ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 8 * * All Arts News On the Web * * May 27, 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.


      Colleen Steen presents an Art Show in Colleen's Garden on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On exhibit will be Corliss Blakely, Janet Bonneau, Joanne Delaney, Joshua Derner, and Valerie Ugro. The free event coincides with the Vermont Open Studio Weekend.
      Vermont's premier artist, Corliss Blakely of St. Albans, will exhibit new oils, watercolors, and limited edition prints.
      Fairfax photographer Janet Bonneau creates color landscapes as well as macro closeups of the flowers in her garden.
      Joanne Delaney has horse paintings in pastel and watercolor and a loon in watercolor and pen-and-ink. She works in pastels, colored pencil, watercolor, and acrylics.
      Josh Derner is best known for his colored pencil wildlife imagery. He also works in acrylic, pastels, and watercolor.
      Valerie Ugro is painting and exhibiting again regularly. She has an ongoing exhibit at the Jay Peak Hotel. In this show, her acrylic paintings and prints feature the landscape around us.
      Colleen Steen's "water gardens are the spot for teas and luncheons with goldfish and water lilies and old fashioned flowers," Corliss Blakely said. The gardens themselves are a work af art with waterfalls, ponds, stonework, and things constantly in bloom all season. The garden is located at 1218 Main Street (Route 104) in Fairfax.


      Grace Church in Sheldon presents the second annual Farewell Reunion Concert tonight at 7 p.m. in the opening event of the 2004 Summer Music at Grace series. The concert will feature traditional and original music, with singing and dancing from Vermont, Appalachia, Scotland, Ireland and beyond. The lineup of Vermont musicians and dancers includes David Carpenter, Michele and Fabe Choiniere, Gary Dulabaum, the Fiddleheads, the Foothills Fogies (Gerry Faulkenberg, Dave Hoke, Ed Paquin and others), Franklin Heyburn and Michele Lajoie, Jim McGinniss, Will Patton and Peter Mix, Rachel Schattman, Mark Sustic, Pete Sutherland, and more.
      This concert has become an annual event to raise money for the Tom Sustic Scholarship Fund. "It's great to have so many folks enthused about being part of it," host Mark Sustic said.
      Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Refreshments will be available. A suggested donation of $10/person will benefit the Tom Sustic Scholarship Fund, awarded annually to a graduating senior intending to become a teacher of young children.
      The concert is presented with support from the All Arts Council of Franklin County, Family Center of Northwestern Vermont, Messenger Print and Design, Mousetrap Pediatrics, Northwestern Medical Center and others. Call Mark Sustic (802-849-6968), e-mail, or click here for more info.


      "This is a big concert," Armand Messier said.
      All the BFA Choruses: the mixed Chorus, the Men's Chorus, the Women's Chorus, and the Chamber Singers, present a Spring Benefit Concert tonight at 7:30 p.m., at Holy Angels Church.
      The music will span from the 1600s to recent pop music such as Good Night Sweetheart and When You Believe from the movie The Prince of Egypt. There are spirituals ranging from four to eight parts including Ezekial Saw de Wheel. There will be pop music including Goodnight Sweetheart and a piece from the movie Prince of Egypt called When You Believe.
      The main chorus is about 90 members strong with about 35 men and 55 women.
      "It will be tight on the altar," Mr. Messier said, but that's a good thing. They will use the space in the church for some numbers to spread singers around the sanctuary. Thanks to heavy recruiting, the BFA Chorus has "the most guys of any chorus in Vermont. A lot of band students do chorus as well." Singing is a nice tie-in for the band member because it is a different approach to the music.
      The concert is a benefit for the Franklin-Grand Isle Emergency Food Shelf. "There is no admission charge," Mr. Messier said, "but we are asking people to bring a non-perishable food item.
      "We never charge for concerts," he said. "I think it's a real tangible thing for students to see food at the concerts. It's a good learning experience."


      The Enosburg Town Band will play before Vermont Thunder arrives at Lincoln Park on Sunday.
      Vermont Thunder, the Vermont edition of Rolling Thunder, brings public awareness to those who are still missing POWs and MIAs. The run begins on Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway in White River Junction on Saturday morning and ends in Enosburg Falls after covering a distance in miles that equals the number of Vermonters lost in Vietnam.
      "We'll play patriotic tunes and marches and a lot of John Phillip Sousa," Enosburg Town Band director Alisa Martin said. The program will include the Armed Forces Salute, Stars and Stripes Forever, el Capitan, God Bless America, and America the Beautiful.
      "We have a lot of new members this year," Ms. Martin said, many of whom are area high school students. The Town Band welcomes new members.
      The free concert will take place from 2-3 p.m. on Sunday.


      The Red Barn Studio and Gallery in Montgomery begins the 2004 season on Saturday with an exhibit of watercolors, acrylics, oils, stained glass, mosaic and photography by area artists. A vernissage will take place on Sunday, 2 - 5 p.m. at the gallery.
      Native Vermonter and Red Barn artist-in-residence Michael Domina will again offer watercolor workshops in July and September. His three-day workshops focus on impressionistic subjects on location. Some watercolor background is helpful, but not necessary. A member of the New England Watercolor Society, Mr. Domina demonstrates and offers individual instruction and critique.
      The gallery is open daily 10 - 5. Call 326-4672 for info.


      The Catalyst Theater Company of Burlington presents the 9th annual Thumbs Up! Showcase tonight at 7:30 p.m. and tomorrow at 3 p.m. in Contois Auditorium in Burlington. Led by Catalyst Theater Company artistic director Veronica Lopez, the Thumbs Up! Showcase features the performance talents of community members with developmental disabilities, their service providers and area performance artists. Catalyst Theater uses cast and production people from all over Vermont including Franklin County.
      General admission is $6 for adults, $4.99 for senior citizens and students, and $3.50 per person in groups of five or more. Tickets are available at the door or in advance through the Catalyst Theater Company. A portion of the ticket fee benefits the Contois Restoration Fund. Call 802-862-2287 or e-mail for reservations and info.


      The twelfth annual Vermont Open Studio Weekend will be held over Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Many artists and artisans work in studios located in or close to their residences. The studio tour shows how an artist thinks and works.


      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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