ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 14 * * All Arts News On the Web * * January 14, 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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      2010 will be another busy year in the arts with over 250 concerts, exhibits, recitals, and shows from more than 40 organizations. This column has info about upcoming All Arts Council and Opera House events plus our Other Major Presenters' plans and the Five Franklin County Festivals.
      Happy New Year!

      2010 mark the 20th anniversary of the Summer Sounds concert series. We have planned lots of "really big shews" so we need money and volunteers. We specifically need a volunteer rain maker (heh) to help us raise the extra money to make the popular series even better.
      Don't forget that volunteers and a permanent base make up the "back room" a Local Arts Service Organizations like the AAC needs to offer marketing and technical help, have resources, store stuff, and to host meetings and exhibits, and concerts and workshops for artists, other groups, and local presenters.
      If you have an advertising budge to spend or space to lend for the year, email the All Arts Council.
      AAC will hold exhibits for artists in all media and pays actual cash money for bands and solo performers. If you are one or know one, email the All Arts Council.

      The All Arts Council will celebrate its 25th year with three main goals: continuing our popular programs, continuing our support of artists and other presenters, and continuing our partnerships. The AAC may also host several one-time shows. Email the All Arts Council if you would like to suggest or host a show.
      Summer Sounds, Franklin County's premiere outdoor concert series, enters its 20th season with a lineup of bluegrass, classical, country, folk, jazz, pop, opera, and classic rock-n-roll. Assuming the Towns continue their support. The concerts are always on a Sunday night, always in a Town Park, always at 7 p.m. and always free.
      The Grand Holiday Crafts and Fine Arts Tour of Franklin County will take Christmas shoppers to Enosburg, Fairfield, Franklin, St. Albans, Swanton, and more.

      The Opera House also plans a mix of major productions, touring, and community events. In conjunction with the AAC, they will host exhibits of artwork by Franklin County artists in the downstairs Gallery.
      "In the works are plans to expand on our 2009 successes," Executive Director Suzanne Hull-Parent said. Musical theater returns to the Opera House this summer and the organization will continue to showcase our local and statewide Vermont talent.
      Email for more info.

      The AAC helps promote many other Franklin County presenters and individual artists. Our regularly updated online calendar is found here.
      Art in Bloom Festival will bring a day of music, a gazillion exhibits, and plenty of food to Swanson's Farm and Nursery in Fairfax in July.
      Bay Day will celebrate again this year with continuous entertainment and family activities all day plus a Summer Sounds concert and fireworks to cap this July Fourth blowout.
      The 2010 Events for Tom series will continue its evolution into collaborations with other presenters. The 'Eleven Pipers Piping' will be rescheduled. The lineup already includes the Alisdair Fraser, Natalie Haas, Kimberly Fraser and Troy MacGillivray concert; a St. Patrick's Day Celebration; the Burlington Irish Heritage Festival Showcase Concert; Rafe and Celia Stefanini concert and workshop; Square and Contra dances; the Farewell Reunion Concert; the Northeast Heritage Music Camp concert at the Hyde Park Opera House, a series of Young Tradition dances, workshops, contests, concerts, and showcases, plus Mark Sustic's 60th birthday music party, and much more. Call Mark Sustic (802.849.6968) or click here for more info.
      The Fairfax Community Theater Company will meet to vote on the spring, summer, fall and holiday tonight. FCTC needs directors, actors, stage hands, and more. This is your chance to join one of the great community troupes and to stage work that you want to do. FCTC's original fall production of Two Dragon Tales and a Taste of Saki is available as streaming video on their website. Email or click here for more info.
      Franklin County Court Diversion's popular fourth annual fundraiser, the Mardi Gras Party at Chow! Bella will be held on Saturday, February 20. The dinner and dance will feature The Fabulous Spiders.
      Island Arts has brought arts activities to Grand Isle County for 27 years. The group has the Community Dance Series beginning in two weeks plus Dine and Ride to the VSO, a Bandslam, Bluegrass Gospel Project, Elisabeth Von Trapp, the Island Craft Show, and more. Click here for more info.
      The Green Arts Bus hopes to host trips to the Flynn for Serenade/The Proposition and for FDR by Ed Asner.
      County-wide, our public Libraries have a slew of plans including readings, lunchtime concerts, art shows, and kids' performers.
      The eclectic Music at Grace series at Grace Church in Sheldon will offer exceptional performers to Franklin County for several concerts this summer and fall including the Farewell Reunion concert, a perennial favorite, which kicks off the series on May 28 and Boreal Tordu who will perform in July.
      The St. Albans Artists' Guild did not respond to requests for info by press time. Email Sheri Moore, president, or click here for more info.
      The St. Albans Historical Museum will have a lineup of performances, exhibits, and educational programs in the third-floor Bliss auditorium. click here for more info.
      The Northern Vermont Artist Association enters its 79th year of providing venues for aspiring and established visual artists. The NVAA has a two-month long, non-juried show at the Red Mill Gallery in Jericho this summer, a month-long show at Union Station in October, an online gallery, and several other venues. Click here for more details.
      School art shows will include FNESU's annual Art Gala and the annual FCSU Art Show. The shows bring together hundreds of two and three dimensional pieces in schools and halls around the County.
      The Vermont Youth Orchestra programs include three orchestras, three ensembles, and two choruses. They teach and showcase over 500 students of all levels of musical ability from Vermont, NY, and New Hampshire. The VYO Winter Concert takes place this month. Click here for more info.

      Taken together, the five major Franklin County area Festivals have built more than 150 years of outdoor arts and entertainment here.

     The 35th Franklin County Field Days swells Highgate with crafts, exhibits, agricultural exhibits, cattle judging, antique tractor pulls, rides, and more at the Franklin County Airport. This long running event fills a tent, the grounds, and the stage with popular bands and solo performers from near and far.
      The 17th Annual Jig in the Valley will benefit the East Fairfield Community Center with a family day of music and picnicking on the last weekend in July. This concert helps raise funds and awareness for the NMC regional health center, pre-school, Head Start, Teen, and Senior Citizen programs.
      The 8th Annual Lake Champlain Bluegrass Festival brings a full weekend of pickin' and grinnin' plus a craft fair, music workshops, a bonfire, barbeque, camping, and jamming, all on the first full weekend in August.
      The 54th annual Vermont Dairy Festival will spotlight Franklin County performers in a June benefit weekend for the Lions Club. This years theme will be Milk Rocks!
      The 44th annual Vermont Maple Festival in April is the first major outdoor festival of the year and an official Quadricentennial Event. St. Albans hosts three days of family education and entertainment. The Festival includes a popular talent show, the sold out fiddler's variety show, a large craft show, embraces many other community events, and offers the biggest parade in Vermont.

      The Citizens Concert Band will celebrate its 59th year with outdoor concerts starting in June and alternating on Wednesdays between Swanton, St. Albans, and St. Albans Bay. Call Kevin Loomis (802.868.2684) for info.
      The Enosburg Town Band performs Tuesdays in the Lincoln Park Bandstand, starting in June. Call Alisa Martin (802.933.2062) for info.


     Summer Sounds favorites Atlantic Crossing perform original songs plus the traditional and instrumental music of New England, the British Isles, and French and Maritime Canada, and original material inspired by these traditions. Their site has info about the band members, the calendar, their albums, performances, reviews, booking, and contact details.


      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.