ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 9 * * All Arts News On the Web * * February 3, 2005


      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 or at the Overtime Saloon in St Albans 8-10 p.m. most Wednesday evenings, 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 Concerts for Grumpy Grownups series presents the Green Mountain Wind Ensemble at the First Congregational Church in St. Albans next Thursday, February 10, at 7 p.m. The program will include the first piece for concert wind ensemble written by Vermont composer Erik Nielsen as well as Hoedown by Aaron Copland, I'm Seventeen Come Sunday by Percy Grainger, a toccata by Frescobaldi, and the March to the Scaffold from the Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz. This is the scaffold for the guillotine, not the kind I put up to paint the house.
      The concert "will cover 400 years of musical history," director Eric Bushey said. Frescobaldi was born in 1583.
      It takes the students "a little longer to warm up to the modern composers but they get equally into them as the do the classical composers.
      "When they first played the Nielsen piece, the kids didn't like it because they didn't understand it. He is coming in to explain it and to talk about the new piece he is writing," Mr. Bushey said.
      In this column next week, we will meet Vermont composer Erik Nielsen. "He's in the process of writing a piece for us right now," Mr. Bushey said. "We commissioned him to write a piece to commemorate the 75th anniversary of BFA.
      "We're probably the second group to perform this Nielsen," Mr. Bushey said. "Who is to say that the music they are playing, the Nielsen stuff, isn't someday going to be as famous as the Frescobaldi who at the time he wrote it had a fairly limited audience. It's exciting. I try to impress upon the students that this new music could be the classics of 100 years from now.
      "Frescobaldi is more popular now than he was when he was alive. As is Grainger. Every school band under the sun plays Grainger. Berlioz had a hard time getting 'Symphonie Fantastique' staged more than a few times during his life and now you can hear it every couple of years here in Vermont by a group like the Vermont Symphony."
      An audience had to go to the early composers to hear their work performed. Today we can buy a record or turn on PBS or VPR any day.
      The Green Mountain Wind Ensemble has had a rebirth. "It's entirely BFA students," said Mr. Bushey. "I can rehearse them every day instead of once a week, so it's working out very well."
      The term "wind ensemble" or "concert band" is not well enough defined. "Band" itself is very broad since it can belong to almost any collection of instruments and singers including Dixieland bands, jazz bands, marching bands, rock bands, and even string bands whose members usually do not wear string ties. A wind ensemble is a group of classically trained wind and percussion instrumentalists. Often with 30-45 members, it is a small chamber band with sufficient size to lend depth to each part. Their repertoire is often composed for this specific number and arrangement of instruments.
      The 32 players of the Green Mountain Wind Ensemble range from sophomores to seniors at B.F.A.-St. Albans. They include FLUTE, Katelyn Billings, Shelby Colgan, Michelle Rawding, and Chelsea Weaver; OBOE, Tyler Smith and Deborah Weeks; BASSOON, Abigail Pierce; CLARINET, Ted Crosby, Kristen Paradee, Michele Powell, and Jordan Stahl; ALTO SAX, Abby Buck, Lindsey Duplissa, Eric Gunther, Addison Larrow, Kelsey Richard, and Stephanie Shaw; TENOR SAX, Emily Warden; BARITONE SAX, Alexie Hudak; TRUMPET, Andre Bolduc, Jillian Marshall, Fabian Rainville, Brian Sawyer, Anna Walsh, and Shane Wimble; HORN, Emma Keller and Gaelen Palmer; TROMBONE, Adam Cook, Javan DeGraff, and Chris Newton; EUPHONIUM, Andre Bolduc; TUBA, David Thieken; PERCUSSION, James Charron, Austin Walker, and Zachary Zawisza.
      The concert is a benefit for the Franklin-Grand Isle Emergency Food Shelf. "There is no admission charge," Mr. Bushey said, "but we are asking people to bring a non-perishable food item. Call Eric Bushey (802.527.6537) for info.


      Last week, I issued the first call for the 39th annual Vermont Maple Festival on April 22-24. The AAC will again showcase the best Franklin County musicians and host a major arts exhibit of area artists. More than 50,000 people attend this annual event, making it the largest Spring showcase in Vermont. Several people have called, but we do need more.
      For 2005, the Maple Festival art exhibit will be juried by Ann Gordon. The show is open to all Franklin County area artists in any media. There is no entry fee and exhibit space is free. Entries are due February 28.
      Solo singers, small ensembles, comic troupes, and bands from Franklin County can earn actual cash money by performing for us at the Vermont Maple Festival and we even do all the production. We have extended the deadline one week. Press kits and audition tapes, CDs or DVDs are due tomorrow.
      This week, I also begin a call for musicians for the Summer Sounds concert series. This series brings in groups not usually seen or heard in Franklin County. If you have a favorite band who has not performed here before, let me know. Bands should send press kits and audition tapes, CDs or DVDs as soon as possible.
      Email the All Arts Council or click here or for more info if you are an artist or musician.


TEEVEE--I will visit a Wind Ensemble rehearsal and talk with director Eric Bushey tonight on Neighbor to Neighbor. Adelphia Channel 15 airs Neighbor to Neighbor Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. The program repeats on Friday at 2:30 p.m. and the following Thursday, February 10, at 2 a.m.

FAIRFAX--The regular Music Session continues Saturday with acoustic instrumentalists playing traditional songs at the Foothills Bakery, 1-4:30 p.m. Admission is free by donation.

WATERVILLE--Cambridge Arts Council presents community dances on Saturdays at 7 p.m. in the Waterville Town Hall. The evening will feature contras, squares, circles, play parties and singing games and all dances will be taught. Bring a partner, the entire family, or come alone. Caller Mark Sustic offers dance instruction. Frank Heyburn and Michele Lajoie play. Guest musicians with acoustic instruments are welcome. Admission is $5 per person and $10 for families at the door.

ST. ALBANS--The Overtime Saloon offers Open Mic with Abby Jenne and Friends every Wednesday at 8 p.m. Abby encourages performers of all kinds to attend. If you need instrumental accompaniment, e-mail with the title/artist of song you wish to perform. Click here for more info.


      The Vermont Secretary of State maintains the 2004 Poster and Essay Winners Album with the poster contest on Official Vermont Symbols, a Vermont History contest, the Essay Contest on the Vermont Constitution, and the Essay Contest on Vermont Law.
      The 2005 Poster and Essay Contest deadline is April 1, 2005. No foolin'


      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 © 2005 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.