ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 8 * * All Arts News On the Web * * December 16, 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.


      Franklin County lost a friend of the arts on Friday when Jon Haldane Scott of Enosburgh passed away unexpectedly in Montreal. He was 57. Mr. Scott served as an All Arts Council director and supplied much of the momentum behind the Opera House Renovation. He helped to craft an enduring partnership between the AAC and the Opera House for public performances and to strengthen the arts community behind the scenes. Donations to the Friends of the Opera House, P.O. Box 1250, Enosburg Falls, VT, 05450, will be greatly appreciated.
      Flow gently, my friend. We will all miss you.


      So, did the inch of winter storm warning keep you home over the weekend? You don't like trudging down the Interstate to the "big box" stores? A gift of art is the most enduring present at any time of the year. Most of the items in this list are available at local stores or directly from the artists.

      Eric Bataille has painted A Winter Scene at Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge--Mac's Bend Trail in oil. The painting is available at the Blue Eyed Dog Gallery in St. Albans. Call Mr. Bataille (802.527.0440) for info.
      Bob Brodeur has some beautiful new digital landscape photographs with "wonderful filters." Call Mr. Brodeur (802.527.7436) for info.
      Corliss Blakely, Vermont's premier fine artist, portrays the homes, farms, and antiques of her Vermont ancestors in oil. She also travels to Nicaragua to teach art to the children there each spring; over 450 kids have participated so far. She has a new limited edition print of a woman selling fruit in Nicaragua. "100% of the proceeds go to the cost of buying art supplies for the children," she said. Her prints are available at Rail City Market or directly from Ms. Blakely (802.524.9339). Visit to see her work.
      John Cassel has two new albums which we will review in upcoming columns. "Jade Lady is a very exciting CD because I've been working on it for years," he said. He started recording this eclectic mix of songs 25 years ago with players from Maynard Ferguson and Dave Brubeck's bands. Mr. Cassel found the two inch reels last year, transferred them over to digital at the West Street studio, added new material, and finished them. The musicians include Paul Asbel, Mike Banas, Darius Brubeck, Skeeter Camera, Dave Ellis, Dick Ellis, Will Gallison, Andre Maquera, Bobby Militello, Mitch Mitchell, Balloon Mosella, Will Patton, John Rivers, Gary St. Martin, and Steve Weinert.
      Dinner Music at the Trapp Family Lodge is a new release of Mr. Cassel's piano magic of the background music you love to hear.
      Jade Lady and Dinner Music will both be available before Christmas at local outlets and through Call John Cassel (802.827.3705) for info.
      The Counterpoint Christmas CD has some great southwestern Christmas music, a Swedish carol, a Puerto Rican carol, and an African Christmas song, as well as Away in the Manger. "It truly is a 'Christmas around the world CD'!" Claire Hungerford said. It is available at As The Crow Flies, the Dressing Room, the Kept Writer, and Rail City Market and on their site,
      Rail City Market has framed whimsical photographs by April Henderson for sale. Prices range from $20-$60.
      Natalie LaRocque-Bouchard of Franklin hand-paints Vermont Welcome slates with Vermont scenery--mountains and lakes or small animals, and florals--and Welcome painted in script. They are available for $20 at L.G. Printing, 75 North Elm Street, St. Albans, until Christmas. She also fills custom orders. Call 802.933.8370 or e-mail for info.
      It is hard to find an Allard Brothers concert anymore, but Bill Lunna has some original Allard Brothers 45s left with Clap your Hands and Magical High, the song Mike Allard wrote. Call Mr. Lunna (802.868.2122) if you want a collector's item for Christmas.
      Karen McFeeters' Maybe Day CD could sell out just by counting her St. Albans family and friends, but she has plenty for the rest of us. It is available at Rail City Market and the Kept Writer and online at
      Sculptor Kate Pond created Sunfix for Judy, Franklin County's first major public sculpture at the Highgate Springs border station. Mani Steel is Ms. Pond's current step into Tibetan calligraphy in which she translated the mantra of the Buddha of Compassion from the traditionally carved "mani stones" to (smallish) steel. Sculpted of corton "weathering" steel with a bees wax finish, "it's the seed syllable 'hung'," she said. It can hang on a wall or rest in a garden. Visit for info.
      Blues singer/songwriter Nobby Reed's new CD was reviewed here last week. The Nobby Reed Project played a Fletcher Meeting House benefit recently. They will play The Area in Newport, RI, on Saturday and Middle Earth Music Hall on New Year's Eve. His CDs are available Better Planet and As the Crow Flies and from
      There are more than 60 All Arts Council members and other Franklin County artists with work for sale or public exhibit listed at the AAC online. Each listing includes an email address, website and a brief description of the artist's work. Click here for info.


BURLINGTON--The continuing Events for Tom Series presents Nowell Sing We Clear on Friday at 7:30pm in FlynnSpace. Email Mark Sustic for more info.

WINOOSKI and COLCHESTER--Abby Jenne performs with the Band at the Monkey House in Winooski on Friday night at 10 p.m. and then at B.U.'s in Colchester on Saturday at 8:30.

HYDE PARK--The Lamoille County Players present the Fifth Annual Holiday Night with George Woodard, Cold Country Bluegrass, Mark Roberts and others on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Hyde Park Opera House. Proceeds will benefit the opera house restoration.


      The Christmas season brings out some wonderful new CDs. I asked engineer/producer and "really good sound guy" Lyle Glidden of Split Rock Audio Productions to review two of them. Here is his second report:
DECEMBER IN VERMONT--For those of you who have either seen Diane Zeigler live in concert or own one of her three previous CDs, I need not expound of the fact that she is one of the Green Mountain State's National Treasures. She possesses an elegant artistry laced with poise and self-confidence.
      December in Vermont, a seasonal tribute to the Christmas holiday, is a tasty addition to the Zeigler catalog.
      Diane has chosen some of the best traditional and modern carols, as well as her beautiful title song for this reverent and yet buoyant set of holiday music. The CD is laced with a few of the holiday's less heard gems. Once In David's Royal City", "Lo, How A Rose E're Blooming and The Cherry Tree Carol are but three that grace the wonderful tribute to the birthday of the King of Kings.
      Following Diane's folk roots, the instrumentation is almost completely acoustic, save the appearance of an organ on It Came Upon A Midnight Clear.
      Diane and husband Geoff Sather play most guitars and basses. Augmentation comes from Adam Frehm, dobro, lap steel and mandolin, Mary Jane Reynolds, Keyboards with David Crossland and Gregory Douglass joining Diane and Geoff on vocal harmonies. The vocals are beautifully recorded and harmonies are complex, tight and lush.
      The CD was recorded by Geoff Sather and Diane at their new ProTools studio in Montpelier. They can be very proud of the two projects of which they have artistic control over. Both this and Diane's last CD [Paintbrush] are rich and warm without a trace of digital harshness. Alan Stockwell of the Stockwell Brothers mixed and mastered the disc at Sounddesign Studios in Brattleboro, VT. Adam Frehm's tracks were over-dubbed at his studio in Essex Junction.
      This is one of the best Christmas CD's you will find for holiday season 2004, an album that will be in my disc player long past Christmas.

      December in Vermont is available at The first copy is $15 and $10 for each CD thereafter with $1 s/h per disc.
--Lyle Glidden


      Charmane Rae Kelley of Johnson actually grew up in rural Garfield, Vermont. Her poetry stems from her childhood, family, and the people she meets in her travels. Her poem "On Uncle John's Farm" appears in the "Dan River Anthology" and her lyrics, "Beneath a Country Moon" will be produced by Kirk Comiskey of Nashville Music Productions this fall.


      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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