ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 13 * * All Arts News On the Web * * April 23, 2009


      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 43rd annual Vermont Maple Festival takes over downtown St. Albans tomorrow afternoon. In addition to maple exhibits, food, and family fun, the event puts performers on stage on Main Street, at BFA, and at City Elementary School. Summer weather will prevail.
      Vermont also celebrates the 400th anniversary of French explorer Samuel de Champlainís travels to our (once upon a time Great) Lake with special events at the first of the big outdoor Festivals of the year. If Samuel Came to St. Albans During Sugarin' brings the Native American culture and French-Canadian heritage of the St. Albans area to the Festival.
      French Canadian dancers will demonstrate a traditional French Quadrille. Young Native American performers will dress in the formal raiments of the day for dances and music. A Fiddle maker will demonstrate his craft. Native basketmaker Anita Phillips will make snowflakes on Saturday. Story teller Rachel May White Bear will tells tale in Abenaki and English on Saturday. Vermont farm woman and author Germaine Le Clair will read her stories and fiddle on Sunday morning. There will be Fiber Arts demonstration and paper makak basket making and decoration for children. The Festival will screen Historian Fred Wiseman's film 1609: the Other Side of History on Friday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m. Maple Festival Youth Talent Show winner Josiah Raiche and Company will demonstrate regimental drumming and ancient music in costume on Friday at 5:30 and Sunday at 3:30 p.m. Most events take place at the Quadricentennial Event Center in City Hall Auditorium on Friday noon - 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
      The Maple Festival Parade--the biggest in Vermont--starts from Houghton Street on Sunday at 1 p.m. sharp. The parade stretches out for miles with over 120 bands, unique floats, clowns, horses and tractors, and the ever-popular pooper scooper.
      The annual Crafts Show and Sale will be held in BFA Auditorium on Friday noon - 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
      The Friday entertainment lineup on the free Main Street stage includes the Ballet School of Vermont kicking off the schedule a little earlier than in past years at 11:30 a.m. Marko the Magician returns with his magic and hypnosis show. Fiddleheads keep the fiddle music tradition alive and the Celtic rock band, Prydein, performs at 4.
      The Youth Talent Show will fill the BFA Auditorium on Friday evening at 7 p.m. This annual favorite brings together some of the most talented children in the County competing for scholarship prizes. Tickets are available at the information booth on Main Street and at the festival office.
      Saturday on stage begins with the return of famed children's storyteller and family musician Bill Shontz and continues with the Electric Youth Dance Company. The Joe Levesque Big Band brings the band music of the 40s to the present. Winners from the Youth Talent Show will perform at 3:30. The Keeghan Nolan Band, Franklin County's favorite country music star, headlines the show at 4 p.m.
      The Fiddler's Variety Show is an annual sellout in BFA Auditorium with hours and hours and hours of Canadian and American singers, dancers, pickers, comedy, and clogging all starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the information booth on Main Street and at the festival office.
      On Sunday, the Main Street stage offers the St. Albans City School Band with over 100 6th, 7th and 8th grade musicians performing at 11. After a break for the parade, the Citizens Concert Band under the leadership of Kevin Loomis closes the day.


ST. ALBANS--Chow!Bella presents Carol Ann Jones and the Superchargers tomorrow evening at 7:30 p.m.
      Georgia's Carol Ann Jones says she hopes her music brings peace or a big smile. "I sang on church choirs and took vocal lessons," she said. "I sang to the cows while I was milking. I don't do that any more." She has also sung with the Champlain Echoes, the Hallmark Jazz Quartet, and Pine Street Jazz.
      The Superchargers draw from her backup band on her debut album, Out of the Blue. On any performance Aram Bedrosian, Andre Maquera, Will Patton, Chris Peterman, Lauren and Morgan Randall, Dan Skea, Gary Spaulding, The Fabulous Spiders, Gordon Stone, and Anna Wagner might sit in. The CD was produced by West Street Digital.
      Call 802.524.1405 for more info.

ST. ALBANS--The Franklin County Cooperative Ministry presents the Last Sunday Praise Service at St Paul's United Methodist Church on Sunday evening at 6 p.m.
      The contemporary service music this week includes vocalist and director Brad Jenkins with vocalists Mary Hoy, Florence Livingstone, Jo-Anne McCoy, and Martha Rainville who is visiting this week, plus musicians Dominic Berrini, bass, Alan Cassavoy, guitar, Carole Parent, percussion, and Tom Roby, piano.
      Admission is free but a free will offering will benefit local charities.
      The service takes place on the final Sunday of each month. Channel 15 airs the program on the first two weeks of each month, on Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at 6 a.m and 1 p.m.

BURLINGTON--Events for Tom presents Toumani Diabate's Symmetric Orchestra at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday at 8 p.m.
      The Grammy winner leads 10 African musicians of the Symmetric Orchestra with his kora, the 21-string harp-lute. Their music blends the music of the 13th-century Mauritania with the modern compositions of the Ivory Coast from Senegal to Nigeria and uses early African instruments and their modern counterparts.
      INsights: T Diabate & the Kora is a discussion in which Mr. Diabate shares his love for the Kora and the Malian music traditions in the Amy E. Tarrant Gallery on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Saint Michael's professor Josselyne Price will speak about the Griot tradition of the African Diaspora, the traditional musical instruments, play music samples in the Amy E. Tarrant Gallery on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Both free events are related to the Symmetric Orchestra MainStage Performance.
      Admission is $43/$33/$23; children under 17 and students with ID save $4 off top two prices. Tickets are available at or at the door. Call 802.86.FLYNN or click here for more info.
      Toumani Diabate's Symmetric Orchestra plays Dartmouth College on Monday and Tuesday.

ESSEX JUNCTION--The Lincoln Inn begins the week with WCLX Blues Night featuring the Summer Sounds favorite Jenni Johnson & Friends tonight at 7 p.m. Wednesday is Eagle Country Music Night with the Keegan Nolan Acoustic Show at 7 p.m.
      Call 802.878.3309 or click here for more info.

BURLINGTON--ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center on Lake Champlain concludes its annual two week celebration of Earth Day and Mud Season with ecology presentations, Muddy MudFest activities, free chocolate treats, and Muddy Music at One.
      Listen to Franklin County blues man Jim Branca getting the mojo down and muddy on tomorrow afternoon. Lui Collins wraps up the series with Muddy Music on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Concerts are held at 1 - 1:30 p.m. and are free with admission to ECHO.
      Click here for more info.


     Victoria Blewer of Lincoln begins with black-and-white film then hand-colors her images. Those photographs have been featured in the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, Vermont Life, Vermont Magazine and Yankee Magazine. Her site includes several portfolios, plus info about Ms. Blewer, her technique and reviews.


      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 © 2009 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.