ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 9 * * All Arts News On the Web * * November 24, 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.


      At Thanksgiving time each year, I like to round up some area artists to share what they are grateful for at this time of year.
      Past AAC Vice-Chair Natalie M. LaRocque-Bouchard said, "This year seems to make me more thankful than ever." She is not worried anymore "about having good or bad hair days, just having hair; not worried anymore about how good or bad my job is, just that I have one; not for what I haven't got or could have, but what I am grateful for is more than I can list; That God gave me enough wisdom to be aware of what I have."
      She is grateful for that which she already has, that "truly make me happy, my children, still growing and strong; My husband loving, thoughtful and proud; my grandchildren, who allow me to fix the mistakes I 'hurriedly' made with my own children; my home, with warmth, activity and smiles; My point A to point B truck, that gets us there; my whole family; and my age that is starting to show me through the lines on my face, to take slowly, and remember, each move I make, take my choices seriously, that they don't become mistakes."
      Ronni Lopez, the Producing Artistic Director of Catalyst Theater Company, is an "actor-vist," special needs advocate, and hippie who will turn 56 on Christmas Day. She has a lifelong penchant to "make things better, fix boo-boos, soothe souls." At age 8 she planned to be nun or a nurse. Her Mama was pleased. At 17 she knew her calling was to be an actress. Mama said, "Ay, mijita, that's wonderful! But how will you live?"
      "I live happily and satisfied with my art," she said. "because I believe that the 'tools' of a theater artist are worthy of as much reverence and respect as those of a doctor, nun, therapist or artist of any medium. I'm neither nun nor nurse [but she has played both on stage], yet I still can make things better, fix boo-boos, and soothe souls. For that I am thankful."
      Marie Speer is thankful that she was able to sell several of her photographs at her first exhibit.
      Mark Sustic of Fairfax has pneumonia and is recovering from a dental bone graft but he wrote about a note he had from his friend Ellen Fein in Montpelier Ms. Fein received a bone marrow transplant in Seattle that was her final hope for survival from cancer. "Every time I see or hear from her, my heart rejoices.
      "I can only imagine a little of how difficult its been for her and others like her. Her voice and presence gives great joy and hope to the rest of us, even those who have come to know intimately the 'harder' side of life. It's nice to be able to put those piddling little things into perspective, and to be thankful for life, love, friends and family."
      Poetic photographer Lauren Young of Enosburg Falls is diabetic. That has helped her "reach new health goals giving me a greater understanding of the human body," she said. "The support from my family and friends in all my endeavors exhibits the true meaning of life. I am grateful for my wonderful grandchildren who inspire me and tire me." She thanks her parents for teaching her the value of family. "Take the time to stop, make that phone call or give a hug because we don't know what tomorrow will bring."
      She is also "grateful to her customers who have allowed me to create a unique gift for them. What greater gift can there be than helping each other to become a happier, and healthier person."
      A personal note: many readers know that I have been in the Florida Keys for the last few weeks. I am truly thankful that my neighbors and I here suffered essentially no damage. I've driven around Marathon, Key West and other affected areas in the Keys where I have seen shredded boats in backyards and the inside of people's houses piled rotting in the streets. Parts of Marathon look pretty much like New Orleans. We were extremely lucky.


     The First Congregational Church again presents the first Christmas Concert of the season on Sunday at 3 p.m. It will feature the Citizens Concert Band conducted by Kevin Loomis and the Community Singers conducted by Linda Smith. Soprano Miranda Bergmeirer and Jenny Roach will each solo with the Citizens Band and Nan Arnstein and Doris Hughes will accompany the Community Singers on piano and organ.
      The Community Singers have a varied program of the songs of Thanksgiving and Christmas under Choir director Linda Smith of the First Congregational Church. The chorus program includes Celtic Laud, featuring flautist Bobby Moser from the Citizens Concert Band, as well as Breathing with Beethoven, Hallelujah Bye and Bye, Children Go Where I Send Thee, and the comical piece Riggin' Up the Lights.
      Doris Hughes plans two pieces to show off the 110 year old Hook and Hastings tracker organ, an instrument with "the reputation of shaking the rafters on Sunday mornings," Ms. Smith said. Ms. Arnstein and Hughes will play Deck the Halls together.
      The Citizens Concert Band, directed by Kevin Loomis, will offer a program of patriotic and seasonal pieces.
      "A Christmas Flourish is a very good concert opener" based on familiar Christmas songs. "It is full of trumpet fanfares," Mr. Loomis said. Soloist Jenny Roach will sing White Christmas. Miranda Bergmeirer will sing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and the medley, A Christmas Serenade with the Concert Band.
      Carol of the Bells/Greensleeves has both melodies "woven into each other." The program also includes A Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Hannukah is Here, and Crown Him with Many Crowns.
      "It's going to be a big program," Mr. Loomis said. "There will also be a sing-a-long with normal carols and a surprise."
      Admission is free but a goodwill donation will gladly be accepted at the door.


MONTPELIER--The Langdon Street Café presents the Abbey Jenne Band on Friday evening at 9 p.m. Call Noah Hahn (279-2354) or click here for more info.


     Kids Domain has a free collection of Thanksgiving Clip art. Most have been colorized (and cleaned up) from black and white images.
      The Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers has a collection of over 100 original colorful graphics created by Shawnee Courtemanche. as well as a collection of over 70 downloadable clipart image files.


      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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