ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 9 * * All Arts News On the Web * * September 8, 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, this Sunday 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.
      "The program we are bringing in is especially fun," Troy Peters said.
      The VYO has established a tradition of a family-friendly Fall concert with slightly shorter pieces and less of the larger and more serious repertoire found in the winter programs. "People who haven't heard a lot of orchestra concerts [can] get into this program," he said.
      Star Wars, a movie, begat the Jedi knights.
      Music has always been identified with movies and the best of movie music is neither easy nor simple although it needs to be easy to listen to and to emphasize what the audience sees. It is written for the audience. Great movie music is great music, period, even if one does not consciously envision the orchestra in the pit while watching a movie. John Williams writes real symphonic music.
      "Some people tend to think of the orchestra as an old fashioned thing but you can't imagine movies without that great orchestral music," Maestro Peters said. Star Wars has music familiar to many people. "It's a great example of how the orchestra is relevant and central to what goes on."
      The William Tell Overture has been used in movies, radio, and television. If the blank stare is the response when you say Kemo Sabe, this concert is for you. "People of a certain age also remember the Lone Ranger as their association for the 'Overture' although I'm finding with the youth orchestra kids, a lot of them have no idea who the Lone Ranger is, but they still know the music and recognize the melodies.
      "It's a piece that is full of wonderful tunes in addition to the famous Lone Ranger section, it has all kinds of other sections with great tunes in it."
      The Wagner Rienzi, overture "is another fun, heroic piece" that begins the story of Cola Rienzi, a Roman Tribune and Papal Notary. The overture gives a vivid idea of the action of the opera. It has the broad and stately melody of Rienzi's prayer, tumultuous and melodramatic passages, and a lively melody repeated in the finale of the second act.
      "People tend to think of these giant four-hour operas as what Wagner is all about," Maestro Peters said, "but this piece, like a lot of his music, is just fun. On the one hand he created these big, gigantic, lumbering dramas, but at the same time he filled them full of great tunes.
      "This is the curtain raiser from one of his early pieces. It celebrates a hero whom very people have heard of, who was a leader in Rome near the end of the Roman Empire who sort of spoke up for the people when the government was corrupt. It's neat and rousing. He didn't end up doing very well but the music has a happy ending."
      The VYO will debut a new at this concert. The orchestra repertoire includes American music This concert introduces a composition by Micah Hayes, a graduate student in composition at University of Oregon.
      "We got together with several other youth orchestras in Chicago and St Louis and commissioned together a piece for all of us to do," Maestro Peters said. "It's a fun loud piece, probably the loudest you will hear an orchestra play. It's very rock n roll influenced so our kids are having a lot of fun being the world's biggest rock band."
      The orchestra offers the Vermont premiere of Possibly, written by Micah Hayes, a young Oregon-based composer who originally penned the piece for his California rock band. Hayes was jointly commissioned by the Saint Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the Vermont Youth Orchestra to write this new work.
      Two VYO soloists will perform: Essex Junction horn player Trevor Bergeron is featured in Gordon Jacobs’ Horn Concerto, and Charlotte cellist Daniel Hollier-Cross, will play Dohnányi’s Concert Piece in D major, Op. 12.
      For the program finale, the VYO travels musically to "a galaxy far, far away," with a medley from the popular motion picture series Star Wars by John Williams.
      The Vermont Youth Orchestra features outstanding musicians from all corners of Vermont. Franklin County students Shelby Colgan of Georgia, flute, Anna Houston of Enosburg, horn, Chester Peck of St. Albans, tuba, and Tyler Smith of St. Albans, oboe, have seats this season and will perform on Sunday.
      The VYO concert will begin at 3 p.m. on Sunday in the MVU Theater. 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 are available at the All Arts ticket centers: Enosburg Pharmacy and Merchants Bank in Enosburg Falls, at Swanton Rexall, and at Better Planet in St. Albans. and at the door on the day of show.

     This concert will be repeated next Sunday, September 18, at the Flynn. Ticket prices are higher in Burlington.


SHELDON--Summer Music at Grace presents singer songwriter Pamela Wyn Shannon in the season finale tomorrow evening at 7:30 p.m. Ms. Shannon performs her original songs as well as traditional Irish music at various Irish venues around the USA. She has performed and recorded with musicians from Solas, Lunasa, Whirligig, and Cherish the Ladies.
      The Celtic-influenced folk musician from New Jersey began doing sessions and gigs in New York City. She has explored traditional music in Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland where she worked with Johnny Moynihan. Nature's Bride, her debut CD, includes the charming love songs Twig and Tree Song and the epic, experimental New Language. That CD features drummer Andy Demos, bassist Dave Richards along with violins, cellos, flutes, and guest Bengali singer, Sanghamitra Chatterjee.
      Ms. Shannon's song, World in My Arms is the opening track on the new Garland Appeal Music Series Compilation CD. Supported by Paul McCartney, the Garland Appeal, fights cancer through music. All the proceeds from the sales of that album will go towards fighting breast cancer.
      Summer at Grace is an ongoing series of inspired music in the sanctuary at 215 Pleasant Street in Sheldon Creek. Admission is by donation. Click here or call 802.326.4603 for more info.

BURLINGTON--More than 400 artists will display their work for art lovers and partygoers in the streets and alleys and parking lots and buildings around Pine Street in the 13th annual South End Art Hop. The two-day art and music festival opens tomorrow evening, 5-8 p.m. and Saturday 11-5. It is the largest visual arts event in Vermont.
      Painter Valerie Ugro will exhibit at 270 Pine Square. Ms. Ugro specializes in Vermont landscapes in watercolor and acrylic, and in artistic portraits of homes and business businesses at her Vermont paintings and prints studio in Fairfax. Follow the signs from Conant Custom Brass on Pine Street.
      Admission is free to the Vermont Top 10 Fall Event.

ENOSBURG FALLS--Plan Ahead, I. Celebrate the music of America's jazz icons, with a group that explores new frontiers of their own at the Opera House at Enosburg Falls, next Saturday, September 17, at 8 p.m.
      Call the Opera House (802.933.6171) for more info.

COLCHESTER--Plan Ahead, II. The second annual Camp Ta-Kum-Ta Benefit Partner Dance Showcase will be next Friday, September 16, in the Elley Long Music Center at St. Michaels College. "The show promises to be better, and more successful, than last year," said organizer Kevin Laddison of First Step Dance in St Albans.
      The dance will showcase members of the Vermont partner dancing community and will include performances by instructors, students and groups of students dancing Tango, Swing, Salsa, Rumba, Waltz, and other dances. Mr. Laddison will demonstrate the bolero, nightclub two-step, and waltz with three partners.
      "The doors will open at 6:30, and the performance will begin at 7 p.m.," Mr. Laddison said. "We’ve got twenty different dances/dance partnerships lined up. After the show we will do a half hour dance lesson, and then play music for open dancing until 10:30."
      Admission is $20. The net proceeds will go to Camp Ta-Kum-Ta, Vermont’s camp for kids who have, or have had cancer. Tickets are available now at, and will also be available at the door. Call 802.598.6757 for more info.


     Mac Ritchey and Gabe Halberg of 35th Parallel perform original compositions alongside the music of the Middle East, North India, North Africa, and the Mediterranean. They have school programs, concerts, 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).
      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.