ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 10 * * All Arts News On the Web * * November 2, 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.


      We saw last week how a steering committee of volunteers from the All Arts Council, the St Albans Artists' Guild, and St. Albans for the Future, as well as members of the Bishop Street Artists and other interested groups, a newspaper reporter, and other individuals has begun planning the functions an Arts and Cultural Center needed to fulfill.
      The steering committee first defined an Arts and Cultural Center as a place but discovered that listing the actual functions the center would perform allowed a broader focus on arts and community needs.
      In a series of weekly meetings, the steering committee has "fleshed out" the function list. Two meetings served to add specific functions to the list of general functions reported on last week. Here is the first half of the list.

MAKE ACCESSIBLE--The center must be inclusive, encourage intelligent discourse, be open creatively (multi-discipline), be financially open to the public and artists alike, and meet physical accessibility standards.

BUSINESS SERVICES--Back/Front Office Services were extensively discussed. The center should offer fee-based entrepreneurial incubator space, business of art seminars, box office services, publicity and marketing.

CREATE DEMAND--This function includes developing attraction(s) and appeal, making the center inclusive to all, having popular individual and public programs, and marketing.

EDUCATE and FACILITATE--Offer arts education for artists in art and business, for the community, running outreach programming including exhibits, performances, and workshops, having artists in residence programs, facilitating or providing public awareness.
      The "Facilitating" function put a spotlight on the sub-functions of on-site v. off-site programming and transportation needs.

ENTERTAIN--Hold public performances, run or facilitate a café, create an artist registry.

     It took two meetings to add specific functions to the list of general functions expected of an Art and Cultural Center. Next week, this column will report on how the steering committee built the second half of the list.


     The Events for Tom Series presents Greg Brown with Bo Ramsey in concert at Higher Ground on Friday at 8 p.m.
      Singer/songwriter Greg Brown came to the music honestly. His mother played electric guitar, his grandfather played banjo, and his father was a Holy Roller preacher in the Hacklebarney section of Iowa where the Gospel and music are a way of life. Mr. Brown's first professional singing gig was running hootenannies at Gerdes Folk City in New York City. He was just 18. He moved to Los Angeles and Las Vegas a year later as a ghostwriter for Buck Ram, founder of the Platters. He traveled with a band for a few years, and even quit playing for a while before he moved back to Iowa and began writing songs and playing in Midwestern clubs and coffeehouses.
      Mr. Brown's songs have been performed by Willie Nelson, Carlos Santana, Michael Johnson, Shawn Colvin, and Mary Chapin Carpenter. He has also recorded more than a dozen albums. One Big Town earned Mr. Brown three and a half stars in Rolling Stone, chart-topping status in AAA and The Gavin Report's Americana rankings, and his first Indie Award. His latest CD, The Evening Call was released in August and is his first studio collection of new songs in almost four years.
      Singer/Songwriter/Producer Bo Ramsey's collaboration and friendship with Mr. Brown began in the 80s and continues to the present. Mr. Ramsey has played guitar on ten of Mr. Brown's discs, and produced or co-produced many of his albums. The pair has toured the U.S. and abroad extensively; this concert is part of a tour that began in Minneapolis, hit the Pacific Northwet, comes to the northeast, and ends in Denver. The distinctive Bo Ramsey guitar is also heard on the recordings of Kate Campbell, Pete Seeger, and more. He also produced a six-song session for Joan Baez.
      Admission is $27 the day of the concert and $25 in advance through Higher Ground (888.512.SHOW) or click here. Doors open at 7 p.m.
      The concert is the 53rd presentation in the Events for Tom Series and has support from the Comfort Inn, Smith Bell and Thompson, Vermont Tent Company and others. Proceeds from the concert benefit the Tom Sustic Fund, which supports families with children with cancer. Additional contributions to the fund can be sent to: Tom Sustic Fund, PO Box 163, Fairfax, VT 05454. For more general information about the concert series and the Tom Sustic Fund, call Mark Sustic (802.849.6968), email, or click here.

     Greg Brown with Bo Ramsey also appear tonight at the Lebanon Opera House at 7:30 p.m. Call 603-448-0400 or click here for more info about tonight's event..


PUBLIC ACCESS--The Studio Sessions, a one-hour local music showcase, appears on Channel 15 in Montpelier at 2 p.m. every Friday. The program is produced by Kenric Kite at Onion River Community Access Media in Montpelier. Call 802.224.9901 or click here for more info.

FAIRFAX--The regular Music Session continues Saturday with acoustic instrumentalists playing traditional songs at the Foothills Bakery, 1-4:30 p.m. Admission is free by donation.

WATERVILLE--Cambridge Arts Council presents community dances on Saturdays at 7 p.m. in the Waterville Town Hall. The evening will feature contras, squares, circles, play parties and singing games and all dances will be taught. Bring a partner, the entire family, or come alone. Caller Mark Sustic offers dance instruction. Frank Heyburn and Michele Lajoie play. Guest musicians with acoustic instruments are welcome. Admission is $5 per person and $10 for families at the door.

ST. ALBANS--Chow Bella offers jazz and improv with guitarist Jerry Levine on Monday evenings, 6-9 p.m., and virtuoso guitar with Tom Leshinsky on Wednesday evenings, 6-8:30 p.m. Click here for more info.

ST. ALBANS--The Overtime Saloon offers Open Mic with Abby Jenne and Friends every Wednesday at 8 p.m. Abby encourages performers of all kinds to attend. If you need instrumental accompaniment, email with the title/artist of song you wish to perform. Click here for more info.


      Bellows Free Academy and the All Arts Council of Franklin County will present Handel’s Messiah for the holiday season on On Sunday, December 10. The concert will feature 130 members of BFA’s chorus, BFA faculty members, plus the St. Albans Area Community Chorus. A professional orchestra of twenty-three, and four vocal soloists will compliment the combined choruses, all under the direction of Armand Messier.
      Performances at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. have been scheduled in response to the standing-room-only crowd in attendance at the 2002 concert. Both performances will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in St. Albans.
      Admission for advance purchase gets a to dollar discount with tickets at $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $4 for students. Tickets at the door will cost $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $6 for students. Tickets are available at the All Arts ticket centers: Enosburg Pharmacy, Swanton Rexall, and Better Planet in St. Albans. Call 802.527.6538 or click here for more info.


     The EIGHT-OH-EIGHT-FOUR site blows me away. It has the usual bios, and tour dates, and news, and reviews, and the opportunity to buy stuff like the new album. Each page also has about the slickest song sampler I've seen. (8084 will play Higher Ground on November 18; they sold out last year.)


      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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