ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 10 * * All Arts News On the Web * * March 9, 2006


      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.


      Not Andy Devine.
      Some recent news reports point to other parts of Vermont as the hotbed and home of jingling. I don't think so. The first West Street Digital studio in Fairfield was underwritten in the 1980s by recording jingles. Andre Maquera of West Street regularly writes and produces local and national commercials and at least two other area producers have the equipment and the knowhow to enter the business.
      "It's pretty good money," Armand Messier of Armand Messier Recording Studio in Swanton said. "Jingles mean you are hiring musicians and other local talent." Doing it locally is good for anyone who works in the business including singers, actors, and session musicians.
      National advertisers think jingles are passe. In fact, although many national products use pop songs, jazzed up classics, or even pure synthesized noise as a background or overlay, the music jingles may still do a better job of catching the ear of the buyer. After all, the sound you hear you hear best on the radio is neither the regular deejay's voice nor a song that sounds just like the last one he played.
      Jingles all drive name recognition. A good jingle can make the brand memorable, known, and remembered. Ads have a limited life, usually measured in weeks or months but can have a long after-life.
      Quick. Identify each of the tag lines in what Advertising Age calls the 20th Century's top 10 commercial jingles.
     Jingle tunes like I'm a Chiquita Banana and Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz are more than mere background music.
      "It's basically a chorus with a hook," Andre Maquera said. Chiquita Banana gave me an ear worm that I am still singing.
      Mr. Maquera wrote Vermont, New York, New England, Nationwide for Contact Communications. He redid the Yipes Stripes commercial with former-Montgomery resident Brian Greenway of April Wine. His People's Trust Company jingle had a studio full of local kids and Nobby Reed. His accounts also include Allen Lumber, Dollar Discount Stores, Coors Brewery, Pool World, and Zima.
      "That was Zima, not FEMA," he said. "FEMA needs more than a jingle."
      Since he has the studio, he can "do the whole thing right here."
      In addition to jingles, local studios can do voice-overs, session-work, and commercial mixing. West Street does dozens of sound mixes for WCAX TV3.
      "I don't do any jingle work but I have done some political commercials," Mr. Messier added. John McCain (R-AZ) recorded a script for a congressional campaign but he does "mostly music. I'm open to anything."
      Lyle Glidden of Split Rock Audio Production in Plattsburgh has the musicians and the equipment but has not yet "landed" any jingle work.
      West Street Digital has just completed a major renovation with a new digital console and new computer system. I think we'll have to call them West Street Digital Squared. Mr. Maquera is working on the new Ben Patton album now.
      "Sometimes I go a little over the top," Mr. Maquera said. Not a bad idea when you sell a local product; that sound has to compete with all the national ads for the listeners' ears.
      Regular readers may have realized by now that I like wordplay and that I consider no pun too low to pander. Character actor Andy Devine (1905-77) has absolutely no connection to Franklin County beyond his mention in the Jimmy Buffett song Pencil Thin Mustache but he did play Deputy Marshal Jingles P. Jones in the 1950s TV series, Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok.
      I think we'll have to use a jingle this year for the Summer Sounds concerts. I can hear it now: "Summer Sounds, Summer Sounds, sum sum Summer Sounds, doo, do de do doo."
      Perhaps it needs some music as well.


     The All Arts Council and St Albans for the Future still have the pallet of palettes for area artists to decorate and there is still time to request yours. The March Palette Pickup Party will be held in St. Albans City Hall on March 18. Call Alisha Sawyer at the Franklin County Regional Chamber (802.524.2444) or click here for more info.


ESSEX JUNCTION--The Lincoln Inn Pub and Grill hosts a weekly Blues Night on Thursdays. The Nobby Reed Project will play from 7-10 p.m. tonight. They also hold Bluegrass Nights on Tuesdays. Big Spike Bluegrass will perform on Tuesday, March 14.
      Recent nights at the Lincoln have included Jenni Johnson, Banjo Dan and Willy Lindner, Paul Asbell, the Hitmen, and High Rollers. Coming up will be even more people well known from Summer Sounds: the Phil Abair Band on Saturday, Dave Grippo, Mr. French, and more. Email for more info.

MORRISVILLE--The Bee’s Knees presents Will Patton and Dono Schabner tonight at 7:30 p.m. Call 802.888.7889 for info.

FAIRFAX--The Vermont Performing Arts League will sponsor a traditional Irish Dinner and Entertainment featuring the Blarney Bogtrotters, the FolKids Band of Tom MacKenzie, David Carpenter, Bones Blankinship and April Werner, and dancers from the McNeish School of Irish Dance. The first seating is at 5 p.m. and the second at 7:30 p.m., all on Saturday at the Baptist Building.
      The evening is a benefit for the upcoming tour of Belgium and France by FolKids of Vermont. Call Christina Allard (802.527.9958) for info.

JEFFERSONVILLE--The Cambridge Arts Council presents the Woods Tea Company in the Second Congregational Church on Saturday at 7 p.m. Call 802.644.2233 for info.


     Glass artist Debra Hunt of West Charleston uses dichroic glass, bright vibrant color, and texture in her work. She has been influenced by quilt patterns and classic mosaics. Her pieces texture visually and to the touch. Her site includes a gallery, background, and contact info.


      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 © 2006 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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