ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 14 * * All Arts News On the Web * * March 11, 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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      Rotary Club of St. Albans opens the doors to its annual fund raiser, the Home & Recreation Exposition, tomorrow through Sunday at the Collins-Perley Sports and Fitness Center.
      The Champlain Collection has had a major exhibit at the Home Show for several years. 2010 marks the sixth year they have published a new Fred Swan poster at the Home Expo. This year's selection is a summer piece, Wagon Wheel, with the wheel leaning up against a mailbox from one of his early paintings.
      The Home Expo gallery will also include works by Harald Aksdal, Corliss Blakely, Barbara Parfume, and Sean Dye's popular downtown St. Albans prints.
      Mr. Aksdal will attend the gallery showing from 10-3 p.m. on Saturday. "Harald will be working on a new pen and ink," Collection owner Norm Choiniere said. "He will sign new pieces and chat with his fans and friends."
      Significantly more home improvement will happen again this year than new home construction; that home improvement can easily help showcase your own collection of art.
      Rotary supports local organizations. The Learn to Ski Program takes youngsters to Smugglers Notch. The offer annual support to programs like Martha's Kitchen and Special Olympics. They like to help the start-up or expansion of local programs or facilities such as the Hard'ack snow making equipment and expansion at the St. Albans Historical Museum, Club Respite, and the Library, as well as new playground equipment in area parks. All thanks to funds raised at the Home Expo.
      Admission is still just $5 and all children under 16 are admitted free. The doors open at 2 p.m. on Friday, 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sunday. The Collins-Perley Sports and Fitness Center is located just off I-89 at Exit 19.


     The All Arts Council, Franklin County Caring Communities, and Common Ground's first Stop Drunk Driving Music Campaign started a search last week for talented young musicians from Franklin and Grand Isle Counties.
      The Stop Drunk Driving Music Campaign still needs a name and still needs music.
      The top three name choices so far include "New Noise," "SkoolToonzRoolz," and "yoot2yoot." Any name submitted should promote the music, the musicians, and the message. It must sound entertaining and have style.
      Send your suggestions for a name by email to
      Three exceptional area music professionals have volunteered to help the campaign. Sound engineer Lyle Glidden, West Street Digital's Andre Maquera, and Armand Messier of Messier's Recording Studio. Email Mr. Glidden at, Mr. Maquera at, and Mr. Messier at for more info.
      "We're asking artists to donate their own music and to add comments to our blog to raise awareness about the dangers of driving under the influence," Franklin County Caring Community's Beth Crane said. A total of 30 artists will appear on a digitally distributed CD. The music will be available for free downloading by anyone. The deadline is March 30. There is no entry fee.
      This project is sponsored by the All Arts Council, Franklin County Caring Communities, and Common Ground with assistance from other area businesses and community groups. Click here for more info.


ACTORS AND MORE--Fairfax Community Theater Company auditions for a Radio Theater Dramatization of "The Maltese Falcon" continue next tonight and tomorrow. FCTC needs 11 actors: six men and three women plus two roles in which gender is indifferent. It will be a cold reading.
      The Maltese Falcon is a radio drama so FCTC will emphasize vocal flexibility and fundamental reading skills. Age and appearance are very much secondary. The director wants sonorous radio voices and seamless delivery. Rehearsals will start in late March or early April.
      Auditions on March 11 and 12 will be held at BFA-Fairfax High School at 7-9 p.m.
      Call 802.425.6331, email, or click here for more info.


SOUTH BURLINGTON--Fletcher Allen hosts a fundraiser at Higher Ground to support the Vermont Haiti Project tonight starting at 6:30 p.m. The event features musicians from FAMC including St. Albans native Karen McFeeters plus Julie Winn with Brendan Hatch; Smokin' Gun with Mike Socha; Smooth Buddha with Andrew Kwass; Myra Flynn with Dave Grippo and Monique Citro; and Rock'd Country with vocalist McKenna Lee, Charlie Jones, Jeff Allen, Heidi Bean, and Monique Citro.
      The Vermont Haiti Project is a volunteer organization formed from Project Haiti in 2007. For more than 18 years these groups have provided humanitarian services in a rural Haitian mountain region north of Port-au-Prince.
      Doors open at six. Admission is by a recommended donation of $5 at the door.

BURLINGTON--The 15th Annual Burlington Irish Heritage Festival and Young Tradition Vermont present Women in Irish Music and Dance in Contois Auditorium at City Hall on Sunday at 6 p.m. The show benefits the Tom Sustic Fund.
      The evening of laughter features Fiddleheads (McKinley James, Kyla Leary, Maria Naumann, Delilah Necrason, Eileen O’Grady and Molly Shallow) plus Sarah Blair and Hiliari Farrington; Martha Gallagher; Full Circle (Maeve Kim, Beth London, Linda Rodd, Susan Reit de Salas and Mary Ann Samuels); Jennifer Curtin; Katrina Gibson with Nita Hanson and Suzy Harris; Mary’s Lane (Maura Morse, Lynn Mahoney and Janet Wilson); McFadden Academy of Irish Dance; and Reel Girl (Laura Markowitz, Molly Shallow, Ariana Matthews-Salzman, Ana Ruesink and Susi Hurd) with emcee Laura Travis. There will also be a post concert Irish session at Ri Ra on Church Street, starting at 9 p.m.
      Admission is $15. Tickets are available at the door. There are no advance ticket sales.
      Email or click here for more info.

SOUTH HERO--The Blue Paddle Bistro presents the Croppies next Wednesday, St. Patrick's Day, at 5:30 p.m. With Paddy Smith on bouzouki, button accordion, banjo, cittern, and vocals, Chris Gauthier on bodhran, congas, drums, guitar, and vocals, and Cheryl Kerr on fiddle, guitar, bodhran, and vocals, the group performs Irish, English, North American and contemporary songs. Their instrumental choices range from the jigs and reels of Gaelic dance to Breton melodies and the baroque-flavored compositions of O'Carolan.
      "Check us out on Facebook and make your reservations early," Paddy said. "This show sells out fast!"
      Call 802.372.4814 or email for reservations and info.

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

ST. ALBANS--Chow Bella offers Music to Dine By with John Cassel on the piano on Wednesdays at 6:30 and the jazz and improv of Vern Colburn on the Piano on Fridays at 5:30. Call 524.1405 or click here for more info.


     Functional sculptor Joe Chirchirillo of North Bennington makes "kinetic sculpture systems" powered by small electric motors, pumps or sometimes by hand. His site has galleries of mechanical animals and sculpture systems, a video interview, his resume, 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 © 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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