ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 10 * * All Arts News On the Web * * May 4, 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.


      The Vermont Youth Orchestra, led by conductor Troy Peters, presents a fusion of music, art and voice, Pictures at an Exhibition, on Friday, at 8 p.m. in Dibden Hall at Johnson State College and again on Sunday at 3:00 pm at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts.
      The program features the world premiere of Gesture Drawings by Daron Hagen plus Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky. The Vermont Symphony Orchestra Chorus will join the VYO in a side-by-side performance of Poulenc’s Gloria, featuring soprano Shyla Nelson.
      The VYO called for original works of art by Vermont student artists last fall. A jury picked four to inspire New York composer, Daron Hagen in a commission to create Gesture Drawings. Mr. Hagen wrote the composition based on artwork created by Kate Noble, of Essex Junction, Sonja Rose, of Charlotte, and Kelsey and Suzanne Calhoun, of Jericho. Gesture Drawings is an orchestral suite composed of four movements, each reflecting one of the works on paper.
      During the performance, "each of these student works will be projected over the stage while we play and the originals will be on display" in the Tarrant Gallery at the Flynn Center, Mr. Peters said.
      Mr. Hagen and Mr. Peters have worked together off and on over the years although never in Vermont.
      Mr. Hagen "did some work with the students in the orchestra [at the summer camp last August], mainly introducing himself to them, talking about his own music from the past and giving them a sense of who he is and what he does and hanging out and hearing them rehearse and perform and getting a sense of what they do," Mr. Peters said. "One of the great things about this process is that as he start to write this piece he's going to have in his head this wonderful horn player and that cellist who could have a solo...
      "The piece will be tailor made to the skills of these musicians. There are definitely instances where the students start working on this and think, 'hey this fits me.'"
      Part of the composer's challenge when writing for an orchestra is that there are so many 'voices' involved. "When he's got an orchestra of 95 players on stage, that's a lot of different notes for a lot of different people," Mr. Peters said. "Just the sheer number of parts involved in orchestral music means the composer has a lot more, I would say, clerical work to do. There is so much figuring out details, a lot more Ts to cross and Is to dot."
      Fortunately, technology helps.
      Mr. Hagen uses Sibelius, a well-known notation program. "The irony is that Daron, like a lot of us, used to make his living by copying other people's music, writing out by hand all the different parts for the orchestra," Mr. Peters said. "The technology came along and put all of us out of work. Now he has mastered the technology and does the same kind of work for other composer."
      It make the process go faster.
      They VYO is the largest symphony orchestra in the state with over 85 musicians. It seats Shelby Colgan of Georgia, flute, Anna Houston of Enosburg, horn, Chester Peck of St. Albans, tuba, and Tyler Smith of St. Albans, oboe.
      The union of VYO and VSO Chorus marks the VYO’s first orchestral / choral endeavor since 1982, when they performed with a special chorus of students selected from eight local high schools. Twenty-four years later, the VSO Chorus will re-create this history by inviting a select group of student vocalists to sing with them during this performance.
      Shyla Nelson has performed locally with the Vermont Mozart Festival, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, and the Vermont Opera Theater. She is the artistic director of Burlington’s new opera company, FYDO. (Fresh Young Dynamic Opera).
      Admission for the Dibden Center concert is $5/adults and $2/seniors and students. Tickets will be available at the door only. Admission at the Flynn is $10/adults, $8/seniors, and $5/students. Tickets for the Flynn only are available now at the Flynn Box Office (802.86-FLYNN) or online at Click here for more info.


     The Events for Tom Series will present its second annual concert featuring 25-and-under musicians, singers and dancers in folk and traditional styles on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the McCarthy Arts Center at St. Michael’s College.
      Over 50 singers, musicians and dancers will featured, including Melanie Altman, the Bosnian Lillies, Becca Camp-Allen, Roland Clark, Catherine Fortier, Sarah Galper, Emily Hurst and Sophia Smith-Savedoff, Les Bobs (Jean-Francois Branchaud and Nicholas Pellerin), Geordie Lynd, Jan Monteagudo-Meese, Ngoma Ya Kwetu, Sasha Ross Becker, Anthony Santoro, Austin Sirch, Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki, Katie Trautz and Julia Wayne, Triskele (Elly Marshall, Owen Marshall, Corrie Wilcox and Abigail Sargent), Nate Wallace-Gusakov, Andy Webster, Duncan Yandell, Irish and Highland dancers from the Vermont Celtic Arts Center and others to be announced. Music and dance styles will include African, Appalachian, Blue Grass, Bosnian, Cape Breton, Celtic, Folk, Irish, Old Time, Quebecois, Sacred Harp, Scottish, and Singer/Songwriter. The performers' instruments will include accordion, banjo, guitar, fiddle, Irish pipes, mandolin, and Scottish pipes.
      The concert is co-presented by the Young Musicians of the World and will benefit the Tom Sustic Fund. Support is provided by the Burlington Violin Shop/Vermont Violins, Champlain Valley Festival, Concept 2, Fiddleheads, Foothills Bakery, High Street Studio, Langdon Street Café, Northeast Heritage Camp, The Point, and others
      General admission is $17.50 in advance through the Flynn Regional Box Office and $20 the day of the concert. Admission is free for anyone 25 years of age or under at the door only. There are no free advance tickets. Tickets are available at the Flynn Box Office (802.86-FLYNN) or online at
      This concert will be the 48th presentation in the Events for Tom Series. Proceeds from the series benefit the Tom Sustic Fund, supporting families with children with cancer. For more general information about the series and the Tom Sustic Fund, call Mark Sustic (802-849-6968) or click here.


ESSEX JUNCTION--The Lincoln Inn Pub and Grill presents Big Spike Bluegrass on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The hard-driving traditional bluegrass of the Big Spike Bluegrass Band emphasizes 3- and 4-part harmonies and features twin fiddles and solid original material in the traditional style. Email for more info.


     The Opportunities for Growth Community Forum originally planned for last month and delayed until tonight has been changed again. It will be rescheduled for later this Spring.
      Meanwhile the BFA Strategic Planning Committee will meet Tuesday, May 9, at the CPSC. to hear reports on progress from the research committees.


     The World's Largest Artists' Palette project debut was a huge success on Sunday. Huge. The palette was constructed last week, assembled at the at the Maple Festival, painted by over 500 community volunteers, and starred in the Maple Festival parade.
      The AAC is assembling the Guinness World Record evidence and supporting materials for the record claim, including affidavits, photographs, a DVD, and newspaper clippings. We have lots more photos and a complete description of the design and construction here.
      The World's Largest Palette record attempt is sponsored by The Peoples Trust Company of St. Albans, by Rene J. Fournier Farm Equipment, and by Sticks & Stuff. It is a project of the All Arts Council and St Albans for the Future with considerable assistance from community partners including BFA-St. Albans, Franklin County Regional Chamber of Commerce, New England Central Railroad, and Union Bank.


      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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