ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 12 * * All Arts News On the Web * * July 31, 2008


      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!

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      The Big Four Music Weeks of the summer continue with a Summer Sounds concert, plus a Citizens Band concert, Community Night at the Opera House, Franklin County Field Days, and Summer Music at Grace.


      The Summer Sounds concert series continues in Highgate Municipal Park as Desorcie's Market presents Mango Jam in a triumphant return to Highgate on Sunday evening at 7 p.m.
      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 Summer Sounds concerts are sponsored by the Town of Highgate and the All Arts Council, and underwritten by Chevalier Drilling, Desorcie's Market, Drummac Septic Service, O. C. McCuin & Sons, Pete Paquette Real Estate & Development, Ray's Extrusion Dies & Tubing, Scotty's Taxi, and Stewart Title Guaranty Company.
      The community based All Arts Council brings the performing arts to northwestern Vermont. The concerts are always on Sunday evenings, always 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 is the Highgate United Methodist Church. There will be no Summer Sounds concerts in St. Albans City in 2008.

HIGHGATE--Buy local! The new Highgate Farm Market has fresh fruits and vegetables, some craft items, and even bakery sweets, all in the Municipal Park on Fridays, 3-6 p.m. and on Sundays at Summer Sounds, 6-8 p.m.


SUMMER MUSIC AT GRACE--Village Harmony returns to the popular series at Grace Church Sheldon this evening at 7:30 p.m. This concert will feature a mix of hard-driving gospel quartets, music from South Africa, and shape-note music, plus sacred and folk music from Republic of Georgia, including krimanchuli (West Georgian yodeling), and Missa Brevis by Italian renaissance composer Antonio Lotti, all sung by this popular chorus of young musicians.
      This Village Harmony teen ensemble is led by Patty Cuyler, Malkhaz Erkvanidze, and Luke Hoffman. The 22 young singers come from throughout New England and as far away as California and North Carolina. They live together and rehearse intensively for eight days at a retreat in the Northeast Kingdom to prepare this concert program.
      Village Harmony’s many CDs and songbooks will be on sale at the concert.
      A community potluck supper precedes the concert at 6 p.m. Grace Church is located at 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon. Suggested admission at the door is $10. Click here for more info about Village Harmony. Call 802.326.4603 or click here for more info about Summer Music at Grace.

HIGHGATE--Today through Sunday, Vermont's finest country fair takes to the fields of Highgate as the 33rd annual Franklin County Field Days brings a lineup of the best music, arts and crafts, and of course weeds that 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. Blue Bandana Band and Maple Creek light up the main stage today. Tomorrow look for the Jim Daniels Band, Yankee Wild, and the Ivory Band. Keeghan Nolan starts the day on the Country note on Saturday; the Green Mountain Cloggers keep it going and Country Classic wraps it up. Junior Barber and Bear Tracks play until the Field Days gates close, giving you just enough time to drive due East for the some Mango Jam in the Summer Sounds concert Sunday evening.
      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. Today, 12 - 3 p.m.
      The Jim Daniels Band offers up original and traditional old-time country and bluegrass. Friday, 1 - 3 p.m.
      The Green Mountain Cloggers' energetic, foot-stomping, toe-tapping Appalachian-style dance is typically performed to Bluegrass music and may shake the sound system off the stage. The Green Mountain show combines traditional Appalachian clogging with other dance styles, including Irish hard-shoe and celli dancing, French-Canadian clogging, and American tap. 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.
      Maple Creek is an, upbeat country-rock band with the foot-tapping music to get you on your feet and dancing. Bruce Parker, rhythm guitar, vocals; Ed Bruley, Lead guitar, vocals; Gordie Giffin; bass and vocals; Dennis Lanpher, percussion and vocals; and Jessie Firkey, piano, synthesizer, vocals have performed in other professional Vermont groups for years. They play everything from Trick Pony to Shania Twain, from Alan Jackson to Chuck Berry. Today, 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.
      Singer Keeghan Nolan, 16, of Fairfield has been on stage for just four years. She won the Maple Festival Talent Show in '04, the Mayor's Cup Idol title in '05, the Colgate Country Showdown in '06, and the CMA Rising Star Youth Vocal Competition in '07. She performs across New England plus West Virginia, Florida, and Nashville. Saturday, 10:30 - 1:30 p.m.
      Yankee Wild, brings a mix of slow, old time country to good snappy modern country music (and maybe even a little rock thrown in) to the stage. The group is Willie Hughes, lead guitar and lead vocalist, Bob Corbiere, bass and vocals, Steve Sweetser, rhythm guitar and fiddle, and Tim Michel, drums. Friday, 4 - 7 p.m.
      Field Days has "One Price" admission of $6 per day for Adults, teens, and children 3 years and up. The ticket includes all midway rides, exhibits, entertainment, and parking outside the gates. Don't forget the Largest Weed contest on Sunday.

ENOSBURG FALLS--The Opera House at Enosburg Falls presents Community Night at the Opera House on Monday at 6:30 p.m. This is a night to have fun and socialize about upcoming events.
      The historic Opera House curtain will be unveiled. Musicians will play. Ben & Jerry's ice cream will be eaten. Faces will be painted and zoos petted.
      Call 802.933.6171 or email for more info.

SWANTON--The Citizens Concert Band performs in the Village Park on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Vocalist Miranda Bergmeier will sing Gershwin's, They Can't Take That Away From Me, and Rodgers, The Sound of Music.
      The Citizens Concert Band, under the direction of Kevin Loomis, is a community band that plays a mixed schedule of free summer concerts in Swanton Village Park, Taylor Park, and St. Albans Bay. Click here for more info.


     Gordon Stone plays "World Music," a blend of jazz flavored, groove-driven funk. He is featured on the Cream of Vermont CD. The site has a listening room, guest book, links, tour schedule, press info, free ringtones, and everything you wanted to know about the band.


      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 © 2008 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.