ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 11 * * All Arts News On the Web * * January 25, 2007


      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.

      Find links to these events and more in our Spotlight!


      Is it too cold to ice fish but no ice on the lake?
      Is there too much snow on the ground?
      Not enough?
      Want to get out before the weekend storm wallops us?
      The All Arts Council opens the 2007 Concerts for Grumpy Grownups season with the Vermont Youth Orchestra winter concert, The Force of Destiny, tomorrow evening at 8 p.m. at St. Maryís Church in Saint Albans. Led by Music Director and Conductor Troy Peters, the VYO program offers powerful and thoughtful music built on varying themes of fate. James Box, principal trombonist for the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, will join the VYO to perform Grondahlís Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra.
      "He's a really wonderful musician. He's a player who has both a big sound but also a really refined sound," Maestro Peters said. "The first time I heard him play in the orchestra I heard him play a Mahler symphony that had a really prominent first trombone part and when the first solo passage came, I was sitting in this huge hall in Montreal and I felt like he was sitting right next to me because his sound is so warm and present."
      A Tennessee native, Mr. Box won the principal trombone seat with the Orchestre symphonique de Montreal in 2001. "The music world is a small world, especially the world of brass players," Maestro Peters said. "One of my brass-playing friends told me to call Jamie when he won the seat at the orchestra." And now, after years of looking for music and comparing schedules, Mr. Box is here.
      "He's playing this interesting Danish concerto that is a real staple for trombone players," Maestro Peters said. "Trombone players didn't get concertos from Beethoven or Brahms. They didn't write anything for the trombone so the trombone literature is mainly music that was written more recently. This is a big, romantic, expressive piece that's really a lot of fun."
      The program opens with the Force of Destiny Overture. It is balanced by the Fourth Symphony with its themes of melancholia and glimmers of hope.
      "Everything in the concert is kind of brassy," Maestro Peters said. "The 'Overture' and the 'Symphony' and of course the soloist, it's all brassy and aggressive music. The Verdi is called the 'Force of Destiny' and the Tchaikovsky is famously, in Tchaikovsky's own description, a struggle with Fate or Destiny, so both pieces are about the idea that your fate is this very powerful force that isn't always looking out for your best interests and sometimes humanity is struggling."
      This 19th Century idea that not only free will or faith determines our lives but also that there is an Interest beyond our control. "It's part of the romantic aesthetic of the 19th Century. Both pieces have a dramatic quality and a heroic quality about defying of overcoming Fate. The Tchaikovsky starts with a riveting fanfare that represents the power of Fate. The music moves from minor to major and ends with a triumphant dance of overcoming."
      Lament, written by former Middlebury Music Professor James Grant, is a musical meditation on daily challenges and emotions.
      "We have worked with James in the past on new pieces [but] this is not a commission. It's one of those pieces that has been on my list for a while but we had to have the right 'slot' for it. It makes a very nice contrast" to the other, bolder works. The Lament is all strings. It is sustained, mellow, and warm.
      Three of the VYO musicians are from Franklin County: Tanner Abbott, tuba, Anna Houston, French horn, and Chester Peck, tuba. With a vast array of students, volunteers, parents, artists, and educators from around the state, the Vermont Youth Orchestra has five orchestras, chamber groups, and three summer camps to create opportunities for young people to appreciate and pursue excellence in music.
      The Vermont Youth Orchestra offers the orchestral experience to every interested student. The have three performances each season at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts and one in Franklin County.
      "They are in especially fine form. They sound especially strong."
      The Concerts for Grumpy Grownups series is presented by the All Arts Council with the ongoing support of the St Albans Messenger. The 2006-07 VYO Season is sponsored by Champlain Orthodontic Associates, LTD. This concert is sponsored by Dr. Albert Hardy, DMD, and by the All Arts Council. Additional support comes from the Vermont Community Foundation. Media Support is provided by the St. Albans Messenger and WCAX, TV-3.
      Admission to the St. Mary's concert is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $4 for students and children. Tickets are available at the All Arts ticket centers--Enosburg Pharmacy, Swanton Rexall, and Better Planet in St. Albans--and at the door.
      A scheduling glitch changed the originally planned venue. Father Houle and the St. Mary's Church family have welcomed the orchestra for this concert. "We will end up in a place that feels really special," Maestro Peters said. "People could walk away saying it was a magical experience."

      The Force of Destiny will be repeated at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday at 3 p.m.
      Admission to the Burlington concert is $15, $12, and $10 for Adults and Seniors, and $12, $10, or $6 for Students and Children. Tickets to the Burlington concert only are available at the Flynn Box Office. Call 802-86-FLYNN or click here for tickets to the Burlington concert only.


FERRISBURGH--A benefit community dance tomorrow evening from 7-9 p.m. will help rebuild the Ferrisburgh Grange. Caller Mark Sustic with musicians Banjo Dan Lindner and Karen and Pete Sutherland will make this a high powered concert and dance at the Ferrisburgh Elementary School. Email for more info.

ON THE AIR--Vermont Public Television presents Michele Choinere on Profile this week. Host Fran Stoddard's program appears at 7:30 p.m. Monday on Channel 33.
      St. Albans native Michele Choiniere was born into a musical Franco-American family. The singer/songwriter has performed to audiences throughout New England, Quebec, and France. Her lyrics and music focus on nature, romance and social issues connected to being Franco-American.Coeur Fragile is available at
      Call 802.655.4800 or click here for more info.


     Libby Walker Davidson has used primarily in pen & ink and watercolor to illustrate Vermontís landscapes and wildlife for about 20 years. Her most comprehensive illustration project has been for the book Wetland, Woodland, Wildland: A Guide to the Natural Communities of Vermont, published by the Nature Conservancy of VT and VT Dept. of Fish & Wildlife. Her site, Starflower Studio, offers her Natural Communities limited edition prints, Nature ID cards, murals and dioramas, info about Libby and contact links.


      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 © 2007 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.