ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 9 * * All Arts News On the Web * * June 23, 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.


      O. C. McCuin and Sons presents Roy Hurd and Friends in the first Vermont Maple Festival/Summer Sounds concert of 2005. Despite the green sign malfunction the show will go on this Sunday evening in Highgate Municipal Park. Mr. Hurd has an unparalleled following for his Adirondack anthems, environmental songs, love songs, and rockin' good time tunes. Joining him on stage will be Junior Barber and Jeff Rendinaro.
      The Summer Sounds concert will also be the Northern Vermont CD release party for his newest album, No Sad Stories Tonight. Its official release is July 1 but you'll hear it here, first.
      His recordings also include Poncho, Night Visit, The Back Woods at Daybreak, Forever Wild, Mountain Thunder, Lady of the Lake, and the Native story-telling album, Wolf Brother, a benefit for Ray Fadden. The storytelling and his smooth vocals in all his own songs show a breath of fresh mountain air.
      The singer and professional songwriter is a former staff writer for Sony Music Publishing and for Warner/Chappell, two of the largest music publishing companies in the world. His songs have been recorded by Paul Brandt (the SOCAN Award-winning Take It From Me) and Jo Dee Messina (Nothing I Can Do on her platinum release Burn), as well as the Gibson Brothers, Sonya Isaacs, David Kersh, the Oak Ridge Boys, and Duane Steele.
      "I'm a little more folk oriented and into pop."
      Writing for himself and as a performer, he said, "I'm not under the radio kind of structure. I get a chance to play songs for people who really aren't worried whether the chorus happens quick enough or if the bridge is enough a breakaway from the melody. The audience listens more with their hearts.
      "I love what I did in Nashville," he said, "but I love more coming home to play my heart for the people."
      Mr. Hurd's music has impact far beyond the Adirondack Park borders. He has developed two Arts in Education programs for elementary schools. The "Walk on the Mountain" storytelling, music, woodland skills program has delighted children and presented them with the concept of earth morals for the past 20 years. His "Rhyme Without Reason" songwriting program gives students first hand experience in the songwriting process.
      Junior Barber's soulful resonator guitar work appears most often in the roots country, bluegrass, and Americana music of the Beartracks band. Jeff Rendinaro has been playing the blues on harmonica and vocals for more than a decade in Plattsburg with his group Zip City.
      The Vermont Maple Festival presents the Summer Sounds concerts in Highgate to keep music and maple together all year. The concerts are sponsored by the Town of Highgate, and the All Arts Council, and underwritten by Chevalier Drilling, O. C. McCuin and Sons, Ray's Extrusion Dies and Tubing, Roy's Housing/Your Vermont Home, and The Tyler Place. The concerts are always on Sunday evenings at 7 p.m., always in a town park, and always free. Bring a blanket or a lawn chair and maybe an umbrella as you settle in to enjoy outdoor family music and fun.
      The community based All Arts Council brings the performing arts to northwestern Vermont. This series presents renowned national and regional artists in local Town parks. The complete concert schedule is online at summersounds.htm
      "I play music like I drive," Mr. Hurd said. "By ear." We recommend arriving at the park early.


      St Luke's Episcopal Church will kick off the fourth annual St. Luke's Art Gala in the parish hall with an opening wine and cheese reception tomorrow evening. St Luke's featured exhibitors for this show include the Bishop Street artists. Although some exhibitors are well known, respected artists, this will be the first public show for others.
      Louise Bellows Counos donated A Day on the Beach in oil for the St Luke's raffle. The winning ticket will be drawn at the show on Saturday afternoon. Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5.
      The St Luke's Gala Reception will be held in the Parish Hall of St Luke's Episcopal Church on Bishop Street on Friday evening, 6-8 p.m. The exhibit will continue Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission is free. Some works on exhibit are from private collections and many are for sale.
      For information about joining the Bishop Street Artists, call Jane Bower (802-524-3149), Barbara Hamm (802-527-7015), or Dennis Hayward (802-524-4057).


      The Studio Place Arts Gallery Committee is ready to set the 2006 exhibition calendar for all three SPA galleries in Barre. They have asked for ideas for a show at SPA that might intrigue, entice and engage.
      SPA wants artists and art appreciators alike to share ideas for exhibit themes, artists or community groups whose work should be on the walls in 2006. To end ideas by July 15th, call 802-479-7069 or e-mail SPA.


      International fine art photographer Gary Hall of South Burlington is a two-time Vermont Arts Council fellowship recipient. He photographs the urban and natural landscapes and specializes in architecture and interiors.


      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.