ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 8 * * All Arts News On the Web * * November 25, 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.


      At Thanksgiving time each year, I like to round up some area artists to share what they are grateful for at this time of year. One of the people I talked to said, "I can't think of anything profound." He called "the day to day things [we do] more important."
      "I am thankful for all my children in Nicaragua," said Corliss Blakely. Ms. Blakely taught 450 young art students last year and will return for a new series of classes in Central America in February. Vermont's premier artist, she lives in St. Albans,
      "I am thankful that the pundits of the 1950s were so grossly mistaken, that rock 'n' roll was not just a fad and that it has endured as a viable art form," musician Ray Bushy said.
      He has been recording sessions at the Saxony with early bands now coming back together including the Thunderbolts, Bill Kennedy and the Twilighters (who appeared on Dance Date on Channel 3), and Mike and the Ravens. "Ezra Mulheron and I used to cover Thunderbolts songs," he said of a time when he was too young to see that band play. "Some of that early music is very relevant.
      "As a father of three artistically inclined daughters, I am thankful for the new generation who are carrying the torch." When he and his daughter, Lara, watched the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night recently, he discovered that "as soon as that opening chord hit, all of a sudden she started bouncing in her seat and she sang the whole song." She knew all of the music.
      "We sing this stuff in school," she told him.
      "I am thankful that I live in the most beautiful part of the world, that I have a wonderful family, that I have art and I am able to do it at all times," said Marcia Brewster of East Fairfield. "That's the best part of it all." Ms. Brewster works in pastels, water color, acrylics, oils, and pen and ink, and created Franklin County's best-known 25-foot puppets at Hudaks. She sings in the popular Spiders.
      Lyle Glidden of Franklin was listening to the new Beatles CD. He was thankful for "re-establishing old friendships," said the self-described Captain Cranky, "and that the family is all still together. In the arts, that John Kains and my studio is finally a reality." He is a producer and engineer at Split Rock Audio Production in Plattsburgh.
      Photographer David Juaire of Georgia is "thankful for his youth." He is also thankful for "living in this area, the prettiest area in Vermont." The Vermont Life scenic photographer shoots with a medium format camera for its exceptional clarity and proves the beauty every time he takes it out.
      "I'm thankful for my life Louise and the musical heritage my father bestowed upon me," said Kevin Loomis. Edric Loomis founded the Citizens Concert Band in 1949 to continue a Town Band tradition in St. Albans. His son Kevin is the current director.
      "The usual family stuff, everyone is still in one piece," said Andre Maquera. "Musically, we almost have the 8084 album finished and the studio has never been busier. It's been non-stop." Mr. Maquera operates West Street Digital, recording, producing, and CD Mastering for bands, and creating audio mixes for television advertising.
      Alf Svendsen is thankful for "the constant struggle against banality in the arts.
      "It is the struggle of the artist to do so. There are so many people who just do genre work. That's kind of harsh," he said in a long conversation that touched on the importance of language in plays and the form of the art.
      Photographer April Henderson is known for her still-life closeups and whimsy. She sent me this short essay:
      "As we look upon this world and our country today, with all the divisiveness of beliefs and opinions concerning what is best for ourselves and others, 'gratitude' seldom springs to mind," she wrote. I am grateful, though, for the many opportunities afforded me to hear other's views, to broaden my sense of understanding, and to be willing to find another way of perceiving any situation through truly listening.
      "We live in fearful times, but fear and anxiety are not problem solvers. In all honesty, how much easier it seems to be to judge, criticize and condemn than to count the many small kindnesses and blessings in our lives. As a country, the very fact that we specifically have set aside one day each year which we proclaim to be a national day of Thanksgiving goes to the heart of something much larger than we -- the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. As individuals and as a whole, I feel we have a responsibility to demonstrate to ourselves and the world that our nation is founded on the principles of freedom, unity, generosity, open-mindedness, shared interests and gratitude. I experience people walking that talk every day. My thanks to you."


      The First Congregational Church presents the first Christmas Concert of the season on Sunday at 2 P.M. It will feature the Citizens Concert Band conducted by Kevin Loomis and the Community Singers conducted by Linda Smith. Soprano Miranda Bergmeier will solo with the Citizens Band and Doris Hughes will accompany the Community Singers on piano and organ.
      "The first half of the concert will be the Band and the second half will be Chorus and solo organ," Kevin Loomis said.
      Ms. Bergmeier will sing The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) and "Snow!," a medley of three snow-related numbers. Both pieces were written specifically for vocalist and band. Ms. Hughes' organ solos include Masters in the Hall to open the Chorus program and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas to close it.
      The Band program will include the fanfarish A Christmas Flourish, a beautiful arrangement of the March of the Toys, and Sleigh Ride. The Chorus will also perform Sing We Now of Christmas and "Some Children See Him." The finale will be the Band and Chorus coming together with Let There Be Peace on Earth.
      "The Community Singers has people who love to sing," said chorus director Lynn Smith. "We'll be doing the standard, wonderful hymns and songs that people love. People want to hear the songs they grew up with."
      "There will also be a sing-a-long with normal carols and a surprise," Mr. Loomis said.
      Admission is free but a goodwill donation will gladly be accepted at the door.


ST. ALBANS--Counterpoint will Christmas is Coming! perform in concert at St. Luke's church next Sunday, December 5. The professional chorus promotes choral chamber music and offers rarely performed works, unique arrangements, and the work of contemporary composers. The singers include Eric K. Brooks, Colleen Flynn Campbell, Melissa Chesnut-Tangerman, Robert De Cormier, Amy Frostman, Roger Grow, David Horn, Claire Hungerford of St. Albans, Nathaniel Lew, Marybeth McCaffrey, Brett Murphy, and Linda Radtke.
      The concert is sponsored by the People's Trust Company and Ben & Jerry's Homemade.


      As the holiday (art) shopping season begins,'s online listings of art and craft shows offer a search through thousands of nationwide art and craft listings. The site has promoter contact info, driving directions, weather reports, online applications, and even a comment box.


      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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