ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 9 * * All Arts News On the Web * * June 30, 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.


      Bay Day 2005 is more than family fun and fireworks. The 26th annual summer festival is a multi-faceted family day dedicated to the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp 1134 with the Great Race, lakefront games, sports, fair food, fireworks, and continuous live music. This familiar Franklin County family festival has new surprises including a visit from Governor Jim Douglas.
      Bay Day 2005 takes place in St. Albans Town Bay Park all day Sunday. The fireworks rain date is Monday, July 4. It's not going to rain, right?

SUMMER SOUNDS--St. Albans Bay Park will jump with "more fun than should be allowed by law" as the Handy Group--Handy Chevy-Olds and Handy Dodge-Toyota--presents the Slab City Independence Day tribute in the Vermont Maple Festival/Summer Sounds series at Bay Day on Sunday evening. Whew. I'm out of breath already and July at the Bay is just starting.
      The Independence Day play list has tunes everyone enjoys. "Our music ranges from Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard through Elvis and the Beatles, to the Eagles, a Doobie Brothers tune or two, AC/DC, with stops with Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, and Garth Brooks," lead guitar Bill Jock said. "We do take requests."
      Slab City is not East of Los Angeles in the bowels of the Mojave Desert. More often known as Earlville, NY, Slab City was the hometown of former Busco Bandits band member Dan Wills, bass and keyboards, who built the Slab City Studios there twenty years ago. Former The Edge musician Steve Vanier who plays everything, Jeff Larche, drums, and former "Ranch Riders" lead guitar Bill Jock joined the project.
      "We all had been playing in other bands before that," he said. "We come from mainly country and rock backgrounds. We all sing."
      They all have their own jobs, too. Mr. Jock manages a lab at Wyeth, sax player Steve Vanier is an attorney in Malone, Mr. Larche is a teacher in Watertown, and Mr. Wills is a pilot and flight instructor. "We did open for John Michael Montgomery at the Malone Airport," Mr. Jock said.
      The Vermont Maple Festival presents the Summer Sounds concerts in St. Albans to keep music and maple together all year. The concerts are sponsored by the Town of St. Albans and the All Arts Council, and underwritten by the Handy Group new car dealers, Key Bank, Merchants Bank, Northwestern Medical Center, and St. Albans for the Future.
      The community based All Arts Council brings the performing arts to northwestern Vermont. 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 as you settle in to enjoy outdoor family music and festivities.

LIVE MUSIC ALL DAY--the Town of St. Albans and the All Arts Council will offer live music for Bay Day starting at 1:30 p.m. on the stage at St. Albans Town Park at the Bay.
      Governor Jim Douglas will be on hand to dedicate the day to the CCC workers who built the park.
      "The family events also include music, hay rides, wrestling a kayak demonstration, a volleyball tournament, kids' obstacle course, face painting and more" starting at 1:30 p.m. St. Albans Town Parks and Recreation Director Glenn Pion said.
      MadJones performs a collection of the standards and substandards of rock. The band, all members of the Shelburne, VT, Jones family ranges from fourth grade to old enough, includes Mary Catherine on vocals, Eric on guitar, eleven-year old drummer extraordinaire Tim, and Caroline, 9, offering thrills and chills with backup on harmonica, tambourine, shakers, and vocals.
      "Imagine the Partridge Family meets the Who and Arlo Guthrie," said Mary Catherine Jones. Their repertoire of rock and roll favorites reaches from Arlo to Patsy Cline to Three Dog Night. Their shows in Vermont this year have included Shelburne Farms, the Addison County Fair, and the National Night Out. 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. at the Bathhouse Pavilion.
      Mark Sustic and Gary Dulabaum's performances include participatory music with songs and dance using fiddle, guitar, banjo, accordion, harmonica and more. This concert will include traditional American folk songs, songs every child should know, songs from books, sing-alongs, and fun. 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. at the Bathhouse Pavilion.
      Gary Dulabaum is a nationally known performer, recording artist, author, and educator from South Burlington. He travels extensively, appearing at conferences, seminars and teacher training programs throughout North America. His newest book and CD, My Teacher Rides a Harley has been featured on Morning Edition on National Public Radio.
      Mark Sustic is a presenter, musician and dance leader who appears at concerts, festivals and dances throughout New England. He is a teacher, early education consultant, and was coordinator of the Franklin County Early Childhood Programs for 20 years.
      Presented by St. Albans Town Recreation, the Bay Day-Summer Sounds social will be an all day event with the Bay Day food vendors starting to serve at about 2 p.m.
      Fireworks will begin at dusk thanks to generous contributions from the community.


      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls presents Social Band and the debut of their Vermont Composers Project in Franklin County next Friday, July 8, at the Opera House.
      Social Band is a group of twenty singers with strong voices and joyful performances. Their performances draw from the idea that folk and classical are parts of a musical continuum. They will perform new music from the shape-note tradition to gospel-influenced to the quirkily arty. Social Band will also feature music from American shape-note and Appalachian music, British Isle folk songs, Balkan and Georgian music, European medieval and renaissance music, and new pieces composed by Social Band members.
      Most of their music is polyphonic and much of it is modal. The shape note tradition brings rich and engaging harmonies in music originally developed in 18th-Century America. It is a living folk-hymn tradition with tunes are written in a notation invented to help untrained singers learn to read music. It is a capella music in four-part harmony with a sound both rich and stark.
      Tickets $12 for adults, $10 for senior and students, and $5 for children under 5 and are available at the All Arts Ticket Centers: the Opera House, Merchants Bank, and Enosburg Falls Pharmacy in Enosburg Falls and at Better Planet Books Toys and Hobbies in St. Albans. Call 933-6171 or email for tickets and info.


      The Fairfax Community Theater Company presents Annie, one of the world's best-loved family musicals starting Next Thursday, July 7 and continuing through July 9 at BFA Fairfax. The story of the spunky, Depression-era orphan is from the book by Thomas Meehan with lyrics by Martin Charnin and music by Charles Strouse.
      Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. each evening, with a 2 p.m. matinee on July 9. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students and seniors. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 849-2923, email, or click here.


      Social Band commissioned a program of new choral works from 25 diverse Vermont composers including Mary Alice Amidon, the late Rachel Bissex, Seth Houston, Troy Peters, Robert Resnik, Liz Thompson, and 19 more. Their site includes links to the Composers' pages, biographies, Social Band goals, and projects.


      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).
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