ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 10 * * All Arts News On the Web * * August 10, 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.


      Having the World's Largest Palette in Franklin County has offered some logistical difficulties. The Palette needs a new home. Sticks and Stuff has hosted it in their in St Albans buildings. Franklin County Industrial Development has hosted it on Precision Drive in Swanton. Gregg Brown has kept it under the Clarence Brown canopy. I've even had it in my driveway.
      We need a new home for a couple more months. The technical requirements are a 14- or 16-foot tall ground level overhead door and room for the palette on its 18' x 8' flatbed trailer. Email theAll Arts Council if you would like to volunteer your space or if you have seen a building that might do.


     The Summer Sounds concert series plays Taylor Park on Sunday as the All Arts Council presents the Upstate New Yorkers. The concert will include original songs plus the covers of the great country music artists of the past. "There's still a lot of comedy," Gary Finney said, "and we play the really old time country music, the way it used to be."
      The Upstate New Yorkers are Gary Finney, keyboards; Leon Lancto, guitar; and Donnie Perkins, fiddle. They play all of Merle Haggard and George Jones' music plus Deliverance and other bluegrass, and a wide range of originals. Mr. Finney wrote Upstate New Yorker, the song that brought them national recognition. The group has worked with Johnny Russell, Little Jimmy Dickens, Gene Watson, Stonewall Jackson, and many others.
      "We've been busy around the Schroon Lake and Lake George area this summer," Gary Finney said. "We haven't ventured off too doggoned far." They will play a clambake at the High Falls Lounge in Saranac Sunday afternoon.
      Mr. Finney teaches square dancing 33 weeks of the school year. "I am finishing a CD with square dancing on it for schools and people who want to learn," he said. "The CD is a little different; nobody has done it before."
      The group always saves "one portion of the show for requests."
      Just before the concert, stop by for Dessert in the Park at the St. Paul's Youth Group social starting at 6:30 p.m. The social hour is a chance to visit with friends, and to eat finger foods and sweet delights.
      The Summer Sounds concerts are sponsored by the City of St. Albans and the All Arts Council, and underwritten by Northwestern Medical Center and 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 rain site (if needed) is the Congregational Church.


     The Rail City Celebration is here. On Saturday a Downtown-wide event will celebrate St. Albans' railroad heritage with arts and activities. Train-related activities and displays and the Palettes of Franklin County, Vermont will be found throughout all of Downtown.
      Trains on Main will be an all-day treasure hunt at participating merchants. Jim Murphy will present his slides and discussion "History of the Railroad in St. Albans" at the St. Albans Historical Museum. The World's Largest Palette will visit Taylor Park where kids will draw chalk trains on sidewalks. An NECR locomotive will be on hand for children and families on Lake Street, near the main NECR building. And the AAC will host an Art Exhibit at City Hall.
      The AAC Art Exhibit in City Hall will feature an oil by Corliss Blakely. The show will also include the oils and watercolors of Joan Bower, Mary Ellen Bushey, Barbara Hamm, Jill Jones, Natalie LaRocque-Bouchard, Beth Maginn, Joan Ostiguy, and Karen Vath, plus the fine art photography of Janet Bonneau, Bob Brodeur, Dick Harper, April Henderson, Tim Stetson, and Wayne Tarr.
      All events are free and family friendly. Events will run 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The complete schedule is online at .
      This Rail City Celebration is happening in conjunction with a Downtown Open House; merchants will extend their hours late into the evening. The event is sponsored by SAFF, St. Albans Historical Museum, Union Bank, the All Arts Council, and the participating Downtown merchants.


     The Fifth annual Lake Champlain Bluegrass Festival this weekend features the Gibson Brothers and King Wilkie, plus a major fiddler's contest, a craft fair, music workshops, a bonfire, barbeque, and jamming, all on a family farm in Alburg. The music starts tomorrow and continues through Sunday afternoon. (As usual, there will be just enough time at the end of this Festival to hustle down to St. Albans for Summer Sounds.)
      The lineup includes Atkinson Family Bluegrass, The Gibson Brothers of New York, Free Wheelin', Gopher Broke Bluegrass, King Wilkie, the New England Bluegrass Band, Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, Southern Rail, and Yonder Hill.
      Tomorrow afternoon the stage opens at 3 p.m. The first Atkinson Family Bluegrass performance begins at 4 p.m. There will be a bonfire and open pickin' from 12 midnight until Sunrise Friday and Saturday nights.
      The annual $3000 Fiddle & Banjo Contest starts off Saturday. It runs from 9 a.m- 1 p.m. The contest has six divisions. The Fiddle Champion Division and the Fiddle Open Division are open to any age. Contestants will play a waltz, tune of choice, and a hoedown. The new Fiddle Senior Division is was started for those 60 years and older who like fiddling around. The Fiddle Junior Division is for 14 and under. The Fiddle Trick & Fancy and the Banjo Divisions are also open to any age. Fiddlers will play just one tune in old time fiddle style. Fiddlers may enter the Trick & Fancy Division plus any one of the other three Fiddle Divisions. Banjo players will play two authentic, non-jazz banjo songs.
      The craft show covers all three days with juried, handmade crafts.
      The 2006 Lake Champlain Bluegrass Festival begins tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. about two miles north of Alburg Village on Route 2. Admission is $45 for the weekend including camping. Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Tickets are available through the Flynn Regional Box Office. Call 802-482-8110 or click here for more info.


     LAKE CHAMPLAIN THROUGH THE LENS (August 13)--Lake Champlain Maritime Museum invites professional and amateur photographers to submit lake-inspired photographs in formats including color, black and white, hand-tinted, digital, or photo collage to the annual Juried Photography Show. Deliver ready-to-hang work to LCMM between Aug. 13-21. Call 802.475.2022 or click here for exhibit info and registration forms.

CLICK HERE: ART SITE OF THE WEEK kicks off In the Spotlight this week, a new feature with important links in the week's news gathered on a single page. Click the "Spotlight" on the front page to get the scoop.


      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.