ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 10 * * All Arts News On the Web * * July 13, 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.


       Taylor Park will host a proper Tea Party as the All Arts Council presents the popular Woods Tea Company in a Summer Sounds Concert on Sunday evening.
      The "biggest trio in Vermont" will play a mix of traditional lively variety of bluegrass, sea chanties, Celtic music, and dry New England humor side by each with original folk songs. Bring this newspaper to sit on during their well known question and answer period. This busy touring band is known for their easy going and often two-way rapport with their audiences and for their powerful musicianship.
      "We took a month off in May which is something we've never done before," Rusty Jacobs said. For the rest of the year, their schedule looks like a cris-cross puzzle over more than half the states. In June, we went to North Carolina and Ohio. In September, we are going to the Rocky Mountains.
      They don't have to sing in a head voice in the higher elevations. "Singing is OK," Mr. Jacobs said. "The pennywhistle is sometimes a bit of a trick because you have to use a different amount of air. One time we went out west and our first show was at 10,000 feet. That was a shocker. We were running out of breath in the middle of a line. Instead of taking the van up the mountain, we really should walk."
      They have 23 mid-western and western shows scheduled in one month. The schedule is starting to sound like a baseball team's. "We think in those terms sometimes. If we have a good show sometimes we figure we're on a streak and we don't change our clothes."
      Rusty Jacobs (he "now lives where you can see Vermont on a clear day"), Mike Lussen, Chip Chase ("a poor wretched soul from New Hampshire"), and Howard Wooden (another poor soul from St. Albans) deploy banjos, bezoulis, bodhrans, fiddles, guitars, tin whistles, bass, concertinas and mandolins in every concert. Founded in 1980, they have nine nationally released albums; their latest CD, Standing Room Only is available locally at Rail City Market and online at .
      "We are talking about releasing the tunes individually on i-tunes," Mr. Jacobs said. There is now a market for singles in this genre. They are also working on a new studio CD now.
      Just before the concert, stop by for a Summer Sounds Social in the Park starting at 6:30 p.m. The social hour is a chance to visit with friends and eat some delicious desserts.
      The Summer Sounds concerts are sponsored by the City of St. Albans and the All Arts Council, and underwritten by the St Albans area business community.
      The community based All Arts Council brings the performing arts to northwestern Vermont. The concerts are always on Sunday evenings at 7 p.m., always in a town park, and always free. Bring a blanket, newspaper, or a lawn chair as you settle in to enjoy outdoor family music and festivities.


     The All Arts Council Art Exhibit committee meets this evening at 5:30 in Conference Room 2 at Northwestern Medical Center. The committee will stage upcoming events including the Art Train exhibit in St. Albans in August.


      Art teacher Donna DeGrechie stared out a window at a solid brick wall beyond the Intensive Care at Northwestern Medical Center and had a vision. "I imagined how great it would be to have a group of school children paint a mural out there to cheer up the patients and their families," she said.
      That vision has become reality. The 2006 class of Open Doors Summer Program students, led by SATEC art teacher Amanda Parker, collaborated on their mural design in the classroom and painted the colorful, cheery, and comforting image on the hospital wall.
      An informal public mural dedication is slated for Wednesday, July 19, at 10:30 a.m. at the hospital.
      "The mural is a great extension of the healing presence of art at NMC," said Jonathan Billings, NMC Director of Planning & Community Services. "While the arts have had a presence inside the hospital for years, this is our first venture that takes us beyond bricks and concrete thinking for the exterior of the building. To have it come from students in response to a request from the family of a patient is absolutely heart-warming."
      The NMC focus is to treat the whole patient (not just the current medical condition). "The use of art/music fits in nicely to that focus," said Jennifer Savage. NMC has a pair of art walls for larger exhibits as well as a traveling harpist who visits a couple of days per week.
      Sponsorship of the mural project came in part through the Nellie May Foundation Promising Practices Award that Open Doors received to help young people learn about their community while completing beautification projects. "The grant is generally awarded to programs that have the potential of becoming national out-of-school-time models," said Open Doors director Cathy Ainsworth.


ESSEX JUNCTION--The Lincoln Inn presents the Nobby Reed Project tonight from 7-10 p.m.
      The Project plays the best original music in the soul-shakin'-electric Texas and Chicago blues styles with a Vermont touch. The band includes Eric Belrose, percussion, Ray Bushey, bass, and Mr. Reed on lead guitar and vocals. He has recorded and performed in a host of bands and has built an international audience. The Project has headlined every Franklin County Festival. The original NRP CDs include Guitar On My Back," "Best of (at Middle Earth), Moonlight Drivin,' and his newest, The Nobby Reed Project Live at The Harpoon BBQ Fest.
      Click here or email for more info.

BARRE--The Woody Guthrie Birthday Celebration will feature Coco Kallis, Paul Miller, Ben Koenig, Lafe (Dutton), Mark Greenberg and Donny Osman tomorrow evening at 8 p.m. in the Barre Labor Hall. Email for more info.

JERICHO CENTER--The Jericho Community Center and the Jericho Town Library present the Annual Concert on the Green with the Black Sea Quartet Saturday at 7 p.m. There is an open-mike session before the concert and picnic dinners are available from the Jericho Town Library. The rain site is the Community Center. Call 802.899.5433 or 802.899.4863 for more info.

BURLINGTON--Film and Music on a Summer Night presents Big Spike Bluegrass and the movie Field of Dreams on Saturday in the University of Vermont’s Redstone Pine Grove. Call 656.4455 or click here for more info.

ESSEX JUNCTION--Big Spike Bluegrass appears again at the Lincoln Inn on Tuesday from 7-10 p.m.
      Email for more info.


      Fiddleheads are on a trip to Cape Breton this week, accompanied by Mark Sustic. They will return Saturday, July 15. Mr. Sustic introduces the trip in this special report. Next week, this column will include some of the high points from his daily reports.
      "I asked everyone at some point why they wanted to do this trip," Mark Sustic wrote, "and got answers related to motivation to play the fiddle, learning more about the Cape Breton style, to have some fun, to learn some Cape Breton dances, spend some time with Jerry Holland (one of the teachers at the camp), get to know some of the other travelers.
      "I think we’ve already made some good progress on the fun part!"


      The Onion River Jazz Band has presented traditional New Orleans Dixieland Jazz for over 22 years. The band has worked to preserve the original sound of jazz with the performance of tunes from such legends and innovators as King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Bix Biederbecke, Lu Watters and Clarence Williams. Their site includes background of the members, a calendar, their new CD, playlist, and contact information.


      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).
      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.