a BFA from Indiana University, studied at the Skowhegan School, and the New York Studio School in New York City. She has taught art at Community College of Vermont in St. Albans for thirteen years as wellas at the Firehouse Center for the Arts, and has guided the VSA Arts of Vermont programs in St. Albans. She exhibits regularly on the East Coast and her works are represented in several permanent collections.
      A reception will be held tomorrow from 68 p.m. at the gallery at 91 College Street.


ST. ALBANS--The First Congregational Church monthly community dance returns to Fellowship Hall this Sunday afternoon. Caller Mary Ann Samuels with musicians Erica Hurwitz and Eric Anders will play New England contras, squares, and circles from 3-5 p.m. Admission is $3/person or $10 for the whole family. Tickets are available at the door.
      Be sure to bring non-marking, soft-soled shoes to preserve the floor. There is parking on Church Street or behind the church and the courthouse. Call 802-524-0044 or e-mail for more info.

ENOSBURG--The students and faculty of Enosburg Falls High School present an evening of One-Act plays at The Opera House at Enosburg Falls on Wednesday, November 12 at 7 p.m.
      Who Put the Overalls in Mrs. Murphy's Chowder, the faculty production, is a melodrama set in the Klondike during the Gold Rush. Mrs. Murphy is played by Malinda Swearingen-Arsenault, EFHS librarian. English teacher and veteran Lyric Theater actor Bob Cseh portrays the villain, Belvidere. History teacher James Ouelette plays the role of the pure hearted Mountie, and Tiffany Copley acts as the over the hill saloon girl, Fluffy. The cast also includes Nathan Demar, Cati Wolf, Jason Robtoy, Jeanne Bachaus, Tammy Krekorian, Bryan Schriver, Tom Kafka, Sandra Vaillancourt, Carol Viens, Steve Jurnak, and Betty Hoss. Bob Cseh will direct and Chad Paquette will handle technical production.
      The Drama Club productions are Sweeney Todd, Queen of the Silent Scream, and Robin Hood. Linda Collins will direct.
      Sweeney Todd stars Matt Stebbins in the title role as a London barber who "loses" some of his customers. His neighbor, Miss Mincey, played by Courtney Newman "finds" fresh meat for her pies with the help of Todd. Shayna Sherwood plays the part of Cherry Goodenough, the pure-hearted orphan who works for Mincey. Robert Willey portrays her love interest and a sanitary inspector named Jack Heartright. The miserly landlord Dunsmur Snider is played by Evan Vaillancourt. Melissa Champagne acts the part of temperance reformer Deborah Dryden and Adam Choquette and Justin Jackson portray two local policemen. Desiree Brunelle plays a customer who is also an undercover agent.
      In Queen of the Silent Scream Beth Tibbits takes the part of an aging and cruel screen star of the 30s; Matt Goss portrays Detective Stark who solves her murder. The play also stars Chelsea Kane as a young and dangerous actress who is involved with a brash film producer played by Evan Vaillancourt. Justin Jackson portrays EZ Bucks, an oily film agent and Adam Choquette plays the part of a dashing young Romeo who falls for Juliet, the maid ,played by Alicia Paradis. Erynne Paradis plays the part of an elderly woman and Shawn Vaillancourt acts as the butler. Matt Stebbins is a fashion designer and Robert Willey is Det. Stark's dim sidekick.
      Robin Hood stars Michael Boomhower in the title role of a somewhat addled Robin, who tries to rob the poor and pay the rich. Cory Tibbits plays Little John and Curtis Garrow acts as strolling minstrel, Alan A -Dale. Sam Boutin is Friar Tuck and Maid Marion is portrayed by Betsy Rugg. Elyssa Wadsworth is the rich woman and later acts as a guard along with Desiree Brunelle. The Sheriff of Nottingham is Bradley Bates. and the Merry Men of Sherwood are played by Jessica Jackson,Laura Turner and Catelyn Lundborg. Billy Madison is Prince John. Matt Stebbins is assistant director.
      General admission is $4 for adults and $2 for students. Call 802-933-7777 or Click here for more info.


      The American Association of Museums was founded in 1906 to promote excellence in all museum through advocacy, professional education, information exchange, and accreditation for museum staff, boards, and volunteers across the country. They are the only organization representing the entire scope of museums and professionals and nonpaid staff who work for and with museums. They have more than 16,000 members including 11,500 museum professionals and volunteers and 3,100 institutions. They have reorganized their website.


      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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