ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 8 * * All Arts News On the Web * * September 30, 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 the Some Kind of Wonderful New England Tour featuring gospel singers and Nashville recording artists Mark Shelton and Lori Jo Gardner with special guest Unknown Hour Saturday evening at 7 p.m.
      "We're having a blast," Mark Shelton said. "Lots of great people are working with us. Some people have gone to each concert and that's kind of a surprise, too."
      With strong Northeast Kingdom Vermont ties, both Mark Shelton and Lori Jo Gardner conduct concerts regularly as individual artists throughout New England, the U.S., and Canada. Special Guests include local Christian Band, "UNKNOWN HOUR" along with guest vocalists Lori Coronato, Cassady Gardner and Donna Shelton.
      Mr. Shelton and Ms. Gardner had the same Nashville record producer. Her album is Pierce My Ear; his is Radical.
      Mr Shelton was first recorded at age two. He had his first record contract in Canada doing Elvis Presley for Colony Records; he toured as Elvis "with the sequins and jump suit" and "sang in church choirs and high school choirs."
      He was in the Military Police in the army but sang all the time there. He began writing songs after his discharge and continued singing.
      We're just volunteers, he said of their roles as lay ministers. Donna Shelton is studying counseling and he is taking a concentration in music because he does "a lot of counseling with probation and parole and corrections."
      Lori Jo Gardner comes from a singing family. Her parents, the Reverend John Genco and Ruth Genco lead the Genco Family Singers. They toured New England regularly and made six albums in the 1970s. They also sang with the Dallas Cowboys and toured England. Ms. Gardner coaches soccer. "Her Littleton (NH) high school team went undefeated last year," Mr. Shelton said. They were best friends in high school.
      "On Sunday we sang in a 50-member choir" at the Newport Church of God, he said. "Lori Jo did some solos. I did some solos. Her mother and father were in the choir and her sister, Lisa, directed the choir." Some of the choir members come on the tour events and sing one of the final numbers.
      The Some Kind of Wonderful New England Tour moves to Milbury Mass on Wednesday, then to Boston, and returns to the Barre Opera House on October 23.
      Ms. Gardner's birthday is Friday, so I think the audience should sing Happy Birthday at the concert Saturday night.
      Tickets are on sale now. General Admission is $10 and $5 for students and seniors. 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. Call Concert Headquarters (802-754-2216) or the Opera House (933-6171) or Click here.


      VCCI will release of Advancing Vermont's Creative Economy, the final report and recommendations on Monday, October 4th, at 2 p.m. in the Cedar Creek Room of the Vermont State House. The public is invited.
      The report marks the official end of the VCCI mission. The Vermont Council on Rural Development convened this advisory group in May of 2003 to study the potential of the creative economy in Vermont.
      The Vermont Community Development Association Annual Meeting next Wednesday, October 6, will also focus on Vermont's Creative Economy. The morning program features a debate between Governor Jim Douglas and Burlington Mayor Peter Clavelle on economic development and a panel discussion organized by the Vermont Council on Rural Development. It takes place at Vermont Technical College in Randolph and pre-registration is necessary. Call Jessica (802.229.9111) for further info or to register.
      I will summarize the final VCCI report next week.


      Catalyst Theater Group invites Burlington area theater artists and other interested folks to a community-wide meeting on Monday to discuss the current state of theater in Burlington and to consider its future. Part of the discussion will involve the new black box theater at the Lake and College and Battery project on the waterfront. Franklin County actors participate regularly in a variety of Burlington productions.
      "We have all the information from past meetings," Ronni Lopez said. "We're going to start there and move on." Theater is a strong component of the community.
      The meeting will be held from 6-8 p.m. on the bottom floor at Union Station, One Main Street, Burlington. Ronni Lopez and Matt Wohl will facilitate. Call 802.862.2287 or e-mail for info.


      IBDB, the Internet Broadway Database, is patterned after the very popular and successful Internet Movie Database. The site offers an extensive, searchable database of Broadway credits, shows, and dates. There are records of productions from the beginnings of New York theater to the present with actors, crew, and production names as well as interesting facts and production statistics.


      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.