ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 9 * * All Arts News On the Web * * June 9, 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.


      No, it's not the classic architecture of a college campus on Friday evening when Summer Music at Grace returns. The series presents a night with Rebecca Hall and Ken Anderson in concert at 7:30 p.m. in Grace Episcopal Church in Sheldon. Folk songstress Rebecca Hall's "songs are too good to stay at home," her husband and performing partner Ken Anderson said. Ms. Hall, on vocals and guitar, and Mr. Anderson, with backup vocals, bass, and harmonica, bring classic folksongs to the stage.
      A Boston native, Ms. Hall began a part-time career as a jazz and blues singer in the early 1990s. She studied guitar and started writing songs that echo the folk tradition with music and stories that deal with everyday concerns. Her music is simple and heart-felt.
      Mr. Anderson played piano and organ as a child, switched to drums as a teenager, and has played on pop and rock recordings.
      Rebecca Hall and Ken Anderson tour extensively; their June schedule includes Brattleboro and Montpelier plus Chicago, Maryland, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and the Minnesota Folk Festival. They have toured Europe three times. They have played alongside Laura Cantrell, Mark Erelli, Vance Gilbert, The Kennedys, Erin McKeown, David Olney, John Renbourn, Cheryl Wheeler, and more.
      Ms. Hall's CD Sunday Afternoon reached the top five on WUMB-FM Boston and is now distributed in Europe and Japan. Her first album, Rebecca Hall Sings!, is a collection of mostly original songs that evoke the best music of the late '50s and early '60s A third album is in the works.
      Summer at Grace is an ongoing series of inspired music in the sanctuary at 215 Pleasant Street in Sheldon Creek. Admission is $8/adults, $6 for seniors and students, and $20 for families. Call 326-4603 or click here for more info.


      The Red Barn Studio and Gallery in Montgomery begins its fifth season on Saturday with George Lochtie, photographer, Janis Hess, pen & ink, Pam Fischer, mixed media and Karen Scheffler, stained glass artist on exhibit.
      Native Vermonter and Red Barn artist-in-residence Michael Domina will again offer watercolor workshops on July 21-23 and September 22-24. His three-day workshops focus on impressionistic subjects on location. Some watercolor background is helpful, but not necessary. A member of the New England Watercolor Society, Mr. Domina demonstrates and offers individual instruction and critique.
      The gallery is open daily 10 - 5. Call 326-4672 for info.


STOWE--The Stowe Live Music Series has sponsored a series of performances to benefit the Rachel Bissex College Fund as well as local non-profits dedicated to funding research for a cure for breast cancer. The Rusty Nail will host the Series Finale on Saturday evening with singer/songwriter Colleen Sexton, the Jim Branca Band, and the Joey Leone Trio.
      Rachel Bissex died in February after a two-year battle with breast cancer. The talented folk singer and songwriter had played Franklin County events including Summer Sounds and was an active member of the Burlington City Arts. She also spearheaded the opening of the Burlington Coffee House.
      Charlie B's will feature a silent auction; bids and donations will be accepted at the performance. Dinner is served from 5:30 p.m. and the doors for the show open at 9 p.m. The suggested donation is $15.

BURLINGTON--The Queen City Contra Dance series presents the final Contra Dance of the Spring with caller Mark Sustic of Fairfax and Raz-de-Maree, Rachel Aucoin and Sabine Jacques of Quebec, at 8 p.m. at St. Anthony's. The series meets on the second Friday of each month except in July and August and holds a beginner's session at 7:45 p.m. Call 434-2446 or e-mail for info.

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 a piano bar on Friday evenings, live, popular music on Saturdays, and 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 Northern Vermont Artist Association has held a June Juried Show since 1930. Their 75th annual exhibit opens Saturday at the Mary Bryan Memorial Gallery in Jeffersonville with about 100 pieces of new artwork in all media. NVAA members include several All Arts Council artists.
      The show runs through July 10, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is free, although donations are welcome.


      Back by popular demand, the Vermont Maple Festival and the AAC will present a new season of Summer Sounds concerts, starting in Highgate Municipal Park on Sunday June 26. The lineup of big summer shows includes Bluegrass, Classic Oldies, Gospel, Jazz, and a Concert Band with performers from all over the country.
      Summer Sounds concerts are always on a Sunday night, always in a Town Park, always at 7 p.m. and always free. The complete schedule is online now.


      Ensemble Soleil is a group of four to seven musicians from Jericho Center who sing and play Renaissance music for viola da gamba, lute and organ as well as baroque and classical music for string ensemble and harpsichord/fortepiano. Their repertoire includes the multi-media events Arts of the Gentry in the Shakespeare Years; Crosscurrents: Spain and Italy at 1600; and Music, Medicine and Politics at Versailles.


      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.