ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 13 * * All Arts News On the Web * * August 6, 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 Big Four Music Weeks of summer continues this week. With three or more live concerts, fairs, or festivals each week, there is plenty to see and hear in Franklin County.


     The Summer Sounds concert series continues in Highgate Municipal Park as Drummac Septic Service presents Yankee Chank on Sunday evening at 7 p.m.
      Yankee Chank performs traditional dance music from Southwest Louisiana. Their concerts are an immersion in Cajun music with the traditional Cajun two-steps and waltzes as it continues to be played in the rural dance halls and honky tonks of Louisiana. There is always some spicey Zydeco. Drawn together by a passion for the traditional music, Bob Naess, fiddle and vocals, Cannon Labrie, accordion and vocals, Jim Burns, guitar, and Mark Sustic, bass and percussion, began performing at weddings, festivals, nightclubs, community gatherings, parties and other events a dozen years ago.
      The Highgate Historical Society returns this week with real food, a groaning board of desserts, and other fine sweets in a reprise of the top-rated Summer Sounds Social.
      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 and Sons, Ray's Extrusion Dies and Tubing, and Scotty's Taxi.
      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.


ENOSBURG FALLS--The Artist In Residence Gallery features different artists each month. This month, the spotlight is on Chepe Cuadra, paintings and sculpture; Beth McAdams, paintings; Henry Trask Reilly, paintings; and Karen Scheffler, stained glass.
      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 August.
      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.


ALBURGH--The Seventh annual Lake Champlain Bluegrass Festival brings out Acoustic Blue, the Atkinson Family, Blue Highway, the Cabin Fever Band, Bob Degree & the Bluegrass Storm, the Grascals, the New England Bluegrass Band, Road Scholars, Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, White Mountain Bluegrass Band, and the Woodshredders plus a craft fair, music workshops, a bonfire, barbeque, and jamming, all on a family farm in Alburg. The music starts tomorrow and continues through Sunday afternoon. (In our tribute to perfect planning and excellent weather, there will be just enough time at the end of this Festival to hustle back to Highgate for Summer Sounds.)
      Tomorrow afternoon the stage opens at 1 p.m. The first Road Scholars performance begins at 4 p.m. followed by Bob Degree at 5. More from Road Scholars, Mr. Degree, Acoustic Blue, and the Grascals throughout the evening. There will be a bonfire and open pickin' from 12 midnight until Sunrise both Friday and Saturday nights.
      Saturday is full of workshops. The schedule includes Pickin' with Bob Degree & The Bluegrass Storm, as well as a Guitar Workshop with Garth Priest, Road Scholars, 12 - 1 p.m.; Acoustic Blue teaches from 1 - 2 p.m.; Clawhammer Banjo Workshop with Terry Rodrigues and the Woodshredders, 2 - 3 p.m.; New England Bluegrass teaches 3 - 4 p.m.; there will be 40 Years of Memories with White Mountain Bluegrass, 4 - 5 p.m.; Atkinson Family Bluegrass leads Pickin', 5 - 6 p.m.; Cabin Fever finishes the workshops, 6 - 7 p.m..
      The craft show covers all three days with juried, handmade crafts.
      The 2009 Lake Champlain Bluegrass Festival begins tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. about two miles north of Alburg Village on Route 2. Admission is $70 for the weekend including camping. Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Tickets are available through the Flynn Regional Box Office. Call 802.482.8110 or click here for more info and the entire schedule.

SHELDON--The Summer Music at Grace series presents the Michele Fay Band on Friday at 7:30 p.m.. The concert will offer a mix of traditional, swing and bluegrass influenced music with rich female harmonies.
      The Michele Fay Quartet builds on upbeat fiddle tunes and thought provoking ballads. The band includes Michele Fay, acoustic guitar, banjo, and vocals; Tim Price, mandolin, acoustic guitar and electric guitar; Lausanne Allen, fiddle, whistle, and vocal harmonies; and Andrew Munkres on upright bass. Many of their songs are Michele Fay originals, inspired by current and past life in Vermont.
      The Summer Music concert is held in Grace Church, 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon Creek. All are welcome. Grace Church is wheelchair accessible.
      Admission is $10 or $5 for children. Call 802.326.4603 (or 802.933.4083 tomorrow only) or click here for more info about the series. Click here for more info about the Michele Fay Band

ENOSBURG FALLS--The New Life Christian Church presents the rich gospel sounds of Journey Home on the Lincoln Park bandstand on Saturday evening at 7 p.m. in the third Christian Music on the Parks concert of 2009.
      Journey Home is a family gospel group that offers a blend of gospel music in the Southern Gospel style. Based in Wilton, Maine, they have been on the road ministering in the New England States since 2001. Lead singer Jody Linn Savage of Randolph is always happy to return to perform in her home state.
      The Christian Music on the Parks concerts has featured a wide variety of Christian music styles including southern gospel, Christian country, bluegrass, contemporary, and praise music with artists from throughout New England and New York state. Bring your lawn chairs to enjoy "music with a message."
      All concerts are on Saturday nights at 7 p.m., in Town parks around the county. Admission is free. The rain site is the Lower Level of Masonic Hall A free will love offering is taken at each concert to support the ministries of each artist or group. Call Pastor Tim Stetson (802.933.2513) for more info about the concert series.


      Celebrate summer reading as the Highgate Public Library presents a Creativity Festival in the Highgate Sports Arena on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The family day includes the Big Blue Trunk, the Traveling Storyteller, creating artworks, and a dance with caller Mark Sustic and Fiddleheads.
      Milk and cheese has been donated by the Vermont Dairy Council. Call 802.868.3970 for more info.


     The Mountain Fiber Folk Cooperative in Montgomery is an eclectic shop and studio with art, fabric, and other products made from natural fibers. The "folk" include local farmers and fiber producers who provide most of the fleeces as well as a group of villagers who originally gathered to learn how to spin on a drop spindle. Their site includes news and events, the people, the products, the shop, directions, 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).
      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.