ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 11 * * All Arts News On the Web * * December 6, 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!


      The Fairfax Community Theater Company presents An O. Henry Christmas starting this evening at the Brick Meeting House on Route 128 in Westford Village. Evening performances start today and run through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. There will be a matinee on Sunday, at 3 p.m. This adaptation of two family-friendly short stories by O. Henry is FCTC's first holiday show and one they expect to become a holiday tradition.
      The Gift of the Magi was adapted for the stage by Anne Coulter Martens. The scene is New York City on Christmas Eve. As newlyweds Della and Jim approach their very first Christmas together each has but one thought: what gift is good enough for that someone special?
      The Cop and the Anthem was adapted for the stage by Mark Bucci. It is also set in New York City just before Christmas. As the winter winds begin to blow across Central Park, Lemuel T. Thwackbusher can't seem to get himself arrested.
      The cast includes Amanda Bryan (Florabelle, Madame Sofronie) who premiered as Puck in 2002 and is a current student at UVM. She has been accepted into the Disney College Program in the spring. Attorney Jennifer Carbee (Della, Woman) holds a B.A. in Theater and Political Science from Middlebury College. Kevin Christopher (Jim, The Cops) most recently appeared as 10 characters in FCTC’s Greater Tuna. Joan Denizot (Narrator, Woman) starred as Santa Claus in her 6th grade play and took a small hiatus until now. Michel Denizot (Mr. Hartman, Head Waiter) started with FCTC as the King of the Fairies in 2002. Margaret Fitzgerald (Felice) is in her first non-musical performance with FCTC. Costume designer Cheryl Gagnon (Old Lady) joined FCTC this year as the director of Cotton Patch Gospel. Peter Harrington (Lemuel T. Thwackbusher) is in the production for the thrill of the bruises garnered from blocking the physical comedy of Cop and the Anthem. Producer Linda Horner (Mother) joined FCTC during the 1994 production of Carnival and has been involved in nearly every show since. Abigail Howard (Tough Girl) is a second grade student at BFA Fairfax. She has worked with Catalyst Theater Company in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Victoria Howard (Little Girl) is a fifth grade student at BFA Fairfax and another The Best Christmas Pageant Ever alumnus. Harrison King (Man with Umbrella) has been in ten FCTC productions. He is a software engineer, freelance website developer and part-time CCV student. Kathy King (Mrs. Boyd, Saleslady) is a dental hygienist married to a 7th generation Vermonter. An O. Henry Christmas is directed by Walter Mahany. Margie Cain is Stage Manager.
      Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and children under 12. Call 879-2867 to reserve tickets. Call 802.849.2923, email, or click here for more info.


AROUND THE STATE--The Events for Tom series presents Hadestown: A Folk Opera with Anais Mitchell. This an original play and musical is based on the Greek tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice. Hadestown is set in a post apocalyptic world inspired by Depression-era America. Here the underworld is not the land of the dead but an exploitative company town. The opera itself is a love story exploring the human condition under tragic and trying circumstances.
      Written by Anais Mitchell, directed by Ben T. Matchstick and orchestrated by Michael Chorney, Hadestown has been updated with new songs, arrangements, and staging for this "national" Vermont tour. The cast includes Miriam Bernardo, Geza Carr, Michael Chorney, Caleb Elder, Andrew Moroz, Todd Sickafoose, and Polly Vanderputten.
      Performances began last week and continue tonight, December 6 in Johnson, Friday, December 7 in Middlebury, and the weekend, December 8 and 9, at Higher Ground. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at and at the individual venues.
      Proceeds from the concerts 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.

ST. ALBANS--Dork the halls! Author and Messenger columnist Leon Thompson will read Yuletide material from his books Good Junk and dork. – another look at my junk at the Staart Gallery tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. Mr. Thompson will also tell his own personal version of the Christmas Story and make some observations on Christmas carols. There will be a book signing and reception with free wine and refreshments.
      The Staart Gallery will also host an artist reception with the music of
High Lonesome on Sunday from noon-2 p.m.
      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."

SHELBURNE--Lake Champlain Waldorf School will host a family contra dance with caller Mark Sustic plus Pete and Karen Sutherland and the Lake Champlain Waldorf Fiddlers in the Shelburne Town Hall tomorrow evening at 6:30 p.m. Email or click here for more info.

BARRE--The Vermont Fiddle Orchestra Holiday Season Concert will feature Iain Mac Harg at the Barre Opera House on Saturday at 7 p.m. Call 877-FIDDLE-1, email, or click here for more info.

MIDDLEBURY--Two Brothers Tavern presents Josh Brooks on Saturday at 10 p.m. Email for more info.

COLCHESTER--Mark your calendars. The VYO Chorus and Concert Chorale will present their first public performance next Friday, December 14, at Saint Michael’s College. The program will blend contemporary and traditional hymns, sacred selections and songs to celebrate the holiday season.
      Admission is $5 for adults and seniors, and $2 for students. Tickets will be available only at the door. Call 802.655.5030 or click here for more info.

ST. ALBANS--Save the Date: the second annual Mardi Gras Dinner and Dance will feature dancing to music by The Fabulous Spiders on Saturday, February 2, 2008, at Chow Bella. to the sounds of The Fabulous Spiders, featuring Joe Moore, Will and Debbie Patton, Marcia Brewster, and Pat Austin. The 8 piece band (plus special guests) has 3 female vocalists and an infectious sound.
      "Please consider buying tickets early, and giving them as Christmas gifts," Pat LeBoeuf said. Tickets include two Mardi Gras dinners and dancing in this benefit event for Franklin County Court Diversion and Community Justice Programs. The program also needs businesses and individuals to underwrite some of the costs of the event (it is a fund raiser, after all).
      Call 802.527.5560 or email for more info


     The BFA-St. Albans music website now has audio and video recordings of past concerts. Recent additions include the video of the Fall 2007 concert and the complete audio recordings of the 2006 production of Handel’s Messiah at St. Mary’s Church.
      The site is designed and maintained by BFA Choral Director and music technology instructor Armand Messier.


      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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