ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 11 * * All Arts News On the Web * * September 27, 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 various restaurants around Franklin County throughout the week, 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!


ST. ALBANS--The Staart (ST. Albans ARTs) Gallery opens officially Saturday with an all-day celebration and an evening reception downtown. The grand opening will continue through next weekend. Look for the art. And the balloons.
      The public reception, from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday evening, includes complimentary wine and refreshments and raffle prizes.
      "This is a great chance for everyone to check out the gallery, see our new artists, and celebrate St. Albans' newest arts venue," gallery owner and Messenger photographer Stina Plant said. "This is a gallery for the artists and for the community."
      The Staart Gallery has a prime downtown location to house the best local art; it will offer weekly artist receptions, classes, and artist talks. The environment includes free WiFi, comfortable couches, a gallery with a dedicated marketing budget, and space to sell original works and prints. It is the only full-fledged gallery on Main Street. "The gallery already features 40 works by 15 local artists," Ms. Plant said. The exhibitors, ranging from A to Y, include Harald Aksdal and Colleen Yandow. They need a Z.
      The Staart is located downtown at 42 South Main Street, next door to the old post office. Call Stina Plant (802.524.5700) for more info or to reserve a space "on the walls."
      "We are also available as free meeting space and rentable for private parties," Ms. Plant said.

WESTON--Artist Corliss Blakely of St. Albans opens a new one-woman show in Weston on Monday.
      "Of course I'm never ready for a show. I'll probably be painting as I'm loading the car," Ms. Blakely said. The feature piece is her new painting The Mill At Weston, one of about 80 new landscapes and still lives..
      "My new work has all been in oil," she said from her St. Albans studio. She also offers new limited edition prints along with a full line of giclees.
      The art show will be open daily 10 - 5 starting Monday and running through October 14 in the center of the Weston Village right across the street from the Vermont Country Store. Click here for more info and to preview the paintings in the show.


BURLINGTON--The UVM Lane Series begins its 2007-2008 season with an Events for Tom Series concert in support of the Tom Sustic Fund. Old School Freight Train will perform at the UVM Recital Hall tomorrow evening at 7:30pm.
      The bluegrass ensemble from Charlottesville, Virginia, blends jazz, Latin, Celtic, and more to enter the world of Newgrass, all with classic bluegrass instruments. The young, innovative group includes songwriter and vocalist Jesse Harper, guitar (yay!); Peter Frostic, mandolin stylist; Ben Krakauer, 5-string banjo; Nate Leath, fiddle; and Darrell Muller, upright bass. The prize winners at Telluride and Rockygrass combine original songwriting with memorable melodies, instrumental mastery, and classic arrangements.
      Old School Freight Train will host a free pre-concert talk at 6:30 p.m., just before the performance
      Admission is $26 for adults and $21 for students. Tickets are available through FlynnTix (802.863.5966) or
      The concert is sponsored provided by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Vermont and Vermont Public Radio. Partial proceeds from the concert benefit the Tom Sustic Fund. For the record, I doubt that Jesse Harper is any relation to me although he could be related to the Canadian Prime Minister. Or not.

VERGENNES--The Events for Tom Series presents Lisa Ornstein and Andre Marchand in concert on Sunday at 3pm on the second floor at the Park Squeeze.
      Lisa Ornstein studied fiddle with Louis Beaudoin and Tommy Jarrell and did scholarly research in Quebec, New Brunswick, and the American south. The concert-level violinist has a passion for French-Canadian fiddle music and a masterís degree in ethnomusicology from Laval University. She is the Director of the Acadian Archives/Archives Acadienne at the University of Maine at Fort Kent.
      Andre Marchand is, according to Steve Winick, "the godfather of the musical mafia" from the Lanaudiere region in Joliette County, a region of musicians and singers who are all "friends in-laws; and/or somehow involved in making one another's albums." His guitar playing and singing has been at the core of performing and preserving Quebecois music
      Both played, albeit at different times, in the triple Juno award winning La Bottine Souriante ("the smiling boot"), a group well known locally for its appearance in the AAC Soiree Grand Menage.
      The Park Squeeze is open for brunch from 8 a.m. - 3 p.,m. and doors will open for the concert at 2:30 p.m. at 161 Main Street in Vergennes.
      Admission is $20 at the door. There are no advance ticket sales. Reservations are recommended. Email for reservations. The concert is a presentation of the Events for Tom Series and the Champlain Valley Folk Festival with support from the Park Squeeze and others.

     Ms. Ornstein will also lead a 7 p.m. workshop in Burlington in the music of Louis Beaudoin whom she first met as a teenager. It was M. Beaudoin's kindness and vibrant fiddling that guided her onto her musical path. Presented by Fiddleheads, Events for Tom, and Champlain Valley Festival, the workshop will be held in Burlington. Admission to the workshop is also $20, payable at the door. Email Mark Sustic for reservations and directions.

      The Ornstein-Marchand concert is the 65th presentation in the Events for Tom Series. Proceeds from the concert benefit the Tom Sustic Fund, which supports families with children with cancer. Additional contributions to the fund can be sent to: Tom Sustic Fund, PO Box 163, Fairfax, VT 05454. Call Mark Sustic (802.849.6968) or email for info about the Events for Tom Series or the Tom Sustic Fund.


     Instant Encore is a new venture offering a customizable portal to local and national concert listings, favorite artists, and podcasts.
      Sunday's Vermont Youth Orchestra concert at the Flynn had works by Copland, Dvorak, Hamlin and Wagner. The program also featured student soloists Katie Jordan, horn, and Ben Green, double bass, performing works by Strauss and Koussevitsky. The concert is available for download at


      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.