ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 8 * * All Arts News On the Web * * September 9, 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 Opera House at Enosburg Falls presents Echoes from the Opera House, a celebration of song from Opera to Broadway in the ongoing Mentors Series, on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Echoes features Sarah Sheperd and Eduard Oprea with oboist Kathleen Evans Oprea, accompanied by Marcia Perry.
      "It's going to be a nice night of a pretty eclectic bunch of music," said opera singer Sarah Sheperd. The program will include Donizetti, Handel, Mozart, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Poulenc, Rossini, and more.
      She will sing from Handel and Rossini. "I'm also doing some standard music theater, Rodgers and Hammerstein including some pieces from 'Showboat' and 'Carousel,' so there will be some lighter things in the second half," she said. Mr. Oprea will perform folk songs and some lighter traditional pieces.
      "We'll do Mozart [together], the happy moments with Marriage of Figaro," Mr. Oprea said. "We will do duets from Don Giovanni and I'm ready with Lucia d'Lammermoor and L'Elisir d'amore."
      Oboist Katie Oprea will perform the Sonata for Oboe by Poulenc.
      Ms. Sheperd grew up in Enosburg. "I danced and when I got to college I got into classical singing," she said. "I was more interested in doing Broadway and being an actor. I sort of fell into Opera. I did my graduate work and have been working professionally out of Chicago for six or seven years."
      "I've been pretty fortunate," she said of a hard career to succeed in, let alone succeed financially. She numbers several modern operas among her successes including the world premiere of Philip Glass' new opera Galileo Galilei by the Tony award-winning Goodman Theater of Chicago. "We took that to New York to the [Brooklyn Academy of Music] Next Wave Festival and then to London."
      Mr. Oprea is from the former Soviet Union. He and Katie Oprea originally of Bakersfield "met in Romania because she played there in the Opera House orchestra and I performed in the opera chorus. We traveled throughout Europe performing 30-something titles of opera. We decided to return to my wife's homeland. She performs in the VSO and I used to be in the VSO Chorus." They now live in St. Albans.
      "Dinny Hawksworth asked if we could perform," Mr. Oprea said. "I look forward to performing any time" because he has found it difficult to maintain a professional schedule in Vermont.
      Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $5 for children under 12. Tickets are available at the All Arts ticket centers: Enosburg Pharmacy and Merchants Bank in Enosburg Falls, at Swanton Rexall, and at Better Planet and at the Kept Writer in St Albans.


      The question on everybody's mind this week is, What effect does barbecue sauce have on a horn?
      This Sunday, the First Congregational Church presents a combined Chicken Barbecue and Citizens Band Concert.
      "We're not planning to get any sauce in our horns," Citizens Band director Kevin Loomis said. "We try to keep separated from the food section in case things splatter or get messy."
      The band and the barbecue begin at 11:30. The band will play for the first hour, but the food continues until 1:30.
      "We have real honest-to-goodness chicken barbecue," said organizer Lynn Smith. "It is not parboiled. It is not started. It is slow cooked on the barbecue. It is marinated with Wade Smith's Special Sauce." The lunch includes chips, pickles, beverages, and a variety of homemade cookies.
      Mr. Smith will bring the crew together on Saturday to wash down all the chickens and pat them down with seasonings; they marinate overnight. He then slow cooks them with a basting sauce of garlic and lemon and butter.
      The concert will include pop tunes, marches, show tunes, and probably Tijuana Brass in Concert. "That's one of our new pieces this year." This big, jazzy, brassy piece has been a hit with the audiences. "People can relate to it," Mr. Loomis said. "All generations like the Tijuana Brass."
      "We will play in the driveway with the back of the band up against the courthouse. It makes a nice backdrop and the sound gets pushed forward." And it is within sight of their own bandshell.
      The band rehearses at the Congregational Church in one of the Sunday School classrooms. They have picked up three new people this year, one clarinet and two trombone players this year. Sunday will be the final full Citizens Band concert of 2004. "The season was good," Mr. Loomis said. "We had some rain in Swanton but in St. Albans we dodged the rain every week." In the even of inclement weather, the barbecue and concert will move inside the church.
      "We encourage people to bring lawn chairs for listening to the music," Ms. Smith. The cost is half chicken with all the fixings and cookies for $5 and a quarter chicken similarly accoutered for $4.


      Mark Montalban believes that we all know how to paint. His workshops under the Elder Art Program have opened the palette box for many Franklin County students to prove the theory.
      Painting Joyfully with Watercolor is an eight-week workshop beginning next Thursday at the Barlow Community Center. Instructor Mark Montalban will offer students ways to develop creativity with watercolor as a medium. The workshop features a combination of exercises and learning techniques geared for new students as well as the regular artist looking for something new. There will be an outdoor class in Taylor Park on September 30th. This 8 week course costs $90 without materials, $110 with all materials including papers, paints, brushes, palette and drawing board. It will meet every Thurday, 10 a.m.-12 noon. Call the St. Albans Recreation Dept. (524-1519) for info.


      Radio host Tony Gualtieri and poet Michael McDonaghis maintain the Classical Music Their reviews include the premiere of Philip Glass' Galileo Galilei at BAM, Joseph Waters' The Populist Manifesto and many other works. Mr. Gualtieri hosted The Classical Salon on KUSF-FM in San Francisco. Mr. McDonaghis writes for The Bay Area Reporter, 21st Century Music, New Music Connoisseur, and the online publication San Francisco Classical Voice.


      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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