ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 11 * * All Arts News On the Web * * June 21, 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!


      I swam in the Lake for the first time this year and have hayed my front yard. The bugs are out and my tan is serious. Today must be darned close to the start of summer and to the summer music season.
      It is! It is! The All Arts Council returns to the roots of our Summer Sounds series when the 17th season of concerts starts next Sunday, July 1, at Bay Day.
      Summer Sounds began 17 years ago with just three concerts in Highgate; it has grown into Franklin County's premiere outdoor concert series. After the kickoff at Bay Day, the live free concerts returns to Highgate Municipal Park every Sunday evening throughout the summer. The lineup begins with Rumbledoll playing into the fireworks and continues with Krisis, Mango Jam, the Milton Community Band, Shellhouse, Dan Lindner's Sky Blue Boys, Tammy Fletcher, and the Upstate New Yorkers. Each summer concert is free. Settle in on your own blanket or lawn chair and enjoy outdoor family music. Bring your own bug spray. The entire schedule is online at AAC web site
      There will be no Summer Sounds concerts in St. Albans City in 2007. The city did not appropriate funds for the 2007 series.
      Besides the music, food is a big part of the fun of an outdoor concert. Local community groups will host each event with special activities, family fun, bake sales, grilled hot dogs, and even ice cream socials to make every Sunday a great family holiday in the park. This year, the AAC, Foster Grandparents, Highgate Historical Society, Highgate Library, Highgate Youth Group, and St. Paul's Methodist Church Youth Group host the concerts in each town.
      "Free" concerts are expensive to stage. The host towns, local business sponsors, and the All Arts Council hire the bands, create the publicity, and set up shows every summer weekend. Summer Sounds welcomes our sponsors of this popular series: Chevalier Drilling, Desorcie's Market, O. C. McCuin & Sons, Northwestern Medical Center, Pete Paquette Real Estate and Development, Ray's Extrusion Dies, Scotty's Taxi, and the Tyler Place. These businesses need your support to continue. Please remember to thank the hosts and patronize the sponsors.


SUMMER MUSIC AT GRACE--The eclectic concert series at Grace Episcopal Church presents Bread & Bones on Friday, June 22. The trio of Richard Ruane, Beth Duquette, and Mitch Barron will bring soulful, haunting, infectious music to the Sheldon concert. The performance will include Mr. Ruane's original music as well as traditional songs and folkie treatments of jazz standards.
      Prolific, award-winning, songwriter and baritone Richard Ruane is a storyteller with songs full of place and character. He has been a finalist at the Kerrville Folk Festival Grassy Hill New Folk Competition, the Great Waters Folk Festival, the Plowshares Coffeehouse, and the SolarFest Songwriter Showcase. He plays guitar, mandolin, banjo and ukulele.
      Alto Beth Duquette of Lincoln organized Middlebury Festival on the Green and the Ripton Community Coffee House and volunteers for the After Dark Music Series. She is a former member of The Michele Fay Band and Womensing. Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Mitch Barron of Hinesburg has played fretless electric and upright bass for more than 25 years. He ranges from jazz and blues to bluegrass, contemporary folk, and traditional roots music. Mr. Barron is a regular at The Music Box where he recently accompanied Karen McFeeters. He also plays with the Hibernators, the Rebecca Padula Band, and the Don Sheldon Trio, and is an in-demand session player and recording musician.
      The trio have been members of Feast or Famine, Sundog, and more. They have shared the stage with Phish, Pete Seeger, Brooks Williams, Lynn Miles, Louise Taylor, Robin Williamson, Slaid Cleaves, Jennifer Kimball, Steve Gillette and Cindy Mangsen and Rachel Bissex.
      Admission is by donation; $10 is suggested for adults.

     Village Harmony return to Sheldon for a July 21 concert. If you would like to host some of the Village Harmony singers, call Beth Crane (802.326.4603). Hosts are needed to provide bed and breakfast.

BURLINGTON--The Green Mountain Chew Chew Food and Music Festival is billed as "Vermont's Favorite Family-Oriented Feeding Frenzy." The 21st annual festival begins tomorrow and continues through Sunday on the Burlington Waterfront. It brings together unending Vermont music with some of the best samples of the specialty foods of Vermont.
      Friday features the Chew Chew Buzzarroo, the plain clothed gypsies Close to Nowhere, the Limbo Loco Steel Drum Band, and Silent Mind. On Saturday, the stages offer Banjo Dan & The Mid-nite Plowboys, the Left Eye Jump Band, Summer Sounds favorite, Mango Jam, Rick & The Ramblers Western Swing Band, and Wagtail. Sunday closes the weekend with the Taryn Noelle Quartet and the Matt Wright Group.


     Save the date! The Center for Culture and the Arts in Franklin County will transport a grand party to an evening at the Vermont Mozart Festival for The Virtuoso Violin Bach Concerti on Friday, July 20.
      The ticket price of $50/person or $99/couple includes luxury coach transportation between St. Albans and mysterious Knight Point, admission to the park and to the concert, private restrooms, a scrumptious box supper created by Jeff's Maine Seafood, and more. Please bring your own blankets and beverages. The Bach Bus will leave promptly at 5:00 p.m.
      Email the All Arts Council for more info.


ART SURVEY (Right Now)--In an ongoing effort to gather more data with the public survey started last month, the Arts and Cultural Center committee has launched an online version of the survey. Click here to fill out the survey with just a few tail wiggles of your mouse. The survey will also ask about specific community interests, issue a call for volunteers, and look for suggestions for an Art Center name.

MUSICIAN WANTED (Call Today)--The Fairfax Community Theater Company needs a banjo player for their summer production of Cotton Patch Gospel. "The music is all country/bluegrass and lots of fun," music director Margie Cain said. "And if they are willing to sing, that would be great too!" Rehearsals start July 9 for the July 19-22 show. Email for more info.

EIGHTH ANNUAL WILLS CREEK SURVEY (July 1)--The Allegany Arts Council's National Juried Art Exhibition offers over $5000 in awards. The exhibit showcases a wide variety of contemporary art and fine craft. Entry fee. Email or click here for more info.

44th ANNUAL ART HARVEST JURIED SHOW (July 31)--Named the Best Outdoor Art Festival by Tampa Bay Magazine, the Junior League show is open to original fine artists, working in ceramics, digital, fibers, glass, graphics, jewelry, metal, mixed media, oil/acrylic, photography, sculpture, watercolors, and wood. Space is limited. Cash Awards. Entry fee plus booth fee for exhibitors. Email or click here for more info.


     Sandglass Theater's touring repertoire includes adult/high school audience shows with a blend of puppetry, music, projections, and more. Their site has info about the troupe, performances and presentations, workshops, news, and contact info.


      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.