ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 8 * * All Arts News On the Web * * June 3, 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.

      When it rains, it pours. There is a major concert, a weekend full of entertainment in Enosburg, and an art reception for a St. Albans painter. Good thing it will not rain on Dairy Days weekend.


      The Piatigorsky Foundation, the First Congregational Church, and the All Arts Council present Igor Begelman, Clarinet, and Tatiana Goncharova, Piano, in concert tomorrow evening at the Congregational Church.
      "I am a musician that happens to be a clarinetist. The clarinet is the tool of my trade in the music field," Igor Begelman said.
      Now in his fifth season as a Piatigorsky Foundation artist, Igor Begelman is renowned for his virtuosity and imagination. Mr. Begelman won the Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2000. He has appeared as a soloist with the Houston Symphony, L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Bienne Symphony Orchestra, Odense Simfoniker, New Haven, Savannah and Greenwich Symphonies. He has also performed recitals in Western and Eastern Europe, Canada, Mexico, Japan and Israel. Mr. Begelman teaches at Brooklyn and Swarthmore Colleges.
      Although the Foundation sends programs in advance of the concerts, "we don't usually play in concert halls with a Steinway grand so we have to give an approximate program." Once they arrive, he may adjust the program depending on the size of the hall, the acoustics, and the quality of the piano.
      Mr. Begelman expects to "do a couple of French pieces such as a sonata by Camille Saint-Saens, the chansonette by Gabriel Pierne, maybe a Poulenc sonata. French composers have been very successful writing for clarinet. I might do a Gershwin prelude and an arrangement of mine from 'Porgy and Bess.'"
      He didn't choose the clarinet. "We rarely do," he said. "Our parents do that for us. My mom was going after the strictest teacher because my behavior in class was desired to be a lot better. In search of ways to improve my behavior to get me busy with something useful rather than chasing cats outside, she sought a strict teacher.
      "Many people do not consider the clarinet a solo instrument," Mr. Begelman said. "People somehow decided clarinet was not a solo instrument [probably] because we have heard nothing but Mozart Concertos. Clarinet has so much to ffer as an instrument. It's probably one of the most expressive instruments. Much of the repertoire is wonderful. It is an instrument that can more-or-less easily adapt music written for other instruments. It is not the same the other way around." Mr. Begelman trys to "expand the repertoire as much as I can in order to prove to the skeptics that it is possible to maintain a solo career with a clarinet."
      Raised in Kiev, Ukraine, Igor Begelman came to the United States in 1989. "We came as political refugees because of the freedoms we didn't possess and the touch of persecutions we were subject of. Growing up in Russia as a Jewish boy, the prospect going to the Army could be the most difficult and devastating moments of one's life, so [his mother] also thought of finding an instrument that would be fitting for the army and would be useful in the army band. A violin wouldn't be one of those."
      He earned a Bachelor's from The Manhattan School of Music and a Masters from The Juilliard School of Music. "Manhattan School seemed like a better choice at the beginning because Julliard had a much stricter policy regarding English and theory. Even though I was probably better than most people in theory that were auditioning, the problem was the terminology and the language barrier."

      Solo performer, ensemble partner, and exceptional musician Tatiana Goncharova has performed throughout the United States, South America, Europe and Japan.
      Ms. Goncharova has soloed at Alice Tully Hall, Kravis Center, Caramoor, and the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, Ravinia, and collaborated with other artists at music festivals such as the Illona Feher Festival in Israel; Montpellier Music Festival in France, Great Composers Festival in Canada and Soestengberg in the Netherlands. She is an active performer at the Aspen Music Festival, Lyric Chamber Music Society in New York, Appalachian Summer Festival, and the Lucas Foss Music Festival of the Hamptons and is on the faculty of the National Arts Centre's Young Artists Program and the Perlman Summer music program. She made her debut with Minsk Philharmonic at age ten, won several National Competitions in the former Soviet Union.

      Mr. Begelman and Ms. Goncharova will also hold concerts and discussions in St. Albans Town Educational Center today and St. Albans City School tomorrow. In school programs he talks about the woodwind family and demonstrates the development of the clarinet as an instrument.
      Cellist Evan Drachman established the foundation in 1990 in honor of his grandfather, Gregor Piatigorsky The Piatigorsky Foundation integrates live classical music performances into the everyday life of communities across the country. Presented by local volunteers, the concerts are sited in areas where residents would not have access to these classical artists. This performance is one of the 150 concerts the Foundation will perform across the country this year. Piatigorsky Foundation concerts take place wherever people gather, in churches, libraries, museums, retirement communities, schools, synagogues, theaters, and workplaces.
      The Igor Begelman and Tatiana Goncharova St. Albans concert will be held tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church in St. Albans. Admission is free. "One of the things this church tries to do is not charge admission to the sanctuary," Pastor Judy Kennedy said. Donations will be accepted to fund ongoing programs like this one. Call 524-4555 for tickets and info.
      Igor Begelman and Tatiana Goncharova will also perform on Saturday at 8 p.m. at St. Michael's College.
      "I'd like to be doing what I am pretty much doing now," he said, "playing solo concerts, doing recitals, and playing with various symphony orchestras. That's pretty much what I would like to be doing for the rest of my life."


      The 48th Annual Vermont Dairy Festival starts a weekend packed with family entertainment tonight in downtown Enosburg Falls. June is National Dairy Month. The Festival celebrates "Milk... The Family Drink."
      "It should be super," Larry Larivee said. "We still have the unique things like shutting down Main Street to have the cow plop." With all new entertainment, "this should be the biggest and best year we've ever had. We're doing more and more for the kids so we have a lot more programs for the children."

THURSDAY--The Vermont Dairy Festival Scholarship Pageant is held at 7 p.m. in the Opera House at Enosburg Falls as college-bound seniors return for final judging.
      "We have eight girls," organizer Lise Gates said. "Four are from Enosburg, two from Richford, one from MVU, and one from BFA-Fairfax. They are really good girls."
      Most of the talent is singing. The speech topic this year is "What if?" Their physical fitness routine is a dance routine.
      "With eight girls there is a lot more room on stage. We can do a lot more," Ms. Gates said.
      The Enosburg Lions offer scholarship prizes for contestants. The overall winner receives a $750 scholarship; the first runner up receives $450 and second runner up, $300. Winners in creative and performing arts and in speech also receive $125 scholarships from the ticket sales. In the Opera House at 7 p.m.
      Admission is $8. Advance tickets are on sale Tuesday from 7-9 p.m. at the Opera House.

FRIDAY--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.
      "If we had dancing girls it would be great," Howard Ring said.

SATURDAY--The 35-piece Enosburg Town Band plays traditional brass band music on the Main Street beside the reviewing stand at 9 a.m.
      This Town Band is the oldest in Vermont with volunteer musicians ranging in age from 11 to over 70. Director Alisa Martin is a music teacher in Enosburg schools.
      They have never missed a season but it was close. Their regular concerts will continue thanks to generous donations from the community that replaced their stolen sound system and added to their music collection.
      William Sheridan will sing Oh Canada; his daughter Shelby will sing the Star Spangled Banner at the Invocation on the bandstand at 10:30.
      The 48th annual Mooooving Parade starts promptly at 10:30. With marching bands and mobile mooving murals, it is one of Vermont's largest parades.
      102.3 FM WLFE and the Vermont Dairy Festival present the 23rd Annual Colgate Country Showdown right after the Parade. It's a chance to meet your favorite WLFE radio personalities and cheer on local contestants in their quest for a ticket to Nashville. The Showdown is a contest for promising country music talent. Winning performers compete for the $100,000 Grand Prize and a chance to launch professional careers in music.
      Wild Card is the host band and will play again at 7 p.m. up to the fireworks.
      Almost six years ago Wild Card competed in the Showdown (lead singer Judy Norcross was five-months pregnant then). Now they have returned as the host band. They will meet the contestants and run through the songs Friday night. "We've been busting our butts learning the music," Ms. Norcross said.
      The Colgate Country Showdown begins each Spring with over 400 local talent contests sponsored by country music radio stations throughout the US. The Dairy Festival winner will advance to the state competition in New Hampshire. There will be eight contestants on Saturday.
      Wild Card plays top-40 country and a little bit of classic country and classic rock-n-roll. The band is Judy Norcross, bass guitar and lead vocals; David Norcross, keyboards and rhythm guitar; Keith Plattner, lead guitar and vocals; Carmi Robtoy, drums; and sound by Mike Witham.
      "We've all been in other bands over the years," Ms. Norcross said. These original members last played together as Final Factor. "This band has been working only since December. We're just getting going again but we've played with each other for so many years that it doesn't take much to throw it back together."
      They will play Franklin County Field Days and are working toward doing the New England circuit by next year. In May they performed benefits for Brianna Maitland and for a cancer victim in Middlebury.
      The PoppyTown Puppets and Music combine the excitement of a live band with the enchantment of a magical stage show. The show offers puppets playing musical instruments as children sing along. The fast paced, family oriented adventure stories have audience participation. Kids of all ages can "cheer the hero and boo the villain." The combination of professional puppets and live music is designed for children and adults of all ages. 3 and 6 p.m. in their own tent on the Park
      The Fiddler's Variety Show on Saturday afternoon is an assemblage of Canadian and American singers, dancers, pickers, comedians, cloggers, and fancy fiddlers. 4 p.m.

SUNDAY--James Lock returns with the Magic of Rock and Roll is a comfortable low-key illusion show at noon and 3 p.m.
      The Vegas-style Magic of Rock and Roll is a new show this year. James Lock will produce and vanish animals, perform large illusions, and tell stories while he performs. Built around 50s Rock and Roll music, "my wardrobe is very 50ish with the purple jacket and pink shirt," Mr. Lock said. There are a lot of "audience participation routines for adults and kids."
      The Society of American Magicians, the oldest magic organization in the world, named him Magician of the Year twice. He has been Magic Entertainer of the year and received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. He has worked with the Gatlin Brothers, Boxcar Willy, and Tiny Tim.
      "Very few people in this business every retire," he said. "We kind of scale back but we keep going on forever."

      The men and women of the Enosburg Lions volunteer their time to conduct service projects and raise funds for the local community. The Enosburg Lions work to help those in need, wherever the need exists. They contribute to senior citizens' programs, area school projects, community health services, the Enosburg public library, family assistance and drug/alcohol programs, fire and ambulance services, other non-profit organizations, scholarships, as well as to the Lions International sight and hearing programs. The Vermont Dairy Festival is the Enosburg Lions' primary source of funding for these programs with over $350,000 and thousands of man-hours donated over the years. They have given the community nearly $17,000 since the Dairy Festival last year alone. Speak to any member of the club during the Dairy Festival for more information or to join the Lions Club.
      The Lions/NMC Health Watch booth at the Dairy Festival features osteoporosis bone density screening, 10-2 on Saturday only. The screening is targeted for women over 50 and men over 65.
      Stop by the booth early. "We usually are pretty full," Cindy Rutkowski of Northwestern Medical Center said.
      The Dairy Festival midway opens at 6 p.m. Thursday. Entertainment on the bandstand starts Friday evening at 7 p.m. and the weekend activities begin at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday in downtown Enosburg Falls. Admission to the grounds is free and most events are also free.
      "It's going to be a good time," Tim Stetson said, "and we seem to have fairly good luck with the weather." He put in the order for good weather "a long time ago."


      Arts Alive of Burlington has accepted Jeanette Fournier of St. Albans into the juried Festival of Fine Art. There will be a gala opening reception in the Union Station Gallery on Friday from 6-8 p.m.
      A wildlife artist, Ms. Fournier is known for her detailed watercolor and pen and ink works of domestic and wild animals.


      Musicians competing in the Country Showdown often have trouble finding chord charts or lyric sheets. These resources are often online at or


      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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