ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 11 * * All Arts News On the Web * * July 26, 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!


      The Highgate summer continues as Desorcie's Market presents the Sky Blue Boys in a tradition as old as American music itself in the Summer Sounds concert in Highgate Municipal Park on Sunday evening. There will be no Summer Sounds concerts in St. Albans City in 2007.
      Two fellows with a mandolin and guitar, a musical teamwork built of habit, their voices fused in the special blend produced by kinship. The "brothers duets" of the 1930s and 40s were the predominant format in country music, practiced by now-legendary teams of brothers in Opera Houses and on radio stations throughout the country.
      Banjo Dan and Willy Lindner have revived the tradition here in Vermont. Following the footsteps of old-time duos such as The Blue Sky Boys, The Monroe Brothers and the Louvin Brothers they have a repertoire of old ballads, parlor songs, heart songs and sacred numbers. Their instrumentation includes a variety of acoustic instruments and they have added some newer songs including their own compositions.
      Willy and Banjo Dan Lindner have played together for decades. They formed the celebrated bluegrass band Banjo Dan and the Mid-nite Plowboys in 1972 and have toured and recorded extensively, as well as sitting in on shows and recording sessions for many of the region's top acoustic musicians. The sounds they learned to love long ago -- the simple moving sounds of the early "brothers duets" -- are never far from their hearts.
      The Highgate Youth Group will offer a delicious groaning board of desserts before and during the concert.
      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.
      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 Highgate Municipal 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 it the Highgate United Methodist Church.


ST. ALBANS--The NMC Art Wall is one of the three major public art displays at the hospital. This month features a showing of Evan Speer photographs. The display includes a mix of digital black and white photos of New York City and color photos of Vermont nature. Mr. Speer is a Swanton native and a Sophomore Civil Engineering major at UVM.
      The exhibit closes July 31.

FAIRFAX--The Fairfax Art Festival on Saturday features fine art, crafts, good food, and 20 artists including the new works of AAC member Valerie Ugro. The event benefits Fairfax Fire and Rescue.
      The exhibit is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Swansons Nursery on Route 104.

a JIG of a good TIME

     The fourteenth annual Jig in the Valley offers an eclectic day of outdoor music in a good cause in Fairfield on Sunday. This community event brings together musicians who are generous with their time, the community members and friends, people from all over the state, and "the usual hoopla," music organizer Tyrone Shaw said. Look for great local music, fabulous food, crafts, a farmer's market and activities for kids from 12 - 6 p.m. on the Green in East Fairfield.
      "We have a couple of new acts this year," Mr. Shaw said.
      The performers include John Cassel, Farm, Jim McGinniss and Friends, the Oleo Romeos, and Brian Steele with his songs for kids.
      Bakersfield’s John Cassel has helped build the music scene in Vermont for over thirty years. He is a classically trained jazz pianist who can and does play country, folk, pop, rock, and dinner music. He calls the latter the "kind of music you should talk over."
      The innovative, progressive Farm bills itself as "three two-handed men who write songs and play them." Members Joshua Givens of Winooski, Jedd Kettler of St. Albans, and Ben Maddox of Enosburg play indie-experimental-folk-rock with guitar, bass, and drums, plus banjo, chimes, harmonica, mellotron, organ, piano, synthesizer, trumpet, and perhaps even the fiddle-like morin huur. To my knowledge there is no Hurdy Gurdy. They have received critical acclaim for Gray Birds, an 18-song original CD recorded on Main Street St. Albans.
      The Oleo Romeos play a unique blend of country, blues, and rock, with original tunes by Tyrone Shaw. The group features Mr. Shaw, guitar and vocals, Jerry Bowers, guitar, Will Patton, bass, Joe Moore, sax, and Roy Cutler, drums. Their latest CD of eclectic tunes,Check Please, is available now.
      Brian Steele sings and plays banjo ukelele, chromatic harmonica. The only thing I've done since my daughter was born is play music for her, he said. Now I play it for other people's kids. Mr. Steele has long been active with the Jig but about five years ago began doing sound for the Vermont Mozart Festival. Andy Frappier will join him on stage with the contra-alto clarinet and guitar.
      The suggested donation is $10 and kids under 12 are free. Bring lawn chairs, blankets, and plenty of kids.
      The Jig in the Valley runs from noon until 6 p.m. on Sunday. The proceeds benefit the many programs at the Fairfield Community Center including the after-school homework club, Early Essential Ed and Headstart, and a wide variety of educational, arts, and special programming. Call 802.827.3130 for info.


CRAFTSBURY--The Music Box presents acoustic duo Jim Daniels and Jim McGinniss' in an evening of original and traditional old-time country and bluegrass music on Saturday at 8 p.m. Mr. Daniels, guitar and banjo and Mr. McGinniss, fiddle, are strongly influenced by music from the Appalachian Mountains.
      Admission is $8. Call 802.586.7533 for info.

LAKE PLACID, NEW YORK--The Songs at Mirror Lake concert series presents the Will Patton Quintet at Mirror Lake Park on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Quintet includes mandolin/octave mandolin, violin, guitar, flute, clarinet and string bass. The group focuses on Gypsy jazz and Brazilian styles and perform many original compositions.
      Email for more info.

ST. ALBANS BAY-The State Parks Department returns Full Circle Recorder Consort to Franklin County on Wednesday at 7 p.m. for a free concert at Burton Island State Park. The professional quintet specializes in medieval and Renaissance music from about 800 to 1600 A.D. They have added baroque, folk, Celtic, Appalachian, and 20th Century music to their repertoire. The group sings and plays guitar, percussion, harp and hammered dulcimer as well as five sizes of recorders although the harp and dulcimer can not make the voyage to Burton Island. Guest musicians include "The Four Merry Players" (a teenage quartet of recorder players) and Pamela Reit, violin. Full Circle has appeared at First Night Burlington, Summer at Grace, the Lane Series and more.
      Burton Island is accessible only by boat. The Island Runner passenger ferry will make more frequent trips to and from Kill Kare State Park but no longer make the weekend runs to Grand Isle. The Island Runner operates from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Click here for the complete ferry schedule. Call 802.658.0832 for more info.


     The Vermont Youth Orchestra needs a part time Operations Assistant to manage the string orchestra and chamber music rehearsals every Saturday morning at the Elley-Long Music Center at Saint Michael's College. A knowledge of orchestral music and experience with young students is a plus.
      VYO also needs two counselors to complete the 10-person staff for the VYO August residential camp in Colchester. No musical background required but CPR/FA/LGT certifications are a plus.
      Call Executive Director Caroline Whiddon (802.655.5030) or email for more info or for the job descriptions.


     The Music Box is a work in progress. The structure was the home of David Briars, built to house and listen to up to 12 grand pianos. It currently promotes the arts and ideas in central Vermont. The first Music Box concert introduced Chris and Meredith Thompson. The second concert featured the Celtic band Natterjack who have also played Summer Sounds. The site includes a schedule, directions, membership info, musicians, and an archive of past performances.


      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).
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