ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 8 * * All Arts News On the Web * * April 15, 2004


      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 mostly once each month, 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.


      Spring has (sort of) sprung, eh?
      The Vermont Maple Festival will kick off three days of entertainment next weekend, April 23-25 in St. Albans, in this 38th annual hallmark of Spring. This week, I will cover some of the music and entertainment. Next week, I will describe the rest of the music and the arts.
      The All Arts Council books all of the Main Street entertainment for Vermont Maple Festival; each year we boast some of the best performers in Franklin County.
      The Festival will dance all weekend as area dance studios fill Main Street on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. St. Albans for the Future presents the first ever street dance and block party on Main Street Friday afternoon. The big band sound comes to the Saturday swing party on Main Street.


ON STAGE--Free family Festival frolicking will include shows all day long at the All Arts Main Street stage with country, classic rock, folk, blues, big band swing, jazz, pop, Celtic sounds, fiddling around, debut groups, and a showcase of song and dance in a showcase of the finest Franklin County performers.
      Starting at noon on Friday, the Main Street stage offers continuous free entertainment with solo artist John Cassel, the Croppies, Electric Youth Dance, the Kids on the Block-Vermont, Rosetta Stone, a new alternative and classic rock band from Franklin County in only their second public appearance, and a St. Albans for the Future Street Dance with Top Hat DJ.
      The music will play until the sun goes down.
      Friday evening features the Youth Talent Show in the BFA Auditorium. This annual favorite brings together some of the most talented children in the County. Tickets are available at the Chamber of Commerce and at the festival office.
      The free entertainment on the Main Street Stage continues as the Roxy Dance Studio kicks off a powerful day of continuous music filled with the country rock music of Borderline, the Fiddlesticks fiddlers, the classical and jazz piano of vocalist Melinda Firkey, singer/songwriters John Gibbons and Craig Anderson, bluegrass from the Will Patton Quintet, award winners from the Vermont Maple Festival Talent Show, and the danceable jazz of Joe Levesque Big Band, II. The free Main Stage music will continue until 6:30 p.m.
      The Fiddler's Variety Show is an annual sellout in BFA Auditorium with two hours (or more) of Canadian and American singers, dancers, pickers, comedy, and clogging. Tickets for the Variety Show are available at the Chamber of Commerce and at the festival office.
      On Sunday, the free Main Street Stage hosts WLFE Disk Jockey Chris O'Neil leading into the Parade. Body in Motion Dance Studio will dance in the street and the Maple Creek Band will finish up the day.
      The All Arts Council organizes the Main Street entertainment and hosts a major Maple Festival art exhibit each year.


DANCE--Three dance studios will bring their performers and competition dance teams to the center of Main Street all three days of the Festival.
      The Body In Motion Dance Center competition team from Georgia is one of Vermont's largest. competitive dance teams with dancers who range in age from 8 to 17. The group performs a wide array of styles including jazz, tap, lyrical, and modern. Last year they competed in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Montreal, and Florida beside some of the largest and best known dance teams in the country. With more than 20 new works this year, they will travel to New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and to the Nationals in Las Vegas. This is their first Maple Festival appearance. Denise Flinchum is the director.
      The St. Albans-based Electric Youth premier Dance Competition and Performance Team Dance performers travel to competitions and workshops from Montreal to Boston. They have earned platinum, gold, and silver medals as well as judges' awards for a repertoire that draws from jazz, tap, ballet, Irish, lyrical and hip hop. This season, their performance trips included Walt Disney World and First Night-Burlington. This appearance marks their return to the Maple Festival. Cheryl Ann Kelley is the director.
      Roxy Dance Studio students from two years old through adult will perform dances prepared for their June final show. The studio was formed in 1996 in Swanton and St. Albans to teach all styles including jazz, hip hop, tap, and ballet. Roxy Bissonnette Skeels is the director.


NEW--The Fiddleheads are a middle school and high school fiddle and dance troupe who perform music based in the French Acadian, Irish, Scottish and other cultural heritages of northern Vermont.
      "We learn to value these cultures, and use traditional music and dances to celebrate the contributions of different cultural groups who have settled in the region as well as living representatives of those cultures," organizer Mark Sustic said earlier this year.


PORTABLE POTABLE ART--Fifty genuine Vermont sap buckets have been painted, decorated, and transformed into three-dimensional works of art in a program organized by St. Albans Town Educational Center art students, the Vermont Maple Festival, and the All Arts Council.
      "In January, students at the St. Albans Town Educational Center as well as a dozen Franklin County artists began painting the buckets with scenes of Vermont," organizer Kathleen Redman said. Ms. Redman teaches grades 5-8 art at SATEC.
      The buckets will be displayed at the All Arts exhibit in City Hall at the Maple Festival next weekend and will parade proudly through downtown St. Albans on Sunday. They will be sold during the Festival to benefit the Franklin County Humane Society and Greyhound Rescue.


EXHIBITS--The Festival Crafts Show will take place Friday through Sunday, March 23-25, in the BFA Gymnasium. The Maple Festival Antique Show and Sale will be held at the St. Albans Town Central School. On Saturday and Sunday, March 24-25 only, the All Arts Council fine art exhibit will feature 15 Franklin County artists with exceptional oil and watercolor paintings, fine art photographs, mixed media, and sculpture in St. Albans City Hall.


DAIRY FESTIVAL SCHOLARSHIP PAGEANT (April 18)--The Dairy Festival invites all college-bound high school senior girls to the Dairy Center Lion's Den at 1 p.m. Call Lise Gates (802-933-2030) for info.

21ST ANNUAL ART COMPETITION (May 1)--Sponsored by The Artist's Magazine with more than $25,000 in cash prizes. Top Award Winners will be featured in the December 2004 issue. 13 finalists will be featured in The Artist's Magazine's 2005 Calendar. 5 categories Portrait, Still Life, Landscape, Experimental and Animal Art, plus a Student/Beginner Division for new artists. Email E-mail, Click here, or call Terri Boes (513-531-2690 x1328) for details and entry form.

17th ANNUAL NORTHERN NATIONAL ART COMPETITION (May 14)--Open to all 2-D art with three $1000.00 Awards of Excellence and over $8500.00 in prizes. Click here

FIREHOUSE CENTER FOR THE ARTS (May 1)--Located on a waterfront park in Newburyport, MA, the center has a large exhibition space on two floors of an historic building. Entry fee. Call 978-462-7336 or Click herefor info.


      The entire run of the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, from its inception in 1942 through 1998 is now available online. The site provides full search, browse, citation, print, and download capabilities.


      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 © 2004 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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