ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 10 * * All Arts News On the Web * * November 30, 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 Counterpoint Chorus returns to St Albans to sing holiday songs from around the world in the Holiday Concert in St. Luke's Episcopal Church on Sunday at 3 p.m.
      "It's a nice mix of classical Christmas and the unusual," Soprano Claire Hungerford said of music not heard at the other concerts of the season. "One of our missions is to perform things that are out of the norm. We do the mix so it isn't all unfamiliar." The 2006 program offers a Bach mottet, Lobet Denn Herrn, the de Cormier arrangement of The First Noel, and the Hawaiian Lullaby. The Chorus will be accompanied by organist Gregory Hayes.
      The twelve voice Counterpoint Chorus is Vermont's only professional chorus. They perform traditional music, new works, and Vermont compositions, offer rarely performed works, unique arrangements, and the work of contemporary composers, and do educational outreach and choral workshops in schools around New England. Ms. Hungerford lives in St. Albans. The singers include Miranda Harris Bergmeier, Eric K. Brooks, Melissa Chesnut-Tangerman, Carolyn Dickinson, Stephen Falbel, Roger Grow, David Horn, Ms. Hungerford, Nathaniel Lew, Marybeth McCaffrey, Brett Murphy, Linda Radtke, and founder/director Robert De Cormier. Soprano Miranda Harris Bergmeier and Steve Falbel are new this year.
      The concert will be recorded again this year by Vermont Public Radio for the NPR program Performance Today. Click here for details and scheduling.
      Counterpoint's new CD Let Me Fly, a CD of spirituals, will be available at the concerts and goes on sale Friday at As The Crow Flies, Better Planet, the Dressing Room, and "always on our site," she said. Counterpoint recordings also include When the Rabbi Danced, Misa Criolla, Shir La Shalom (Sing for Peace), and A Counterpoint Christmas.
      A Counterpoint Christmas will also be performed Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Burlington and Saturday at the North Congregational Church in St. Johnsbury.
      Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, just $5 for students 6-18. and free for children under 6 at each of the concerts. Visit the Chamber of Commerce or call 524.2444 for tickets for Sunday in St. Albans. Call 86.FLYNN for tickets for Friday in Burlington, and 748.2600 for tickets for Saturday in St. J.
      "Please come," Ms. Hungerford said. "Tickets at the door, too."


     The Friends of the Opera House at Enosburg Falls present Tim Jennings and Leanne Ponder, performing their family holiday program, WOLVES! -- Tales of Our Best Friendís Wild Cousin, on Sunday at 2 p.m.
      The gripping, funny, moving show includes original treatments of traditional folk tales with the wolf as a lead character. The wolves are sometimes heroes and sometimes chumps in the alternately hilarious or heart stirring stories.
      Mr. Jennings and Ms. Ponder perform traditional folk tales from a time before the writers wrote. They tell the stories as a couple, their words winding around each other in a narrative counterpoint. Weaving through and around the stories is Celtic music, played on harp and concertina. Their music recordings, Sheefra, and The Water Kelpie, were added to the Irish Traditional Music Archive, in Dublin.
      Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children under 12 and there is a special Family ticket for $15. Tickets may be ordered in advance by email or call 802.933.6171. Tickets will also be available at the door.


     The students of the Community High School of Vermont Art Class will host a Fundraiser and Silent Art Auction to benefit Voices Against Violence. There will be a reception on Saturday, 6-7:30 p.m., at the Art's Alive Gallery at Union Station in Burlington. The exhibit itself runs through December 29 at the Art's Alive Gallery.
      Community High School of Vermont is a program at the Northwest State Correctional Facility.
      Call Cathy Fitzgerald (802.524.5012) for more info.


     Bellows Free Academy and the All Arts Council of Franklin County will present Handelís Messiah for the holiday season on On Sunday, December 10. The concert will feature 130 members of BFAís 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. Maryís 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.


     A steering committee of volunteers from four major groups (the All Arts Council, the Bishop Street Artists, the St Albans Artists' Guild, and St. Albans for the Future) as well as other interested groups, a newspaper reporter, and other individuals has been planning the functions a local Arts and Cultural Center needs to fulfill.
      We saw earlier that the committee discovered that listing the actual functions the center would perform allowed a better focus on arts and community needs. In a series of weekly meetings, the steering committee has "fleshed out" the function list. Several meetings served to add specific functions to the list of general functions.
      One of the great discoveries of this type of analysis is the connections between these roles. The committee made connections and combined the long list into six crucial functions.

      This includes exposing users to new ideas and concepts, support artists and the public and a large dose of atmosphere, community, and communication.

The center must be inclusive, as well as financially and physically accessible.

Any organization today must plan its sustainability. This may include acquiring grants and gifts, fund-raising and more.

      Public expectations include attractions, events, and programming. The committee will also perform area surveys and marketing

      This may mean building a Creative Business Incubator, mentoring artists, networking, training

      The Center should provide Arts Education, Master classes, Financial training and Outreach

     In the coming weeks, this column will report on the mission statement the steering committee derived from these functions and look for other arts centers and galleries in Vermont, in New England, and in the Florida Keys.


     Composer and multi-instrumentalist Pete Sutherland's site, Epact Music, is an "on-line kiosk" for folk-roots compositions, recordings, performance and workshop schedules and production resources.


      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.