ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 12 * * All Arts News On the Web * * December 11, 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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      Catalyst Theater Company artistic director Ronni Lopez suggests, "How about an [early] hollydaze gift to get folks in a good frame of mind for the season with tickets to our ninth annual Best Christmas Pageant Ever! It's the gift of joy!"
      Counterpoint's latest CD, Christmas in Vermont, is a collaboration with the Vermont Symphony Brass Quintet that features soprano Claire Hungerford of St. Albans. The album is on sale at As The Crow Flies, Better Planet, the Dressing Room, and online at
      Scenic and whimsical photographer April Henderson of Georgia has "oodles of great photos" available at Rail City Market.
      The Just for the Holidays Gift Shop offers products from New England talents this Friday, Saturday and Sunday only. The temporary shop is open 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. at 1108 Main Street in Fairfax. Exhibitors include Janet Bonneau, photography, handmade dolls and yarn; Dave Day, old fashion Christmas wooden toys, train cars and secret boxes; Jan DeCooman, watercolor and photography; Joanne Delaney, original and lithograph greeting cards; Judi Hunziker, Christmas and country decor with teddy bears that play music; Ann Lemieux, canvas painting and ceramics; Jack Lemieux, photography; Shelly Pottala, friendship balls and custom made bows; Christine Soychak, glass beaded jewelry; Tony Stone, quilts and journals; and Valerie Ugro, watercolor, oil and stained glass copper wire.
      Great gospel music tunes on CD come from Tim Stetson of Enosburg. He'll Never Let Me Fall features a dozen old and new favorites in Southern, Country, Christian Country, and old time hymns styles.
      The CD is available for $15 plus $2 shipping and handling by mail from Tim Stetson, PO Box 282, Enosburg Falls, VT 05450, by Email with a check by regular mail, or through Paypal on his website .
      Writer and St Albans Messenger columnist Leon Thompson's books of humor columns, Good Junk and dork. - another look at my junk are available in stores, online, and by Email with a check by regular mail. His third book -- the as yet untitled, travel guide to Vermont -- is due out next Fall.


ST. ALBANS--The VYO Chorus and the Vermont Youth Concert Chorale present Turn the World Around, the winter concert, in Saint Maryís Church on Friday at 8 p.m. The holiday program will blend world musical styles with seasonal and traditional carols.
      Franklin County singers include alto Jordana Churchhill, soprano Rosemary Rodgers, alto Elizabeth Rodgers, and soprano Lauren Handy, all from B.F.A.-St. Albans; alto Graham Garland from St. Albans Town School; bass Justin Gates, and soprano Kathryn Gates, Missisquoi Valley Union High school.
      Led by choral conductor Jeffrey Buettner, The Vermont Youth Concert Chorale will sing mixed traditional folk works and seasonal carols. Al Shlosha is based on the Jewish traditional text Pirkei Avot. The Italian carol Dormi, Dormi is in the madrigal style. Ton The is a French Canadian folk tune. The carol We Will, written by Jim Papoulis, is sung in both English and Swahili. The traditional Apple-Tree Wassail blesses farmers with good health in the new year. The VYO Chorus will sing selections from Bachís Magnificat and spiritual arrangements by twentieth century composers of African American choral music including Paul Simonís Bridge Over Troubled Water.
      The two Choruses will perform Pachelbelís motet Singet dem Herrn, the spiritual Hush! Somebodyís Calliní My Name, as well as more Papoulis compositions.
      Admission is $5 for adults and seniors or $2 for students. Tickets are available only at the door. The concert is co-sponsored by the Dressing Room and Mousetrap Pediatrics. Call 802.655.5030 or click here for more info about the VYOA.

     The program will be repeated at Elley-Long Music Center at Saint Michaelís College on Saturday evening. That program is officially SOLD OUT.

BURLINGTON--The Catalyst Theater Company presents The Best Christmas Pageant Ever! with 8 performances starting tonight in the Waterfront Theater. The performance dates include December 11, 13, 18, 19, and 20 at 7:30 p.m. and December 13, 14 and 20 matinees at 2 p.m.
      Adapted from the popular book by Barbara Robinson, this story follows the efforts of a good hearted Mom to put on the annual church Christmas pageant despite having to cast the Herdman Gang -- probably the meanest, nastiest, most inventively awful kids in the whole history of the world. The Catalyst production focuses on the child actors who experience working in a professional atmosphere alongside adult actors. Veronica Lopez, Catalyst Producing Artistic Director, directs.
      The Pageant features 29 children in a cast of 40 including Franklin County performers Sam Caswell as Elmer Hopkins and Warren Caswell as the Firefighter, both of Swanton, and artist Meredith Roberts of Fairfax as Mrs. Irma Slocum. Families return year after year to see what director Veronica Lopez and each new cast craft in this holiday tradition. This year's Pageant is dedicated to the memory of Kathy Ford, actress and Pageant cast lead for four years.
      All tickets are General Admission for $10. Tickets are available at the Flynn Box Office (802.86.FLYNN) or Call 802.862.2287 or by email. The Waterfront Theater is in the Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center at Lake and College Streets.

BURLINGTON--The Catalyst Theater Company also presents Hope for the Holiday$? by G. Richard Ames, starting Saturday evening in the Black Box Theater. The performance dates include December 13, 18, and 19 at 9:30 p.m., December 14 at 6 p.m. December 20 at 10 p.m.
      Burlington playwright Rick Amesí penned this quirky, hour-long holiday play with music as a commentary on the over-commercialization of the season.
      The scheduling is similar to the Pageant but the showtimes are different. This event is geared "for folks 15 and over, Catalyst Artistic Director Ronni Lopez said.
      All tickets are General Admission for $8. Tickets are available at the Flynn Box Office (802.86.FLYNN) or Call 802.862.2287 or by email. The Waterfront Theater is in the Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center at Lake and College Streets.

AROUND THE STATE--A Counterpoint Christmas takes place this weekend in Rutland, St. J., and Colchester. The program begins Friday in Grace Church, Rutland, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available through Book King (802.773.9232) or at the door. Saturday in North Congregational Church, St. Johnsbury at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at Catamount Arts Council (802.748.5559) or at the door. Sunday at the McCarthy Arts Center, Colchester, at 4 p.m. Tickets are available through the Flynn Box Office (802.86.FLYNN) or at the door.


     ArtBasel-Miami Beach wrapped on Sunday. Sales and attendance were down but Northwestern Vermont could stage a similar extravaganza. Space is limited today so I will discuss that event next week.


     Artisans Hand Craft Gallery in Montpelier exhibits fine craft pieces in clay, fiber, paper, glass, metal, wood, glass, bronze, gold, and silver. The site shows a sampling of the crafts, info about the gallery, buying, a FAQ, web resources, news, gift registries, and contact links.


      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).
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