ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 8 * * All Arts News On the Web * * April 22, 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.


      The 38th Annual Vermont Maple Festival begins tomorrow in St. Albans. In addition to maple exhibits, food, and family fun, the Maple Festival committee and the All Arts Council showcase some of the best artists and best performers in Franklin County for about 50,000 visitors.
      Yes, that is your favorite arts columnist on the wrong end of the sap bucket in the WCAX-TV commercials.

ART--The Maple Festival Craft Show and Sale begins tomorrow, and continues Saturday and Sunday in the BFA gym. On Saturday and Sunday, the All Arts Council fine art exhibit in St. Albans City Hall will spotlight artist Corliss Blakely and photographer Bruce Pendleton. We will also feature exceptional oil and watercolor paintings, fine art photographs, digital art, mixed media, and prints by Franklin County artists Eric Bataille, Jane Bower, Natalie LaRocque-Bouchard, Patrick Murphy, and Kate Ritz, and photographers Bob Brodeur, Janet Bonneau, April Henderson, David Juaire, Wayne Tarr and more. The City Hall show will include the opening of St Luke's art gala and the soon-to-be famed St. Albans Saps.
      The St. Albans Saps are about fifty hand painted Vermont sap buckets decorated by Franklin County artists and St. Albans Town Educational Center art students for the Vermont Maple Festival and the All Arts Council. Sap bucket artists include Del Bransfield, Carolyn Brown, Pat Burton, Ellen Hsieh, Natalie Larocque-Bouchard, Beth Maginn, Lorraine Manley, Tinka Martell, Faith Newton, Meta Strick, Shan Triggs, and Tamela VonBaumbaugh.
      The buckets are on display in the Banknorth Main Street window this week and will be part of the All Arts exhibit in City Hall. They will parade proudly through downtown St. Albans as part of the St. Albans for the Future float on Sunday and will be sold during the Festival to benefit the Franklin County Humane Society and Greyhound Rescue.
      St Luke's Episcopal Church and the All Arts Council will kick off the third annual St. Luke's Art Gala with Mount Mansfield from Lower Valley Road, the featured acrylic painting by Louise Bellows Cuonos on exhibit at the Maple Festival.
      Vermont's premier artist, Corliss Blakely of St. Albans, will exhibit new prints and giclees.
      Award winning photographer Bruce Pendleton of Fairfax has taken still lifes, moving images, slow camera, and multiple images in experimental theater, and advertising photos.

MUSIC--The All Arts Council books all of the Main Street entertainment for Vermont Maple Festival. The AAC Main Street Stage continues longer hours this year; it stays live until 7 p.m. Friday, 6 p.m. Saturday, and 4 p.m. on Sunday.
      "We're dancing in the street!" said Will Sawyer of the St. Albans for the Future committee. This downtown association has sponsored the first ever Vermont Maple Festival street dance and block party, scheduled for 5 p.m. tomorrow afternoon. Top Hat DJ will take requests and spin popular disks.
      In addition to a dancing festival, the shows on the All Arts Main Street stage will touch country, classic rock, folk, blues, big band swing, jazz, pop, Celtic sounds, fiddling around, debut groups, in this annual showcase of the finest Franklin County performers. The continuous free entertainment starts at noon on Friday with solo artist John Cassel, the Croppies, Electric Youth Dance, the Kids on the Block-Vermont, Rosetta Stone, and a St. Albans for the Future Street Dance. The Roxy Dance Studio kicks off a Saturday filled with Borderline, the Fiddlesticks fiddlers, Melinda Firkey, John Gibbons and Craig Anderson, the Missisquoi River Band, award winners from the Vermont Maple Festival Talent Show, and the danceable jazz of Joe Levesque Big Band, II. On Sunday, WLFE Disk Jockey Chris O'Neil leads into the Parade. Body in Motion Dance Studio will dance in the street and the Maple Creek Band will finish up the day.
      Country rock trio Borderline plays everything from old country to top-40 country and some classic rock dancing music with Howard Ring, guitar and vocals, Kevin Bockus, bass and vocals, and Stanley Ring, drums and vocals. Saturday, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
      Joe Levesque's Big Band II returns to Franklin County with choice arrangements of Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, and other favorites. Big Band music needs soaring woodwinds, lots of brass, and plenty of rhythm. Music from the swing era is dance music. Bring your dancing shoes as the orchestra lights up the evening sky. Saturday at 5 p.m.
      Maple Creek is a new, upbeat, country-rock band with the foot-tapping music to get you on your feet and dancing. Bruce Parker, rhythm guitar, vocals; Ed Bruley, Lead guitar, vocals; Gordie Giffin; bass and vocals; Dennis Lanpher, percussion and vocals; and Jessie Firkey, piano, synthesizer, vocals have performed in other professional Vermont groups for years. They play everything from Trick Pony to Shania Twain, from Alan Jackson to Chuck Berry. Sunday at 3 p.m.
      WRSA and WLFE's Chris O'Neil will be the official Maple Festival disk jockey on the Main Street stage. Chris will entertain the crowd with country music favorites and platter patter. Sunday at 11:30 a.m.
MORE EVENTS AROUND TOWN--The biggest event of the weekend is the 38th annual Maple Festival Parade. Starting from Houghton Street on Sunday at 1 p.m. sharp, the parade stretches out for miles with over 120 bands, unique floats, clowns, horses and tractors, and the ever-popular pooper scooper.
      The Fiddler's Variety Show is an annual sellout in BFA Auditorium with hours of Canadian and American singers, dancers, pickers, comedy, and clogging. General admission is $7/person. Tickets are available at the information booth on Main Street and at the festival office.
      The Youth Talent Show takes over BFA Auditorium on Friday evening. This annual favorite brings together some of the most talented children in the County competing for scholarship prizes. General admission is $6/person or $4 for students. Tickets are available at the information booth on Main Street and at the festival office.
      The Kept Writer counter monkeys will celebrate the release of the new issue of the Kept Writer Magazine on Saturday at 2 p.m. with readings by contributors; illustrator Ginny Joyner will sign copies of the magazine and of M Is For Maple by Cynthia Furlong Reynolds and illustrated by Ms. Joyner.
      The Kept Writer Magazine is chock full of photographs, fiction, poetry, artwork and more. There are raffle tickets for archival B&W prints of Patricia Braine photographs and other items donated by local merchants, artists and musicians. The release is part of the ongoing Nine Women photography exhibit by Ms. Braine. Proceeds go to Voices Against Violence/Laurašs House in St. Albans, and the Womenšs Rape Crisis Center and Women Helping Battered Women, in Burlington.


      The Vermont Maple Festival site has the complete entertainment schedule, full information about the fine art exhibit and the arts and crafts show, as well as the "art" of the advertising campaign.


      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).
      Thanks to recent misuse of copyright material on the Internet by individuals and archival firms alike, we emphasize that your rights to this article are limited to viewing it and printing it for personal use only. You must receive explicit permission from the All Arts Council and the author before reprinting or redistributing this article in any medium.