ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 9 * * All Arts News On the Web * * September 1, 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 All Arts Council of Franklin County presents the forty-third season opener of the Vermont Youth Orchestra, on Sunday, September 11, in the MVU Theater in Highgate. Led by Music Director and Conductor Troy Peters, the VYO will present a program of Jedi Knights, Cowboys, and other Heroes.
      Courage. Youthful optimism. Heroic feats.
      "Because we had the last Star Wars movie coming out," Troy Peters said, "I figured this would be a good time to bring out some Star Wars music and so we built this program of heroes just thinking of that theme and had this calendar coincidence that turns out to be perfect for the day."
      The energetic concert features Rossini’s Overture to William Tell, and the Overture to Wagner’s politically-charged Rienzi, the Last of the Tribunes.
      "It's a bouquet of short pieces with the recurring theme of heroes," Maestro Peters said.
      The orchestra also offers the Vermont premiere of Possibly, written by Micah Hayes, an Oregon-based composer who originally penned the piece for his California rock band. Mr. Hayes was jointly commissioned by the Saint Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the Vermont Youth Orchestra to write this work.
      Youth Orchestra people talk to each other, often to point out composers or soloists or conductors who offer a good fit.
      Commissioning composer Micah Hayes came about when "Mark Thayer at the St Louis Symphony wanted to put together a set of youth orchestras. That way, we all spend less money than we might otherwise. It costs us each less than it would otherwise and he gets more performances.
      "You then also have the composer to work with the kids and give feedback. With Micah Hayes, we've been recording rehearsals. I send him the CD and a few days late, he sends back his comments. That's really valuable. That direct connection is invaluable."
      Each VYO concert also shows off the individuals in the orchestra. At the end of each year all high school juniors may audition for a slot as a soloist. Usually 10-15 participate. "Based on that audition, almost like a competition we create a ranking," he said. As many students as possible get to play with the symphony or with one of the younger orchestras.
      "We have two especially strong students, a phenomenal French Horn player and a wonderful cellist," he said. "This concert has two sort of unusual concertos. They are not top-40 standards but they are pieces the kids picked out. They are both pieces I didn't know before the kids brought them to me and they're great." It has happened regularly over the years because the soloists choose the music they want to play. "The students will audition with an unusual solo piece and I get to learn all this repertoire that I wouldn't have thought of on my own."
      Trevor Bergeron, horn, of Essex Junction is featured in the Horn Concerto by Gordon Jacobs. Cellist Daniel Hollier-Cross of Charlotte will play the Concert Piece in D major, Op. 12 by Dohnanyi.
      The Vermont Youth Orchestra has been heating up Franklin County with lively music in concerts at the MVU theater since 1998. The theater has the best acoustics of any concert hall in Vermont. It is also the friendliest because the audience is so intimately close to the stage. That connection is particularly important to the musicians. Unlike at the Flynn and other better known stages, the VYO musicians can see and hear and feel the audience at MVU.
      "It's a fun room to play," Maestro Peters said.
      The VYO concert at MVU will open at 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 11. It is presented by the All Arts Council, sponsored by the St Albans Messenger, and hosted by the MVU Band Department. General Admission is $5 and only $2 for students and seniors. Tickets will be available at the All Arts ticket centers: Enosburg Pharmacy and Merchants Bank in Enosburg Falls, at Swanton Rexall, and at Better Planet and at the Kept Writer in St Albans. and at the door on the day of show.

VYO Ticket Information
      Season tickets are available through the VYOA office Call 802-655-5030 before September 9. Single tickets to the Flynn go on sale to the general public on September 9. Call 802-86-FLYNN or


     The new Ballet School and Dance Arts Building opens next week with a fall schedule set to start on Tuesday, September 6. The expanded school has invited other dance instructors to share the space.
      As the season begins, Maryellen and Ruth Vickery will teach Ballet most evenings. Kevin Laddison will teach Ballroom Dancing on Tuesdays. Meg Wiley will teach Salsa on Wednesdays and Fridays.
      Maryellen Vickery received her early training from her mother Ruth Vickery. She performed as a youngster with The New York City Ballet at Saratoga Performing Arts Center and, for the last eleven years, has taught and choreographed classical and contemporary ballet for dancers of all levels. She opened The Ballet School in 2001 because she saw the need for technique and classical training in the St. Albans area.
      Ruth Vickery has been teaching ballet for over 30 years. Her students have received scholarships and recognition for excellence. They have been accepted into pre-professional schools and ballet companies including: School of American Ballet, official school of New York City Ballet, Joffery Ballet Company, Harkness House Ballet, Garden State Ballet, James Sewall Dance Company, Boston Conservatory, Shenandoah Conservatory, Saint Paul School, and Walnut Hill.
      The Ballet School and Dance Arts building is near the intersection of Route 104 and Route 36, in Charbonneau Construction building. Call Ms. Vickery (802-893-2023) for info


WAITSFIELD--The Commons Group presents a Contra Dance with caller Mark Sustic and musicians Northern Routes (David Carpenter, Tom Mackenzie and Tom Hodgson) at the Skinner Barn Friday at 8 p.m..


     Arts, Crafts, and Theater Safety (ACTS) is a non-profit consultancy with health, safety, industrial hygiene, technical services, and safety publications for the arts, crafts, museums, and theater communities. They offer free and low-cost services for artists.


      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.