ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 14 * * All Arts News On the Web * * January 7, 2010


      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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      Happy New Decade, everyone!
      The All Arts Council is the only all-volunteer Local Arts Service Organization in the state. A year-end gift to the AAC is both tax-deductible and will go entirely to programming. Your planned 2009 sponsorship will help us continue the programs and our support for other arts groups. Please Email the All Arts Council for more information or to donate.


ENOSBURG FALLS--The Artist In Residence Gallery features different artists each month. This month, the spotlight is on
      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 January.
      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.

ST ALBANS--The Northwestern Medical Center Gallery hosts abstract expressionist St. Albans painter Karen Day-Vath this month. Ms. Day-Vath will exhibit softer recent works with flowers and landscapes in mixed media and texture. She is a board member of the Saint Albans Artist Guild.
      The free show continues through the end of January.


JERICHO--The Jericho Community Center will host a Benefit Contra Dance for the Jericho Community Library on Saturday at 7 p.m.
      Caller Mark Sustic and Fiddleheads will also hold an alumni reunion for Fiddleheads members home on break from college and other obligations. Email or click here for more info.


      Franklin County artists and presenters outdid themselves in 2009. Although the quantity of concerts, events, exhibits, and productions staged this year was down slightly, the quality was definitely up. Last week, we looked at events around the county from the Artist In Residence cooperative to the West Swanton Methodist Church annual Lawn Supper. This week, we finish the look back with a wrap up of the All Arts Council events, what Other Major Presenters have been doing, the Five Franklin County Festivals, and the Quadricentennial.


      The All Arts Council serves northwestern Vermont as a presenter, an event producer, and as a technical resource for artists and other groups. As other organizations have grown, we have been able to produce fewer and support more events.
      Summer Sounds, Franklin County's popular, long running, outdoor series, returned to its roots for its 19th season with free concerts every summer Sunday evening in Highgate Center plus one in St. Albans Bay. There were no Summer Sounds concerts in St Albans City this season.
      The 2009 series offered a lineup of bluegrass, country, folk, gospel, pop, and classic rock-n-roll with Mr. French, Flood in the Fizzy Factory, Jenni Johnson and the Jazz Junketeers, Nobby Reed at the Cap Cancer Blues Festival, the Queen City Quintet, the Stockwell Brothers, and Yankee Chank. Mark Sustic also brought some friends for a Young Traditions bonus concert that we hope to repeat. This series is unique in presenting often nationally known performers who are not seen elsewhere in Franklin County.
      We survived another rainy summer--just one of the outdoor concerts was indoors but we sure worried about the weather this year. Did you miss any of the concerts? Fortunately, Northwest Access TV and the All Arts Council produce Almost Live, a series of live concerts that airs each week on Comcast Channel 15. Videographer Mike Montanye produced a "front row seat" show of all the Summer Sounds concerts and many more besides. click here for more info.


      The Artist In Residence Gallery in Enosburg Falls featured dozens of northern Vermont fine artists with a focus on four different artists each month.
      The Champlain Valley Fair emphasized Vermont music talent with top local performers daily. Those free concerts included Keeghan Nolan of Fairfield backed up by guitarist Andre Maquera and vocalist Wendy Maquera.
      Events for Tom is a statewide presenter with more than a dozen major events each year. They kicked off the season at the Robert Burns Night with Iain MacHarg and guests, and followed with Celtic Crossroads, Cherryholmes, Jesse Cook, and Cheryl Wheeler and Catie Curtis all at the Chandler Music Hall. The Fifth Annual Young Tradition concerts headlined the 14th annual Vermont Irish Heritage Festival and continued with events around the state including Franklin County. The series also hosted Greg Brown with Bo Ramsey, Lisa Ornstein and Andre Marchand, and many more.
      Rotary Home and Recreation Expo continued a program of art for the home. The Rotary Club of St. Albans exhibited a new Fred Swan poster, Gathering Apples, from one of his early paintings. The Home Expo also gallery introduced the work of watercolor painter Barbara Pafume and showed works by Harald Aksdal as well as Sean Dye's popular downtown St. Albans prints.
      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls presented the 40th Army National Guard Band Sousa Concert; Banjo Dan's Fire in the Sugarhouse Tour; Big Spike Bluegrass; A Christmas Carol; the second annual Craft Show; an Evening of Art with Marco de Carvalho; Jon Gailmor; opera with Debra Kraus; Little Women; Music Man; Silver & Gold: A Musical Variety Show; plus a Community Night at the Opera House and the 17th annual Talent Search. The Opera House hosted the Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union annual District Art Gala and houses a permanent art exhibit.
      Summer Music at Grace started its season with the seventh annual Farewell Reunion concert (in conjunction with Events for Tom). They continued with Aurora, the Michele Fay Band, Dana and Sue Robinson in Concert, and Pete and Karen Sutherland. (Village Harmony moved to the Franklin United Church.)
      Vermont Youth Orchestra join flutes with two hundred and sixteen other orchestras for the first national food drive, Orchestras Feeding America; proceeds benefitted the Vermont Foodbank. The orchestra opened the 2009-10 concert season at Saint Maryís Church in Saint Albans with a program of Brahms, Grainger, Jay Greenberg, and Tchaikovsky. Choral Fireworks, the VYO spring concert, was a Quadricentennial event. The VYOA always has several Franklin County performers in the various groups.


      The Art in Bloom Festival brought a day of music, a gazillion exhibits, and plenty of food to Swanson's Farm and Nursery in Fairfax, all as a benefit for Fairfax community organizations.
      Franklin County Field Days had a lineup of music, arts and crafts, antique tractors, and of course cows. The stage lineup included Comedian Joey Allen, Bear Tracks, Jim Daniels Band, Green Mountain Cloggers, Ivory Band, Maple Creek, Keeghan Nolan, Jessica Prouty Band, the Nobby Reed Project, and Yankee Wild performed and Joey the Clown wandered the grounds. "One-price" admission was just $8.
      The seventh annual Lake Champlain Bluegrass Festival featured three days with 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 popular Scholarship Pageant opened the Vermont Dairy Festival which followed up with almost unlimited entertainment and family activities with a weekend lineup that included Bear Tracks, the Enosburgh Town Band, Fire in the Kitchen Cloggers, Marko The Magician, singer and artist Pat Murphy, New Beginnings, Roadhouse Gangstaz, ventriloquist Sylvia and the Magic Trunk, Todd Wellington, the King of Silly, and Yankee Wild. The Northeast Fiddlers Association promoted old-time fiddling.
      The Vermont Maple Festival The 43rd annual Vermont Maple Festival was the first major outdoor Quadricentennial event; it offered French Canadian dancers and young Native American performers, plus writer Germaine Le, native basketmaker Anita Phillips, Josiah Raiche and Company, and storyteller Rachel May White Bear. There were fiddle making, fiber arts, and paper makak basket demonstrations. The free Main Street stage had the Ballet School of Vermont, the Citizens Concert Band, the Electric Youth Dance Company, Fiddleheads, the Joe Levesque Big Band, Marko the Magician, the Keeghan Nolan Band, Prydein, the St. Albans City School Band, and Bill Shontz. BFA filled to overflowing with the Youth Talent Show, the premiere Fiddler's Variety Show, and the annual Crafts Show and Sale.


      2009 marked the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlainís travels by sail, oar and paddle to find, explore, and map our lake. Groups up and down the lake held special events to celebrate the anniversary as well as the resources, the history, and arts of the region.
      The St. Albans Franco-American Heritage Festival offered music, exhibits, and more to highlight the cultural heritage of our region, with a special focus on the 1609 exploration, art, French and Native American culture, and living history. The International Waterfront Festival had Franklin County artists and favorites on the Champlain Valley Stage. The Flynn presented Michele Choiniere and Fabio Choiniere in A Franco American Homecoming. The Burlington International Waterfront Festival had Michele Choiniere and Keeghan Nolan.
      The non-profit, volunteer-staffed Vermont Music Library at Big Heavy World, the Vermont Folklife Center, and the Vermont Historical Society have released Thrufters & Throughstones: The Music of Vermont's First 400 Years with two songs by Franklin County artists to celebrate Lake Champlain's Quadricentennial. Michele Choiniere (La Bergere) and Fiddleheads (Growling Old Man, Grumbling Old Woman) as well as Anais Mitchell, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and Phish contribute to the album. We will cover the CD in more depth later this month. Click here for more 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 © 2010 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.