ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 11 * * All Arts News On the Web * * July 5, 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!


      We begin the Highgate summer this weekend as the Summer Sounds concert series moves to Highgate for the season when Ray's Extrusion Dies and Tubing presents the Young Vermont All Star Jazz Band in the opening concert in Highgate Municipal Park on Sunday evening. There will be no Summer Sounds concerts in St. Albans City in 2007. The entire schedule is available here.
      The Young Vermont All Stars plays originals and a funky hard bop style of jazz. Funk blends soul music, soul jazz, and rhythm and blues into a jazz that has strong rhythm and is danceable. It has less melody and harmony but a heavy groove of electric bass and drums. Hard bop extends bebop with the same R&B influences but adds a back story of gospel and blues. Listeners hear that in the saxophone and piano. Both have driving rhythms and depend on two and four beat on the high hat cymbals.
      "It's not like lounge jazz," organizer Ted Crosby said. "We have a couple of horns so it can get kind of intense."
      Want to dance? With the decline of the swing bands, hard bop and funk became the dance music of choice for jazz peeps.
      Some of the best known hard bop musicians include Cannonball Adderley, Charley Mingus, Hank Mobley, and Thelonious Monk. Funk performers are varied with James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, and Earth, Wind & Fire. The Young Vermont All Stars play Art Blakey's style of powerful music with vital grooves. It is a bluesy, funky hard bop.
      "It's a mixture of stuff," Mr. Crosby said. They have the horns of tenor sax, alto sax, and trumpet, and a rhythm section of piano, bass, and drums. The musicians are all stars who have played together and are now on their way to Columbia, The Hartt School, McGill, and UVM.
      "They are really really good," Eric Bushey said.
      The Summer Sounds concerts are sponsored by the Town of Highgate and the All Arts Council, and underwritten by Chevalier Drilling, Desorcie's Market, O. C. McCuin & Sons, Pete Paquette Real Estate & Development, Ray's Extrusion Dies & Tubing, Scotty's Taxi, Sticks & Stuff, and The Tyler Place.
      Besides the music, food is a big part of the fun of these outdoor concerts. Local community groups 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.
      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 or a lawn chair as you settle in to enjoy outdoor family music and festivities. The rain site is the Highgate United Methodist Church.


WHAT'S IN A NAME--There may be some small confusion around the area about the Arts and Cultural Center project. At various times in the media, it has been referred to as an "art center," a "cultural art center," "a center for arts and culture," and more. From the time planning for an Arts and Cultural Center began at the Creative Economy forums, this column has referred to it as just that: the Arts and Cultural Center for Franklin County.
      Picking a great name for a new establishment is crucial to the community. The name should identify the function or purpose; it should give a sense of place; it should be simple. "The Bumptious Buildings for Bodacious Bashes, Brilliant Beauty, and Benevolent Bombast" probably won't do. It's pretty good alliteration, though.
      Like all good community projects, this one has a dedicated steering committee. That committee wants to simplify the name we all use for this project: "The Art Center."
      Until the community picks the permanent name, that's what we will use.

BACH BUS--Tickets are available right now for the luxury coach ride of the summer on The Art Center party to an evening at the Vermont Mozart Festival for The Virtuoso Violin Bach Concerti on Friday, July 20. The program includes Concerto No. 2 in E Major for Violin and Orchestra," "Concerto No. 4 in A Major for Harpsichord and Orchestra, and the Concerto for Four Violins and Orchestra.
      "We have very limited space," Mike Curtis said. "Tickets will go very quickly." Mr. Curtis hopes to sell most of the seats this week.
      The evening features a concert introduction and discussion with VPR President Mark Vogelzang and BFA Coral Director Armand Messier.
      The ticket price of $50/person or $99/couple also includes luxury coach transportation between St. Albans and beautiful Knight Point State Park, admission to the park and to the concert, private restrooms, a gourmet picnic supper created by Jeff's Maine Seafood, and more. Please bring your own blankets and beverages. The Bach Bus will leave Taylor Park promptly at 5:30 p.m. on July 20.
      To make reservations or to buy tickets by phone, call Carol at Union Bank (802.524.9000). Email the All Arts Council for more general info.


BRADFORD--Middle Earth presents the Nobby Reed Project tomorrow evening at 8:30 p.m. for just $8. Call 802.222.4748 or click here for more info.

MONTGOMERY--The Concerts by the Common series presents the MediterrAsian Jazz Ensemble with guest percussionist Simeon Darley-Chapin on Saturday at 8 p.m.
      The MediterrAsian Jazz Ensemble is inspired by the music of the Middle East, North India, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the United States. Their signature sound uses the Middle Eastern oud and Indian tabla beside a variety of other non-Western instruments. The five musicians create a dynamic backdrop over which they play an extensive repertoire of original and traditional songs.
      All concerts begin at 8 p.m. in Pratt Hall, opposite the Black Lantern Inn. Admission is $12 or $10 for Montgomery Historical Society members. Tickets are on sale now. Call 802.326.4528 for information.

GRAND ISLE--Island Arts presents the Denise Whittier Scholarship Benefit Concert in the Grand Isle Lake House on Wednesday, July 11, at 7:30 p.m.
      Another Opening Another Show is a Cabaret evening with ENCORE! Vermont singers Cathy Walsh, Tim Barden, Steve Rainville, Denise Whittier, and pianist/accompanist Joyce Flanagan. Admission is $25 for inside seating, or $10 on the outside/porch. Tickets sales are limited to 100 seats inside. There is picnicking after 5:30 p.m. for ticket holders.

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. and Piano Bar with Dawna Messier every Friday at 7:30 p.m.
      Abby encourages performers of all kinds to attend the Wednesday performances. If you need instrumental accompaniment, email with the title/artist of song you wish to perform. Armand Messier joins the Piano Bar every third Friday. Click here for more info.


     Rock group Unstopher Rawls of Johnson is one of a growing number of artists with a MySpace page. The page includes downloads, general info, influences, contact info, a blog, and, of course, 315 friends.


      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.