ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 7 * * All Arts News On the Web * * December 11-17, 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 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 Blue-Eyed Dog Framing and Gallery series of All Arts Council exhibits offers three different shows of artists working in oils, watercolors, and fine art photography. A new 10-day exhibit of the fine art photography of Bob Brodeur, April Henderson, Gustav Verderber, and me began on Monday. All work is for sale.
      Bob Brodeur's lifelong love of photography will be displayed in his warm and intimate scenic Vermont winter landscapes. Warm? You have to see it.
      April Henderson, known for her still life closeups, will show some larger, whimsical, winter works.
      Nature photographer and environmental interpreter Gustav W. Verderber is well known in Franklin County for his compelling and artistic images of wildlife and nature. This exhibit will include photographs from his sojourn in Yellowstone National Park.
      Writer/photographer (and arts columnist) Dick Harper: My own landscape photography usually documents foliage and architecture but I am showing two pieces of digital art: Total Wendiness and Sugaring at St. Albans, Rum Cay, Bahamas.
      The AAC exhibit at the Blue-Eyed Dog Gallery is open Monday through Saturday 10-6 at 1 Lake Street in St. Albans. The AAC artists will be on exhibit through Christmas. Call 524-4447 for info.


      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls presents an afternoon of Holiday Music and Song featuring the Enosburg Town Band and the Community Chorus on Sunday. This annual family event celebrates traditional music in Franklin County's historic theater. The program is part of the Community Treasures Series. The concert will include traditional and contemporary seasonal music.
      "The Community Chorus has just under 50 members this year," said Community Chorus director Jay Sheperd. "We're doing a variety, but nothing from any 'major' works." One piece that stands out is Now Thrice Welcome Christmas by Arthur Frackenpohl of the Crane School of Music. "I like his stuff," Mr. Sheperd said. "It's really funky." This interesting number is technically challenging for a chorus.
      The concert will include Winter Wonderland and White Christmas, plus Beethoven's The Heavens are Telling, the traditional Good King Wenceslaus, the "Nativity Carol" by John Rutter, an old Czechoslovakian folk tune Sleep Baby Sleep, and a calypso number, Mary's Little Boy Child. Watch director Jay Sheperd doing most of the dancing during that piece. Marcia Perry is the accompanist.
      The Town Band will play Christmas medleys, traditional music including Sleigh Ride by LeRoy Anderson, some of the more secular Christmas music, plus movements from the Nutcracker and from Handel's Messiah. They performed a Suite from the Messiah last year and "will be doing a couple more movements this year," director Alisa Martin said. It ends with the Hallelujah Chorus.
      "The band is about 30 strong with a pretty good balance of instrumentation," Ms. Martin said.
      This Town Band is the oldest in Vermont. The volunteer musicians range in age from 11 to over 70. They have never missed a season. Director Alisa Martin is a music teacher in Enosburg schools.
      Both the Town Band and the Community Chorus recruit new members any time. "People are always welcome to join," Ms. Martin said.
      The Town Band and Town Chorus is the best grown-up venue for newcomers and understudies to get or keep their chops in shape. This season Marcia Perry had a conflict for two rehearsals so, the chorus and understudy were able to work together more than usual. The chorus gives people the opportunity to grow and have fun. "I'm very much in favor of doing that," Mr. Sheperd said.
      Admission is free but donations are gladly, indeed gleefully accepted. The Holiday Concert will begin at the Opera House on Sunday at 2 p.m.


      The Counterpoint Chorus joins the Weston Playhouse Players again this year to sing holiday songs from around the world as Weston actors read Christmas stories, all in the Holiday Concert on Saturday at the Weston Playhouse in Weston. There are matinee and evening performances.
      A Counterpoint Christmas will have two concerts starting Sunday, December 14, at 4 p.m. in the Universalist Church in Barre and repeating December 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Church in Burlington. The program has three sets, A Boy Was Born, From Far and Wide, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas and features Hodie Christus Natus Est, Angels We Have Heard on High, El Noi de la Mare, God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen, The Souling Song, and more.
      The nine voice Counterpoint Chorus is Vermont's only professional chorus; they perform traditional music, new works, and Vermont compositions and do educational outreach and choral workshops in schools around New England. Soprano Claire Hungerford lives in St. Albans.
      Vermont Public Radio will broadcast A Counterpoint Christmas on Monday Dec. 22 at 7 PM and Christmas Day at noon. National Public Radio is offering the program to stations all over the country and also as part of an all day Christmas Music on Christmas Day. VPR broadcasts at 107.9 FM in this area and has streaming audio on the world wide web.
      Click Click hereto find a station in your area that carries Performance Today.
      Click herefor the listings and Click hereto hear the broadcast.
      Call 802-259-2327 or Click here for tickets and info. Tickets will also be available at the door.


ST. ALBANS--The First Congregational Church presents the monthly community dance to Fellowship Hall this Sunday afternoon. Caller Mark Sustic with musicians Erica Hurwitz, fiddle, and Eric Andrus, piano, will play New England contras, squares, and circles from 3-5 p.m. All ages and abilities are welcome. 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 524-4555 or E-mail for info.

ESSEX JUNCTION--Catalyst Theater Company presents The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, adapted from her popular book by Barbara Robinson, tonight through Sunday in Essex Memorial Hall. This play shows the efforts of a good hearted Mom to put on the annual church Christmas pageant despite the pirana characteristics of the Herdman kids (Gang) in the cast. The Catalyst production focuses on the 25 child actors working in a professional atmosphere beside 11 adults. Veronica Lopez, directs.
      The cast comes from Barre, Burlington, Charlotte, Colchester, Essex Junction, Jericho, Shelburne, So. Burlington, Williston, and Waterbury, a list that should include some Franklin County towns. Call Ronnie Lopez at 862.2287 or E-mail to join the company.
      The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is performed tonight through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. plus Saturday and Sunday matinee at 3. Admission is $9/anyone 15 and older. Kids and seniors are $6.50. Tickets are available from the Flynn Theater Box Office and outlets.


      Louis (not Louey) Armstrong purchased a humble, middle class house in New York City in 1943. The Armstrong house, now a National Historic Landmark, has undergone a $1.6 million restoration and is open to the public. The current exhibit is Satchmo's Stuff: the Treasures of Louis Armstrong including plated trumpets, "Louis Armstrong" lip salve, a scrapbook, his blue striped bathrobe, and his gold records.


      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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