ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 14 * * All Arts News On the Web * * November 24, 2011


      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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      At Thanksgiving time, I ask area artists to share what they are grateful for at this time of year. This was a hard year for our artists. The economy continued to struggle which meant many in our community struggled as well.
      "I'm thankful for a beautiful place to live, play music, listen to music, make music, and people and places like AAC that make so much possible!" Mark Sustic wrote.
      Scott Guptill of the local rock band Justice is "thankful for the fantastic year they have had in and around Vermont. In just one year they have played for well over 2500 people. We are thankful for our fans who follow us consistently, our families who understand our passion for playing music and the owners of the bars and clubs willing to have us [and] for the social mediums available to communicate with everyone."
      Carol Ann Jones is "very thankful for this past year in music. Despite the torrential weather, [she performed] lovely concerts on the lakeshore, weddings filled with love and special moments with listeners who really needed a song to get them through the day.
      "Times are tough," she said, "and there is nothing like music to give you pause and comfort." The Superchargers finished the year with Floodapalooza, an event which raised thousands for Vermonters in need.
      "I'm thankful for an amazing collection of musicians at Summer Music at Grace," Beth Crane said, "and the enthusiastic and supportive audiences!
      "I'm also thankful for the organ at Grace Church ... the oldest-surviving, American-built cathedral organ in the continental United States."
      My personal note: It has been a tough year for most of us but I'm thankful for a great year for arts audiences with art in parks and halls, concert series like Concert by the Common, Summer Music at Grace, and Summer Sounds, theatricals, and a dozen events at the Opera House!
      Regular readers may know that I am traveling again. I usually write this column from the Keys where it has never snowed on Thanksgiving. For that I am profoundly thankful, perhaps more so because I didn't get here until last week. And I still have walls full of my mom's art, and mine, and a host of other artists I like from Natalie LaRocque and Gustav Verderber to Corliss Blakely and Andrew Wyeth.
      Despite the economy, the vibrant art scene here on the southernmost islands of the United States continues with galleries, concerts, performances, and organizations everywhere you look. Marathon Community Theater is staging the thoughtful drama Sleeping Indoors again tomorrow. And the sun still sets every evening out beyond Key Vaca.
      Art on the walls. Music in the halls. Family and friends around us. It is the definition of what makes this week special.


     The First Congregational Church St. Albans presents an old fashioned Holiday Concert with the Citizens Concert Band and Community Singers on Sunday at 2 p.m.
      "We do it ever other year and this is the year," band director Kevin Loomis said.
      The Chorus opens the concert with Let There Be Peace on Earth and has a program that includes Come, Emmanuel!, I Saw Three Ships, Gesangbuch, and Be Still.
      "We have a lot of up tempo, popular pieces," Mr. Loomis said of the Concert Band program that begins with C’est Noel. There will be Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Sleigh Ride, and much more. Claire Hungerford is the guest soloist with the Citizens Concert Band and is featured in many of the pieces.
      Linda Smith leads the Community Chorus and Doris Hughes is organist/pianist. Louise Loomis emcees for both the chorus and band.
      The Citizens Concert Band and Community Singers Holiday Concert is free and open to the public but they will happily take a goodwill donation. Don't forget to sing and enjoy Joy to the World.
      "Come early. It is a popular show that fills up each season," Mr. Loomis said.


ST. ALBANS--Village Frame Shoppe presents An Afternoon with Fred Swan on Saturday beginning at 1:00 p.m.
      Barre artist Fred Swan creates meticulously detailed, photo-realistic paintings filled with nostalgia. They hang in public and private collections including CVPS, Johnson & Johnson, and the Vermont Arts Council. He is a winner of the Saturday Evening Post Cover Contest, an engineer, and a graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy.

FRANKLIN COUNTY--The Grand Holiday Crafts and Fine Arts Tour of Franklin County begins this weekend and continues through Christmas. Watch for shows in Enosburg, Fairfield, Franklin, St Albans, and more.


     The Vermont Humanities Council's Vermont Reads 2012 program will feature Bull Run by Paul Fleischman and The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane.
      Written in the first person from the point of view of sixteen different characters, the novella Bull Run takes place during the Civil War. Eight Northerners and eight Southerners -- male, female, black, white, old, young, soldier, and civilian -- tell their stories of the war, readying for the first battle as well as the battle itself.
      VHC is also reintroducing Vermont readers to The Red Badge of Courage, the classic story of heroism and weakness in the face of the Civil War.
      Click here to learn more and apply for Vermont Reads 2012.


      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 © 2011 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.