ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 9 * * All Arts News On the Web * * August 18, 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 Vermont Maple Festival/Summer Sounds series plays Highgate Municipal Park on Sunday as the Tyler Place presents the Upstate New Yorkers. The concert will include original songs plus the covers of the great country music artists of the past. "There's still a lot of comedy," Gary Finney said, "and we play the really old time country music, the way it used to be."
      The Upstate New Yorkers are Gary Finney, keyboards; Leon Lancto, guitar; and Donnie Perkins, fiddle. They play all of Merle Haggard and George Jones' music plus Deliverance and other bluegrass, and a wide range of originals. Mr. Finney wrote Upstate New Yorker, the song that brought them national recognition. The group has worked with Johnny Russell, Little Jimmy Dickens, Gene Watson, Stonewall Jackson, and many others.
      "We've never been so busy," he said in a refrain of last summer. This week they play every night, Wednesday through Sunday. They also played the wild, wild West night at the Westport Marina. The restaurant invited dance goers to wear cowboy boots and 10 gallon hat or kerchiefs and full skirts and to try a buffalo burger for dinner.
      "We always save one portion of the show for requests," Mr. Finney said.
      Just before the concert, stop by for Dessert in the Park at the AAC-Summer Sounds social starting at 6:30 p.m. The social hour is a chance to visit with friends, and to eat finger foods and mapley delights.
      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 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. The rain site (if needed) is the Highgate United Methodist Church.


     The Fairfax Community Theater Company needs to fill a cast of five women and three men for Dancing at Lughnasa, a play by Brian Friel. Auditions will be held on August 23-24 at BFA-Fairfax, starting at 7pm.
      Dancing at Lughnasa is the story of 5 sisters caught between modernization and their historical way of life in 1936 Ireland. The sisters’ struggle with the changes in Ireland, their nephew’s itinerant Welsh father, their elder brother, a priest who has come home to die, and their own primal urges. The five women are ages 25-45-ish. The three men range from 25 to 30ish to over 50. The story is directed by Margie Cain and produced by Kevin Christopher.
      Auditions will consist of readings from the script, to be provided at that time. Performance dates are October 6, 7, & 8 at the Brick Meeting House in Westford.
      Call 802.849.6638 or email for more info.


BURLINGTON--A benefit concert full of hot music for Haiti will feature Steel Rail Bluegrass (Jim McGinnis and Jim Daniels) and Espri-Tambu with Johnny Scovel starting at 6 p.m. tonight at the Upper Pavilion in Oakledge Park. The concert will raise funds and awareness for HURAH (Human Rights Accompaniment in Haiti). Call 802-999-5565 for info.

GRAND ISLE--Island Arts presents Voulez-vous Danser with the Michele Choiniere Band in concert next Tuesday, August 23, at 7:30 p.m. in the Grand Isle Lake House. Accordionist Sabin Jacques and pianist Rachel Aucoin will accompany Mlle Choiniere in an evening celebrating the French heritage. Voulez-vous Danser is a blend of traditional Franco-American and Quebec folk songs, original compositions by Michele Choiniere, and covers of well-known artists.
      There will be an instructed Quebecois contra dance about 8:30 p.m. with caller Mark Sustic.
      Island Arts brings high quality arts experiences to the residents and visitors of Vermont's Champlain Islands. Proceeds from ticketed events will help underwrite free programming for children, scholarship support for talented Island residents, and grants to enrich the arts offerings in Grand Isle County's school.
      Tickets in advance $10.00, at door $15.00. Tickets available through the Champlain Islands Chamber of Commerce in North Hero, Alburg Country Store, Green Frog Gift Shop in South Hero, Hackett s Orchard in South Hero, The Back Chamber in North Hero, Isle La Motte Country Store, and the Flynn Regional Box Office. This event is sponsored by the Preservation Trust of Vermont and the Vermont Arts Council. Click here for more info

MONTPELIER--Gary Dulabaum and Mark Sustic will perform at the Walk for Children on the Statehouse lawn in Montpelier on Saturday at 10 a.m. Call Prevent Child Abuse Vermont (802-299-5724) for more info.

MONTPELIER--Yankee Chank (Bob Naess, fiddle, Cannon Labrie, accordion, Jim Burns, guitar, and Mark Sustic, bass) play the Black Door Saturday evening. This group of Cajun musicians from Vermont performs the traditional two-steps and waltzes played in the rural dance halls and honky tonks of Southwestern Louisiana. Their name originated as Chanky Chank, the term Cajun musicians in Louisiana use to describe their traditional, music. Those same musicians call the same music played by non-native musicians "Yankee Chank."
      This group specializes in. Call 223-7070 or click here for more info.


PORTRAIT PAINTING AND SCULPTURE COMPETITION (September 8)--US painters and sculptors will compete for $25,000 in cash awards and commissioning opportunity for the National Portrait Gallery's permanent collection. The portrait must be of person with whom the artist has had direct contact. Call 202-275-1824 or click here for more info.

NEW DIRECTIONS '05 (September 9)--The Barrett Art Center in Poughkeepsie hosts its 21st annual national juried contemporary art exhibition open to painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, photography and mixed media. Call 845-471-2550 or email for info.

MATERIALS: HARD & SOFT (September 28)--The Greater Denton Arts Council hosts this juried national contemporary craft competition and exhibition beginning January 28 in Texas. Cash awards. Entry fee. Call 940-382-2787 or click here for more info.


     The Constitution Brass Quintet has been entertaining Vermont audiences of all ages since their first ever Vermont performance in the Summer Sounds Concert Series. From Renaissance to Ragtime to Contemporary music by Vermont composers, the quintet’s repertoire spans over four centuries of music.


      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.