ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 18 * * All Arts News On the Web * * December 29, 2014


      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.

      Franklin County's arts and music gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, "show-and-tell" and occasional workshops. There are also booked and acoustic Open Mic Nights that feature music, readings, and more from the best new artists in Vermont.

E-Mail Delivery
Sign up to receive the free weekly ArtBits
newsletter by e-mail
or by RSS feed.

Search ArtBits


      Public and private contributions to the arts remain in jeopardy. Popular programs like the Summer Sounds series depend on municipal appropriations. And school art programs are primarily funded by the increasingly strained property tax.
      Art is an economic engine but it is far more than a retail sale or a paycheck.
      Regular readers here have looked at a ton of cultural economy numbers. The data shows that the Arts are an economic engine Vermont cannot afford to lose. The Arts boost school test scores. The Arts improve our sense of community. And it doesn't hurt that a painting or photograph, an original song, a well-staged play, or a warm book on a cold winter day all bring light to our lives.
      More than that has happened this year. Artists have done more. Artists have shared more art and more resources this year, from donations to United Way to music at the Special Olympics and much more. Artists have been generous with their time, their talent, their product. Artists are concerned about their community.
      The All Arts Council is the only all-volunteer Local Arts Service Organization in the state. Your year-end gift to the AAC is both tax-deductible and will go entirely to programming. Your planned 2012 sponsorship will help us continue the programs and our support for other arts groups. Please email the All Arts Council for more info or to donate.


BURLINGTON--A new exhibit, Variations in Abstraction: Steven P. Goodman, Beth Pearson, and Gail Salzman, began at Select Design on Tuesday. It will run through February 17. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday 8:30 - 6 p.m. Call 802.864.9075 or click here for more info.


ENOSBURG--The Opera House at Enosburg Falls presents Silver & Gold, a musical variety show with light refreshments and cabaret seating, tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. It will be an easy evening of talented young singers and performers and a jazzy house band to top it off.
      Admission is $8. Tickets are available at the door.

BURLINGTON--Young Tradition-Vermont presents Diversity Rocks at First Night with two shows in Contois Auditorium on Saturday at 2 and 3 p.m.
      The Diversity Rocks International Youth Group is an international group of youth ages 14-21 who came to the U.S. as refugees and immigrants from countries including Bhutan, Burma, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, and Somalia. click here for more info.

ST. ALBANS--Chow Bella celebrates the "Year of The Chow!" with a New Year's Eve Celebration on Saturday evening. Monika will play harp 7 - 8:30 p.m. followed by Dale & Darcy Live at 8:30.
      Admission is $50. Call 802.524.1405, email, or click here for tickets or more info.

BURLINGTON--106.7 WIZN presents a Rockin' New Years Eve with Smokin Gun and Sturcrazie at the Sheraton Burlington New Years Eve 2011 Gala Dinner/Dance Party.
      The 4 piece Smokin Gun is in their 19th year playing classic, current, and original rock with Cynthia Sullivan, lead vocals/guitar; Mike Socha, lead guitar/vocals; Bill Pike, bass/vocals; and Jeff Machia drums. Sturcrazie is a 5 piece band from Essex Junction that plays classic and current rock music.
      Admission is $49. Tickets are no longer available at the Flynn Box Office but will be available at the Sheraton.
      Click here for Smokin Gun info and here for Sturcrazie info.


BURLINGTON--First Night Burlington has a citywide, substance-free party of stage shows, musical acts, and arts activities to kick off the new year. Downtown Friday from noon on.
      A huge number of performers are either from Franklin County or are Summer Sounds favorites starting with pianist Annemieke Spoelstra and Jeremiah McLane, Banjo Dan and the Mid-nite Plowboys, the Bluegrass Gospel Project, Constitution Brass Quintet, Electric Youth Dance Company, Gary Dulabaum, the Green Mountain Chorus, Jon Gailmor, Mark LeGrand & Sarah Munro, Michael Arnowitt, Michele Choiniere, Paul Asbell, Prydein, Social Band, Tammy Fletcher, the Starline Rhythm Boys, the Woods Tea Co., Tim Jennings and Leanne Ponder, the Vermont Youth Orchestra, and Young Tradition Vermont
      Some events are free; buttons are $5-20 at Hannaford, KeyBank, Price Chopper, or Vermont Federal Credit Union in St. Albans. Most Flynn MainStage and Memorial Auditorium shows require $4 tickets in addition to the button. click here for a complete schedule.


      Franklin County artists and presenters outdid themselves in 2011. Although the number of concerts, events, exhibits, and productions staged this year was down slightly again, the quality was definitely up. Last week we will looked at events around the county. This week, we finish with a wrap up of the All Arts Council events, what Other Major Presenters pulled off, and the Five Franklin County Festivals.

      The All Arts Council serves northwestern Vermont as a presenter, an event producer, and as a technical resource for artists and other groups. Other Franklin County organizations continue to grow, which means we support more events.
      Summer Sounds, Franklin County's popular, long running, outdoor series, offered free concerts on summer Sunday evenings. The 21st season came to an end with the first ever celebration of Bay Day on Labor Day. The Champlain Valley Fair may have closed down early but we had sunshine and fireworks. Click here for more info.
      The 2011 Summer Sounds free concert series drowned one night, dodged rain drops one night and used the rain site as well. Vermont's favorite singer, songwriter, teacher, performer, and optimist Jon Gailmor sang in the dirt. Citizens Concert Band gave us an evening of program of patriotic and summery pieces with vocalist Claire Hungerford as a special treat. Banjo Dan and the Mid-Nite Plowboys spun the tall tales of their Vermont bluegrass. We heard the Texas blues of Greg Izor and the Box Kickers. Dark Horse was all set to make a triumphant return to Highgate but as much as an inch of rain came to the park in less than 40 minutes. We tried for an alternate date but Irene shut us down again. The Constitution Brass played a lighthearted 'Summer in the Park' brass band program. The season wrapped with Carol Ann Jones and the Superchargers playing into the Fireworks at Bay Day.
      The free concerts in this series have been sponsored by the supporting Towns and the All Arts Council, and underwritten by Chevalier Drilling, Drummac Septic Service, O. C. McCuin and Sons, and Ray's Extrusion Dies and Tubing.
      The community based All Arts Council brings the performing and visual arts to northwestern Vermont. The Summer Sounds concerts are always on Sunday evenings, always at 7 p.m., always in a Town Park, always in the summer, and always free.
      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. The volunteer videography crew produced a "front row seat" show of all the Summer Sounds concerts and many more besides. Click here for more info.

      The fifth annual Art in Bloom Festival brought a day of music, a gazillion art exhibits, and plenty of food to Swanson's Farm and Nursery in Fairfax, all as a benefit for Fairfax community organizations. The artists and artisans included Shelly's Tie Dye, Amanda Bates, BFA Ski Team birdhouses, Boy Scouts lemonade, Jessie Cronin, Hannah Decker, Joanne Delaney, Gayle Derner, Eastmans' Bakery, Pastor Liz Griffin with Nicaraguan objets d'art as a fundraiser, It's Arthur's Fault, Lena Meunier jewelry, Barbara O'Bryan's tacky dough art (kids eat it up), Animal Whisperer Donna Owens, Ellen Powell, Tia Rooney promoting A Beautiful Woman, Set in Stone patios, Bruce Gilbert Smith, Sally Gilbert Smith baked goods, Olivia Snyder, photography, Sally Ziegler Art Studio, and more. The all day music Festival showcased No Left Turn, Dylan Day, and more.
      Franklin County Field Days had a lineup of music, arts and crafts, antique tractors, and of course cows. The ten band stage lineup was worth the price of admission alone: Chasing 440 and Maple Creek, Highgate country singer Alana Freeman, the Jim Daniels Band, Jessica Prouty Band, the Ivory Band, hypnotist Joey Allen, Keeghan Nolan, the Country Classic Band, Junior Barber and Bear Tracks, and the Nobby Reed Project. "One-price" admission was still just $8.
      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 Chasing 440, Crooked Creek, Alana Freeman, Dan the Puppetman, the Missisquoi River Band, Nobby Reed Project, Rock-N-Horse, Todd Wellington (the King of Silly), and the 35-piece Enosburg Town Band. The Northeast Fiddlers Association promoted old-time fiddling.
      The 45th annual Vermont Maple Festival was the first major outdoor event of the year; it offered Big Bands, country bands, magicians, instrumentalists, classic ensembles, rock bands, storytellers, choruses, dancers, puppeteers, and more. The free Main Street stage presented Electric Youth Dance Company, Foothills Fogies, the Joe Levesque Big Band, Marko the Magician, Keeghan Nolan, Bill Shontz, Soul System, Marc Sustic and Streak O Lean, the St. Albans City School Senior Band, and the Youth Talent Show winners. BFA filled to overflowing with the Youth Talent Show, the premiere Fiddler's Variety Show, and the annual Crafts and Specialty Foods Show with artwork and fine photographs, glittery bling, classy clothing, wooden things, and fine Vermont specialty foods.

      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.
      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls had a busy year with Craft Show, the Community Christmas Concert, the 17th annual Fundraiser Gala, Guys and Dolls, Highbrow to Hoedown, It's a Scream, the Logger, Erin McDermott in concert, Mystery Dinner Theater, Oliver!, Woods Tea Company, and the upcoming Silver & Gold; plus a Community Night at the Opera House and the 19th annual Talent Search. The Opera House hosted the Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union annual District Art Gala and houses a permanent art exhibit.
      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, plus works by Sean Dye, and 7 year old Elyza Bruce, photographer Chris Hungerford and more.
      Summer Music at Grace opened the season before Memorial Day with the ninth annual Farewell Reunion concert (in conjunction with Events for Tom). They continued with Bread and Bones, Chasing 440, Full Circle, Heliand Consort, Hungry Town, Missisquoi River Band and Simply Sax, and Village Harmony.
      The Vermont Youth Orchestra Fall Concert returned to Franklin County with a performance at the BFA-St. Albans Performing Arts Center. They held concerts around the state and at the Elley Long and this month's Orchestrapalooza on the Flynn Mainstage highlighted the four VYOA orchestras and culminated in a side-by-side finale with over 140 musicians. The VYOA always has several Franklin County performers in the various groups.
      Young Tradition-Vermont is a statewide presenter with more than a dozen major events each year including several Events for Tom.


      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.


AAC dancing logo

All Arts Council of Franklin County

Support Free Speech on the Internet
Dick Harper, Chair
P.O. Box 1
Highgate Springs, VT 05460
email us

Go to [ Dick Harper | All Arts Index | ArtBits Archive ]

      This article was originally published in the St Albans Messenger and other traditional print media. It is Copyright © 2014 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.