ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 9 * * All Arts News On the Web * * July 21, 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.


      Highgate Municipal Park will go wildly Celtic as Roy's Housing-Your Vermont Home presents Atlantic Crossing playing the ballads and instrumental music of Scotland, Ireland, England, New England, the Maritimes, and Quebec in the Vermont Maple Festival/Summer Sounds series on Sunday evening.
      Atlantic Crossing brings fun and a love for traditional music to a concert filled with creativity and high emotion with Rick Klein, guitar and vocals; Brian Perkins, mandolin, tenor banjo, bouzouki, feet, and vocals; Viveka Fox, fiddle and bodhran; and Peter Macfarlane, fiddle and vocals. Their stirring songs, haunting airs, and driving sets of dance tunes show the many moods of these musical traditions.
      Ms. Fox has played American, Scottish and Irish music since childhood, and loves the Gaelic soul and American exuberance of the music of Cape Breton. Her solo recording Shores of Champlain was released in 1993. Mr. Klein is a licensed captain who has lived and worked on the sea. He developed his powerful rhythm playing over years of dance band work. Mr. Macfarlane has relocated to Vermont from Oxfordshire, U.K. where he organized and led the Aylesbury Fiddle Rally, an annual fiddler's gathering and last year released a recording of original Scottish-style dance music with pianist Lilian Linden. Mr. Perkins is a music teacher and sound technician, as well as director of Burlington's popular Celtic College workshop series.
      The Atlantic Crossing arrangements of Scottish and Cape Breton music and their own original material feature driving rhythms, rich harmonies, and a love for the tradition. Atlantic Crossing has been featured in the Summer Sounds concert series, on Vermont Public Radio, and has toured the U.S. in England with appearances at festivals, concert series, and workshops. The completed a tour of the mid-Atlantic and mid-south in March. As a high energy contradance band, they have played some of the major dance series in the U.S., including Boston, Washington DC, and Seattle. Atlantic Crossing is also a member of the Vermont Arts Council juried register for the careful research they do, as well as for their solid rhythms and classical concert-quality craftsmanship.
      The band has released three CDs, all produced by Pete Sutherland: Groundswell, Full and Away, named one of the top 10 Vermont albums of 2000, and Wind Against The Tide.
      Just before the concert, stop by for Dessert in the Park at the Highgate Historical Society Summer Sounds social starting at 6:30 p.m. The social hour is a chance to visit with friends, enjoy tall tales of Highgate, and to eat finger foods and mapley delights.
      Atlantic Crossing will join Banjo Dan and the Midnite Plowboys and Pete Sutherland and Friends for Greenup Vermont's 35th Anniversary Celebration at Shelburne Farms Sunday afternoon before traveling north to Highgate.
      The Vermont Maple Festival presents the Summer Sounds concerts in Highgate to keep music and maple together all year round. The concerts are sponsored by the Town of Highgate, and the All Arts Council, and underwritten by Chevalier Drilling, O. C. McCuin & Sons, Ray's Extrusion Dies & Tubing, Roy's Housing/Your Vermont Home, and the Tyler Place.. The rain site is the Highgate United Methodist Church. The Highgate Historical Society hosts this week with a spread of modern and delicious foods. Summer Sounds 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 festivities. The community based All Arts Council brings the performing arts to northwestern Vermont.


GRACEFUL SHELDON--Grace Church presents Erik Kenyon performing works by Handel, Bach, and Sweelinck on the Erben Organ in the fourth concert of the Summer Music at Grace season tomorrow evening at 7:30 p.m.
      Erik Kenyon gives a farewell recital program of music that works well for the historic Erben organ. He will perform Sweelinck's 'Mein Junges Leben' which was played at the organ's re-dedicatory recital, all four of Handel's Organ Voluntaries which show off the instrument's fine trumpet and cornet stops, Vierne's Bercuse, and the rollicking Buxtehude Jig Fugue and the Prelude to Bach's Partita in E.
      Mr. Kenyon has been the Grace Church Organist 6 years and the driving force behind the Erben Restoration Project. He is now leaving for Cornell to pursue doctoral studies in Mediaeval philosophy.
      Admission is free but donations help keep the music alive. There will be a dessert reception following the performance. Email Beth Crane or click here for complete info about the Summer Music at Grace series.

GRAND ISLE--The Vermont Park Department presents the Fiddleheads in concert at Grand Isle State Park on Saturday evening at 7 p.m. The Fiddleheads are a middle school and high school fiddle and dance troupe who perform music based in the French Acadian, Irish, Scottish and other cultural heritages of northern Vermont. E-mail for more info.

LUDLOW--Yankee Chank will fill the bandstand at Veteran's Memorial Park with extra-spicy Vermont Cajun dance music on Sunday evening, 7-8 p.m. The band includes Bob Naess, fiddle, Cannon Labrie, accordion, Jim Burns, guitar and fiddle, and Mark Sustic, bass and triangle.

ENOSBURG FALLS--The Enosburg Historical Society presents Sprightly Steps: Vermont's Contra and Square Dancing Tradition with Adam Boyce on Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the American Legion Hall. Although many of Vermont's early settlers frowned on the dancing, the tradition grew from kitchen tunks to fancy balls. Mr. Boyce will discuss the change of musical styles and culture over the years.
      Call Adam Boyce (802-433-1283) or e-mail for info.

FAIRFAX--Fiddling with your head is a popular business as the Fairfax Community Library presents the Fiddleheads in concert at BFA-Fairfax on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Admission is free.
      Email Betsy Wagenknecht or Mark Sustic for info.


      The Catalyst Theater Company rehearsal and camp is now accepting applications
      "Wanna learn more about acting? Do you like making people laugh?" Catalyst Director Ronnie Lopez asked. "Do both!"
      This two week evening workshop for high school students is structured to make friends, learn the fundamentals of acting, and to develop and rehearse an original sketch comedy show that will be performed in the new Waterfront Theater in Burlington. The camp will focus on basic acting skills as well as comic timing, character building, script writing, and improv.
      Instructor Nathan Hartswick's one-act play, Cafe Murder, published Fall 2004, is the fastest-selling new play in Pioneer Drama Services history. He grew up in the Vermont Children's Theater. He later wrote plays, taught workshops, arranged music, coached acting, and directed at VCT. He has also taught private music lessons, jazz improv classes, drama workshops and camp programs for ages 8-18 in NYC.
      The Rehearsals/Camp will be held weekday evenings, August 8-19 at 6-9 pm. on Church Street in Burlington with the performances staged at the new Waterfront Theater. The cost is $150 per student; enrollment is limited. Call Catalyst Theater Company (862-2287) for info


      Firefly Productions is a not-for-profit theater company focused on the production of new and exciting plays in Cambridge. Each year Firefly produces a new play for performances around Vermont and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. Firefly's typical season includes an original dinner theater, a children's play performed in black light, the Nancy Weil New Play Search work, and more.


      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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