ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 13 * * All Arts News On the Web * * May 7, 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 Opera House in Enosburg Falls presents the soul of bluegrass in the heart of Vermont as Banjo Dan & the Mid-Nite Plowboys bring the final stop of the "Fire in the Sugarhouse" tour to Enosburg on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
      A typical review might boast that The Plowboys bring the best of southern (style) bluegrass to New England but that is untrue. The Plowboys can bring the best of southern (Vermont) bluegrass to the deep South and have the audiences beggin' for more.
      Banjo Dan Lindner and his quintet of harmonizers have written, played, and recorded dynamic, original bluegrass music since the 1970s. The Opera House show returns their soulful lead singing, spot-on harmonies, fiery picking, energy, variety and humor to the Franklin County stage. "We last played at the Opera House early in the restoration process," Dan Lindner said. "It will be good to be back."
      The Plowboys include Dan Lindner, banjo, Willie Lindner, mandolin, Al Davis, guitar, Jon Henry Drake, bass, and the rotational fiddler, the hard-driving Rich Hamilton.
      Fire in the Sugarhouse, their 2008 album, offers original songs about Vermont, New England and more, along with tunes from some of the boys' favorite songwriters. "We have a lot of new music on the CD and in the show," Dan Lindner said. "We started touring a little earlier this year but it has been nice to get out and play this Spring. The band sounds good."
      Live concerts make a good "mini-staycation" in difficult times. Admission is just $10 for adults and $8 for senior citizens and students. Tickets are available at Better Planet, Enosburg Pharmacy, Parkside Grill, Precious Things, Somerset Inn, all Enosburg Falls banks, and at the door. Click here or here to listen to the title track from the album or for more info.

      The Opera House Fun(d)raiser next week Saturday (May 16) will feature a five course meal by Jeff's Seafood and cabaret style Musical Theater by Encore. Seating is limited so there will be advance-sale tickets only
      Call 802.933.6171 or email for more info and for reservations.


ENOSBURG FALLS--The Artist In Residence Gallery features different artists each month. This month, the spotlight is on the paintings of Robert Eldridge, paintings and fiber of Heidi Lague, jewelry of Holly Spier, and photography of Peter Arthur Weyrauch.
      The A.I.R. gallery hosts a free meet-the-artists reception with refreshments tonight from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. The exhibit continues through the end of May.
      The Artist in Residence art cooperative features paintings, fiber arts, stained glass, sculpture, lamps, pottery, folk art boxes, scarves, hats and more by 45 Franklin County and surrounding area artists. It is owned and operated by the artists and sponsors. The Village Frame Shoppe is located within the coop as a resident framer. The Blue Crayon, a small private studio, is available there for individual or small group lessons. The gallery, located at 349 Main Street, is open Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Click here for more info.

ST ALBANS--The Northwestern Medical Center Gallery hosts Shirley Cary this month. Ms. Cary is a "repeat performer"; she exhibited last May as well. She combines photography with dried flowers for a three-dimensional effect..
      The show continues through the end of May.


ST. ALBANS--Chow! Bella brings back PoJazz for Full Moon Poetry and Jazz on Saturday at 8 p.m.
      PoJazz is an eclectic mix of poetry and jazz by Johnson State College students, faculty and friends. The performers often include jazz musicians Tony Whedon, trombone, Lars Duggan, piano, Clyde Statts, bass, and Barry Reis, trumpet and drums. Mr. Whedon calls the show "fluid jazz theater." It changes constantly as new poets and musicians join to create new shows.
      "Bring your poetry," Connie said, "but leave the werewolves at home."


SWANTON--The Swanton Free Public Library will host a Mother's Day party just for moms in the Community Meeting Room on Friday at 7 p.m. The library will screen the movie Mamma Mia! with Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan. Refreshments will be served. Admission is free.


     Troy Peters, Music Director of the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association since 1995, has accepted the position of Music Director for the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio, Texas. He will leave the VYO at the end of this concert season.
      Under his guidance, the VYO has tripled in size and has achieved a national reputation. VYO musicians have collaborated with guest artists including Midori, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Jaime Laredo of the VSO and Trey Anastasio of Phish fame. He has increased the performance of contemporary music and has commissioned and presented work by Vermont composers. The VYO has received seven ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming during his tenure.
      The VYOA has brought Franklin County kids together with musicians from across Vermont and upstate New York in 7 major units: Presto, the Chamber Winds, the Strings, the Sinfonia, the Philharmonia, and the Vermont Youth Orchestra, as well as the Choruses.
      "Most of all, I am grateful to our student musicians, who have impressed me time and time again with their ability to raise the bar one notch higher in pursuit of musical excellence," Maestro Peters said of the thousands of young musicians he has brought along.
      The VYO debuted at Carnegie Hall in 2004 with a program of music written by living Vermont composers. Last year, the VYO made a wildly successful two-week concert tour of China. In July Maestro Peters will take the orchestra on a performance tour of Québec and France.
      A personal note: Maestro Peters and I worked together on several Concerts for Grumpy Grownups, mostly held on the MVU stage because it has the excellent acoustics and the space needed for a 95-piece orchestra. He has been a joy to work with. He also invited me to make my own debut in front of a symphony orchestra when I narrated Copland's Lincoln Portrait. Thank you, Troy. I shall not soon forget that. We will miss you.
      The VYOA expects to appoint interim conductors for the upcoming 2009-2010 concert season, and will undertake a national search for a new Music Director in the coming months.
      Call 802.655.5030 or click here for more info.


     Holding Lines: The oneGemini Studios Blog offers a "look behind the pencil" of comic book illustrator Blair D. Shedd of Fairlee.
      Mr. Shedd 's artwork has appeared in paper publications including books from Nomad Press and Marvel Comics trading cards and on websites and is found in private collections in the United States, Canada, Central America, Europe, and Australia. He studied at the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art. He works as a freelance illustrator and writer. His site includes a gallery of pinups, narrative art, traditional paintings and portraits, and a sketchbook plus his biography, commissions, links. and contact info.


      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).
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