ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 9 * * All Arts News On the Web * * September 22, 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.


      St. Albans for the Future presents Celebrate St. Albans in Taylor Park on Saturday from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Celebrate will center on the fountain/bandshell area but will fill much of the Park and Church Street. The free event highlights the St. Albans community with live music, craft tables, police cruisers, fire trucks, Hum-vees, and other vehicles on display, kids' activities, the farmer's market, and even a stroll around Downtown.
      "Celebrate St. Albans will be a good time for everyone young and old," Chip Sawyer said.
      Mark Sustic and the Fiddleheads will perform in the Edric Loomis Memorial Band Shell at 11a.m.; Keeghan Nolan will take the same stage at 1 p.m.
      Keeghan Nolan of Fairfield is in the eighth grade at Fairfield Center School.
      "She's like a little superstar whose grandmother turned her on to Patsy Cline," Fairfield teacher Joanne Scott said last year. Her repertoire includes Patsy Cline, some Martina McBride, and more. The St. Albans show will include some Country classics, but also a number of songs she and her mother, Cheryl Nolan, wrote.
      "Some of them," she said about whether she sings all the songs her mother writes.
      "I write some stuff down and have her look at it because right now she doesn't like to sing some of the things I write," Cheryl Nolan said. "We wrote 'I Wish I Had a Crystal Ball' on her CD. We also wrote 'My Daddy' which is about her father, and just put another song together called 'One Year Gone' about an American soldier.
      "It is country music. We try to keep it traditional because that's what she likes to sing. We try to keep it old."
      Keeghan Nolan qualified for the Colgate Country Showdown to be held October 1 at the Topsfield Fair in Massachusetts. She won the Maple Festival Talent Search last year and the Mayor's Cup Idol in Plattsburg, where she won free dinners for a year and $211, this summer. She has performed at Field Days, the Champlain Valley Balloon Fest, the Jig in the Valley, and more. She also plays soccer, she plays basketball, and she rides her horse, while she sings, records her music, and does gigs.
      Ms. Nolan will sing 12 or 13 songs with her invisible friends from 1-2 p.m.
      Fiddleheads are a middle school and high school students learning and performing fiddling and the dancing traditions of northern Vermont. Organizer Mark Sustic leads the group in fiddle tunes and dances based in the French Acadian, Irish, Scottish and other cultural heritages of northern Vermont.
      "We learn to value these cultures, and use traditional music and dances to celebrate the contributions of different cultural groups who have settled in the region as well as living representatives of those cultures," Mr. Sustic said last year.
      The Fiddleheads played at the Vermont Maple Festival and in a Vermont Park Department concert at Grand Isle State Park earlier this year.
      Vehicles will be on display along Church Street and the Farmer's Market will fill the Main Street side of the park. Church St. will be closed to traffic.
      Admission is free. Celebrate St Albans will go on rain or shine. Call 802.524.1500 for info.


AROUND THE STATE--The Loviní Ya Louisiana Relief Tour with Chip Wilson and guests plays tonight at Christ Church in Montpelier. The Tour moves to the United Church in Hinesburg on Friday, the Old Meeting House in East Montpelier on Saturday, and the Warren Church in Warren on Sunday.
      All concerts begin at 6:30 p.m. and feature a Creole gumbo dinner, a raffle and concert. The events benefit the American Red Cross in Southeast Louisiana. Call Lynne Goodson (802.244.5895) or email for info.

NORTH HERO--The Hard Times in the Big Easy benefit concert at the Islands Center at Knight Point State Park features Jim McGinniss, Tammy Fletcher and others, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.


     The Catalyst Theater Company will hold auditions next weekend for the Best Christmas Pageant Ever! The hilarious play will be performed at the new Waterfront Theater in Burlington in December.
      The play centers on a church community's annual Christmas pageant traditionally directed by the elderly Mrs. Armstrong. When she becomes incapacitated, another church lady takes over and finds she must cast the six Herdman children, two girls and four boys, "the meanest, nastiest most inventively awful kids in the whole history of the wide world," Catalyst director Ronni Lopez said. "They're hooligans, they're free and unsupervised," and great fun to play.
      The roles include 20 kids from 6 to 13 and 11 adults from their 20s to elders plus six adult women for the church ladies, women "always dressed to the nines for the holidays." Catalyst productions regularly include Franklin County performers and offer strong character roles. They welcome performers of all ages, abilities, and ethnicities. No previous stage experience is necessary.
      The audition schedule is Saturday and Sunday, October 1-2 from 11:30-3:30 p.m. at the Northgate Apartments Community Center at 275 Northgate Road, Burlington. There are no auditions without a reservation. Call Catalyst (802.862.2287) or e-mail for a 30 minute audition slot and plan to arrive 15 minutes early.


     Imagine an eighth grader with a fan club. That's what talent brings in Franklin County. Keeghan Nolan's site includes her photo page, a guest book, the Balloon Festival, news, a schedule, and links to hear her sing Walking After Midnight on the Messenger site.


      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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