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 at Enosburg Falls presents An Evening of Enchantment beginning at 6 p.m. on Saturday. The fun(d)raiser includes dinner and a magical cabaret with Encore.
      The Vermont musical comedy troupe, Encore, will perform an evening revue of songs collected from the worlds of Broadway, off-Broadway and Cabaret. Members Tim Barden, Steve Rainville, Cathy Walsh, and Denise Whittier, with pianist Joyce Flanagan have performed together for more than 25 years. The group brings wide experience in community theater to their concerts. Cathy Walsh played "Dolly" in the Lyric production of the same name.
      Encore is encoring in Enosburg. They appeared on the Opera House Stage in 2002.
      The pre-theater dinner menu, an art form in itself from Jeff's Maine Seafood, includes Vermont cheddar and potato soup, local mixed green salad with maple balsamic dressing, grilled salmon or local beef tenderloin, and a maple creme brulee (and those are just the highlights). Hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar start at 6; dinner seating is at 7 p.m.
      Admission is $120/couple. $5 of every ticket goes straight to the Enosburg Food Shelf; the proceeds benefit a thriving Opera House. Call 802.933.6171 or 802.933.6623 or click here for ticket info.


     Young Tradition Weekend begins Friday and continues through Sunday morning in Burlington. The festival features young singers, players, and dancers in folk and traditional styles.
      Tomorrow, St. Anthony's Parish Hall hosts a Contra Dance with caller Rebecca Lay and Owen Marshall, Elly Marshall, Alexis Chartrand and other guest callers and musicians at 8 p.m.
      Main Stage performances on Saturday include On the Border Morris at the Farmer's Market at noon and the Showcase Concert at Waterfront Park at 7 p.m.
      The Showcase Concert features Avi and Celia, Joanne Garton, Owen and Elly Marshall, Mayfly, Cynthia MacLeod and Jon Matthews, Rehana Pathiawala, Pale Fire, Colin Savoie-Levac and Beatrix Methe and friends, Strawberry Hill Fiddlers, contest winners and surprise guests. The rain site is City Hall.
      The big Showcase Contest puts over 30 acts on stage Saturday from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. during Kids Day at Waterfront Park. Audience favorites chosen at the contest are awarded cash prizes and featured in showcase and other events in Vermont, New England, and Quebec. Performers include Blueberry Jammers, Kate Sprout, Bosnian Lilies, Ngomo ye Kweto, Rachel Mayer, Lake Champlain Waldorf School Contra Dance Band, Elly Valastro with Elana Salisbury, Smoking Cellos, Wilkommen, Roland Clark, Liza Mackey, Heather Morris Celtic Dancers, Rehana Pathiawala, Crack On, Crimson Strings, On the Border Morris, Jan Monteagudo-Meese, Rockfish, Jaden Gladstone, Sap Run Fiddlers, Hannah Beth Crary, Alexis Chartrand, Brianna Farver and Andrew Hathaway, Tessa and Ella Bangs, Matching Orange, Les Poules a Colin (Colin Savoie-Levac, Marie Savie-Levac, Eleonore Pitre, Sarah Marchand and Beatrix Methe), Baby Back Bibs, Strawberry Device featuring Blue Tooth , Gabriel and Alexis Campagne, Henry Jamison-Root, Avi and Celia and others
      The Saturday lineup also includes a number of workshops beginning at 9:30 - 11 a.m. The Beginning Calling for Aspiring Contra Dance Callers workshop with Rebecca Lay is in Contois Auditorium; New England Roots Harmony Singing workshop with Katie Trautz and Julia Wayne is at Big Heavy World; the Scottish and Maritime Fiddle workshop with Cynthia MacLeod and Joanne Garton is at the Burlington Violin Shop. The 3:30 - 5 pm. sessions include the Highland, Scottish Step and Scottish Ceilidh Dancing workshop with Joanne Garton and Heather Morris at Contois Auditorium; Quebec Fiddle Tunes workshop with Alexis Chartrand, Beatrix Methe and Colin Savoie-Levac at the Burlington Violin Shop; and the Accompaniment for Fiddle Tunes workshop with Owen and Elly Marshall at Big Heavy World.
      The Award Presentations and Reception begins at 5 p.m at Waterfront Park with members of Village Harmony, Pete Sutherland, VIP guests, and students from Swanton. The rain site is City Hall.
      There will also be an Open Sing with Mayfly and special guests at Waterfront Park on Sunday at 10 a.m.
      The Young Tradition Weekend is an Events for Tom presentation; the proceeds benefit the Tom Sustic Fund, supporting families with children with cancer. Call Mark Sustic (802.849.6968) or email for general info about the series and the Tom Sustic Fund.


ST. ALBANS--John Cassel returns on Wednesday, May 20, for a regular Wednesday night gig at Chow!Bella.
      The "first hippie of Bakersfield," helped build the Vermont music scene for more than thirty years. He is a classically trained jazz pianist who can and does play country, folk, pop, rock, and dinner music. He calls the latter the "kind of music you should talk over."
      He works much of the time on a restored 1882 Steinway B in his third floor music room cum workshop in his eclectic home at the intersection of Cassel Road and Harmon's Way in Bakersfield. The Steinway B, one of the oldest of the modern pianos, arrived by crane. It sits at the very top of the house he built with ledge and stone and pieces of a sugar house and the ashes of the original home. The room has a pine cathedral ceiling, a glass divider, and hard walls but a nice sound.
      His CDs are available at As the Crow Flies, Rail City Market, and the Music Store in St. Albans, as well as Bear Pond Books, Borders, Barnes and Noble, and online at and at
      He will begin playing around 6 p.m. at Chow!Bella.
      The restaurant also offers the jazz and improv of Vern Colburn on the Piano on Fridays at 5:30 and dynamite jazz duo of Ted Crosby and Fabian Rainville at 7 p.m. on Saturdays. Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.

ESSEX JUNCTION--The Lincoln Inn offers some favorites this week. Tonight is WCLX Blues night with the Nobby Reed Project at 7 p.m. Friday has SturCrazie and Saturday brings Summer Sounds favorites Rumbledoll, both at 9 p.m. Maple Creek plays Eagle Country Music Night on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
      Call 802.878.3309 or click here for more info.

SOUTH HERO--Island Arts presents Northern Bronze in A Kaleidoscope of Bells in South Congregational Church on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m.
      The community handbell ensemble, Northern Bronze is based in Essex Junction with members from all around the Chittenden, Grand Isle and Franklin County. Participants include Liz Audet, Lizzie Alton, Barb Blokland, Judy Boardman, Christi Champagne, Marge Douglass, Anne Exler, Carolyn Harris, Jodie Auer-Johnson, Matthew Johnson, Ben Nogueras, Marilyn Sink, Mary Jane Wirsing, Sandy Jefferis, The troupe is directed by Jerilyn Bergdahl. They are regulars at First Night and have performed with Bella Voce and Elizabeth von Trapp.
      Admission is $10 per person. Click here for more info

JEFFERSONVILLE--The Village Tavern hosts Open Mic at 8 p.m. on Thursdays.

FAIRFAX--The regular Music Session continues Saturday with acoustic instrumentalists playing traditional songs at the Foothills Bakery, 1-4:30 p.m. Admission is free by donation.


     Colin McCaffrey of East Montpelier is a entertainer and music producer. He performs nationwide as a singer/songwriter and freelance musician. The site includes his schedule, biography, record store, his studio, and more.


      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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