ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 14 * * All Arts News On the Web * * January 28, 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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      Welcome to the right side of 60.
      The Fletcher Union Meeting House in Fletcher will host Mark Sustic's 60th Birthday Party featuring the Starline Rhythm Boys, Yankee Chank and the Bosnian Lilies plus "lots of impromptu musicians and time for things erupting as they will" on Sunday afternoon starting at 3 p.m.
      "There will be plenty of opportunities for informal music making," Mr. Sustic said.
      Mark Sustic of Fletcher began working as a professional musician in the US and Canada in 1969. For 20 years, he also coordinated the Franklin County Early Childhood Programs. He retired in 2002. His wife, artist Deborah Travis, exhibits at the Vermont Craft Center at Frog Hollow.
      More than anyone I know, he has built his life around kids. He works to integrate the family and music and kids in his life.
      Mr. Sustic now has a busy retirement as a consultant, educator and musician and coordinating the popular Farewell Reunion benefit concerts. He now works with the Vermont Community Foundation, the University of Vermont, Save the Children, and many more.
      He has founded and directed the Champlain Folklore Cooperative, the Champlain Valley Festival, the Welcome Table Coffeehouse, and the youth music ensembles Fiddleheads, Young Tradition, and the Bosnian Lilies. He also coordinated Very Special Arts activities in Burlington in the 80s. He received the Governorís Heritage Award in 2008 for his life in the arts.
      "Music is very easy to put into early childhood teaching," he said.
      Bosnian Lilies co-founder Mediha Jusufagic was a Soviet era dancer who settled in Burlington and wants to keep kids involved in her music and heritage.
      "The Lilies are young people whose families are part of the refugee community who came here to start new lives," Mr. Sustic said. "Most of the kids were born here.
      "I want them to know the part of the world I'm connected to from a heritage perspective."
      He now consults with and advises arts presenting and advocacy organizations, including the All Arts Council, the Champlain Valley Folk Festival, Chandler Music Hall, First Night! Burlington, the Flynn, the National Endowment for the Arts, the North American Folk and Dance Alliance, the Northeast Heritage Music Camp, River Arts, Shelburne Farms, the UVM Lane Series, the Vermont Arts Council, the Vermont Folklife Center, and others. He is enrolled in the doctoral program in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at UVM.
      "I have almost a full time job now working for the VCF to create partnerships between child care providers and businesses to do early childhood stuff," he said.
      "Maybe that means I do too much."
      His best known current effort is the Events for Tom benefit concert series around the state. "Our only child Thomas died in 2001 after a 2-year battle with leukemia," he said. Named in his honor, Events for Tom supports families with children with cancer. The series has evolved into collaborations with other presenters statewide and with musicians all around the country.
      "Everybody is invited" to the party, he said. "If I don't know people, they should come anyway. I'd like to meet them. Kids, too. I hope it will be a cross-section of my worlds, the arts world, the music world, the education world, and friends in the community."
      Admission is by donation at the door. Bring a desert, appetizer or side dish to share to the BYOB event. Don't bring a gift, though. Donations should benefit the Tom Sustic Fund. Email Mark Sustic for more info.


     Art of Action, Shaping Vermont's Future through Art, a statewide touring fine art exhibit, opens at the STAART Gallery in downtown St. Albans on Monday at noon. Produced by the Vermont Arts Council in partnership with Lyman Orton and Janice Izzi, the project commissioned 10 visual artists to create suites of artwork that address issues identified by Vermonters as essential to our state's future. The Artists' Choice Tour in St. Albans contains about half of the 105 pieces created for the Art of Action.
      St. Albans is one of only 23 Vermont communities to host this exhibit. The show continues every day through Saturday, February 13. STAART will be open every day 12 noon - 6 p.m. for the show. There will be an opening reception next Friday, February 5. The reception is free and open to the public.


JEFFERSONVILLE--The Cambridge Elementary School hosts the Winterfest Contra Dance with caller Mark Sustic and Fiddleheads on Friday at 6 p.m.

ST. ALBANS--Overtime Saloon presents the Nobby Reed Project on Saturday at 9 p.m.
      Nobby Reed plays a guitar like none other. He came up in the guitar world when Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana and Duane Allman were playing the music of Robert Johnson, Willie Dixon, BB King, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Howlin' Wolf.

BURLINGTON--Nectar's hosts Blues for Breakfast in a Grateful Dead tribute on Saturday at 9 p.m.

SOUTH BURLINGTON--The Champlain Echoes hold Open Rehearsals at the Pines Senior Living Community on Monday at 6:30 p.m. The all women's a capella barbershop chorus draws members from Burlington and northwestern Vermont. They have appeared in Summer Sounds.

BURLINGTON--Nectar's presents Keeghan Nolan and Special Guests on Tuesday at 9 p.m. Her guests include Andre Maquera, John Cheever, John Haas, Crowfeather, Tim Brick, Eric Long, Carol Ann Jones and Aram Bedrosian.
      Ms. Nolan has opened for national acts Jimmy Wayne and Dusty Drake and won the Colgate Country Showdown.

COLCHESTER--The Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival Winter Encore takes place at Elley-Long Music Center on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
      Festival artists Jeewon Park and Edward Arron will reprise of some of the hits from the Summer Festival and will feature Romie de Guise Langlois, clarinet, in the Beethoven Clarinet Trio in B flat, Op. 11.
      Admission is $25 for adults and $10 for students or children under 18. Click here for more info and tickets.


ST. ALBANS--Soprano Claire Hungerford with accompanist Annemieke Spoelstra will hold a benefit recital, Songs of Life and Love, at the Congregational Church next Saturday evening, February 6, at 7 p.m.
      "It will be a benefit for Haiti," Ms. Hungerford said.
      The classical recital will include music of spring and love from Schubert plus a cycle about a woman's life from the day she first sees the man she wants to marry through to his death by Schumann.
      Admission will be by donation.


     Youtube. Really.
      Vermont artist Corliss Blakely has added three series of "iPhone paintings" to her youtube site. Antique Lace is a video of how a painting evolves on the screen.
      YouTube has also launched its Music Discovery Project. This new tool helps visitors search for music and create YouTube playlists based on their searches. It is a simple application with a search box for the artist's name, a "Disco" button, and results which can be add to a playlist.


      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).
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