ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 11 * * All Arts News On the Web * * August 2, 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!

      This is the middle weekend of three big music weeks in a row in northern Vermont.


      17 years of free concerts in Highgate continue this weekend as O. C. McCuin & Sons presents Mango Jam in the Summer Sounds show in Highgate Municipal Park on Sunday evening. There will be no Summer Sounds concerts in St. Albans City in 2007.
      Mango Jam is a six piece dance band playing straight-ahead Zydeco as well as New Orleans-inspired Funk and Reggae/Ska. The band draws its inspiration from the music of South Louisiana and the Caribbean and they will rock the park with those hot rhythms. They have been playing together almost as long as the Summer Sounds series.
      Their play list incorporates Cajun, New Orleans R&B and Mardi Gras songs as well as the original songs of guitarist and singer, Josie Ritter. Band members also include Gus Ziesing, accordions, saxophones, vocals; Dana Lavigne, guitar, fratois, vocals; Mimi Ryan, alto saxophone, vocals; Lee Beckwith, bass, vocals; and Allen Bilson, drums.
      The Highgate Library will offer desserts and other sweets in the Summer Sounds Social. Stop by and welcome new librarian Liza Comiskey. The social ties in with the Library's Summer Reading Program and the Monday evening book discussion group; the new discussion title is Archer Mayor's St. Albans Fire, the 16th national best seller in the popular Joe Gunther series.
      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.


     Today through Sunday, Vermont's finest country fair takes to the fields of Highgate as the 32nd annual Franklin County Field Days brings a lineup of the best music, arts and crafts, and of course cows Franklin County has to offer. The musical lineup includes some Northwestern Vermont bands that are worth the price of admission alone.
      Joey the Clown will wander the grounds during the day, today through Saturday. The Gary Lockery and the Island Ramblers, Adams Brothers Band, and the Demolition Derby kick things off beginning at 1:30 today. The Jim Daniels Band, Blue Bandana Band with Willy Hughes, and the Ivory Band all fill the stage on Friday. Saturday includes singer Keeghan Nolan, the Electric Youth Dance Company, and the Country Classic Band. On Sunday look fo Junior Barber and Bear Tracks, and the killer blues of the Nobby Reed Project to play until the Field Days gates close, giving you just enough time to drive due East for the Library party and Summer Sounds concert in Highgate Center.
      The Bear Tracks trio plays roots country, bluegrass and Americana music with the sibling singing of Tom Venne, Julie Venne Hogan, and the soulful resonator guitar work of Junior Barber. Sunday, 2-3 p.m.
      The versatile four piece Blue Bandana Band has over twenty years in music. They play covers of the Classic rock n roll era and classic as well as traditional country. Friday, 4-7 p.m.
      The Jim Daniels Band offers up original and traditional old-time country and bluegrass. Friday, 1-3 p.m.
      The St. Albans-based Electric Youth Dance Company trains in ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, and lyrical dance. The performers travel to competitions and workshops from Montreal to Boston. Cheryl Ann Kelley is the director. Saturday, 4-5 p.m.
      Well known at weddings, Ivory Band performs a soft-rock mix for fair goers who like to dance, cozy up to that special someone, or just enjoy the music. Friday, 7:30 p.m.
      Singer Keeghan Nolan, 15, of Fairfield is "a horse person who does rodeos and shows and who sings at the drop of a hat," said Joanne Scott won the Maple Festival Talent Show, played the Jig in the Valley, and went to the Colgate Country Showdown. Saturday, 10:30-1:30 p.m.
      Legendary local blues man Nobby Reed has paid his dues recording and performing in a host of bands. His CDs are critically acclaimed and building him an international audience. Sunday, 3-6 p.m.
      Franklin County Field Days is held annually on Airport Road in Highgate. The fair opened this morning at 8:30. The days start at 7 a.m. through Sunday for breakfast at the 4H booth; the grounds and exhibits open formally at 8 each morning. Admission is just $6.


RICHMOND--Fiddleheads will perform at the Farmerís Market on Volunteers Green on Friday from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Call Carol Mader (802.434.5273) or email for more info.

FERRISBURGH--The 24th Champlain Valley Folk Festival at Kingsland Bay State Park features the Young Tradition Showcase with Fiddleheads, Peggy Seeger, Bruce Molsky, the Moving Violations, John Roberts and Tony Barrand, Kathy Anderson, Mike Rafferty and Willie Kelly, Zal Idrissa Sissokho, Matt Heaton and Shannon Hickman, the Powder Kegs, the Whippersnappers, Lui Collins, Jeff Warner, George Ward, the Walker Family, David Boulanger, Glass of Water, Jake Greico and Ross Kahle, and more.
      The event begins tomorrow and runs through Sunday. Call 877.850.0206 or click here for more info.

ST ALBANS--Country singer Keegan Nolan has a second day on stage this weekend in a concert in the Edric A. Loomis Memorial Band Shell on Sunday at 7 p.m. A horse person, Ms. Nolan does rodeos and shows and sings at the drop of a Stetson hat. She won the Maple Festival Talent Show, has played the Jig in the Valley and Field Days, went to the Colgate Country Showdown, and won First place for solo Vocalist this year at the CMA Music City Rising Star competition in Nashville.
      Admission is free. The rain site is City Hall.

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.


     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.


     It is the land that attracts the painters to Jeffersonville, according to the Visions of Vermont gallery site. The gallery, housed in a restored carriage house on Main Street, specializes in landscapes. The site includes an exhibitions list with biographical and art by several artists 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).
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