ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 17 * * All Arts News On the Web * * November 27, 2013


      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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      The First Congregational Church of St. Albans presents the Community Singers and the Citizens Concert Band in an Old Fashioned Band and Choir Christmas Concert on Sunday at 2 p.m.
      It's the first concert of the season but "our last Christmas Concert with the choir after a 10 year run," band director Kevin Loomis said. The Citizens Concert Band will continue with other seasonal events in future years and, of course, has a full schedule for 2014.
      They performed the first Christmas Concert to a packed house in 2004. The band and chorus each performed half the concert. "The concert was so well received that Christmas performances by the band and chorus followed" in the ensuing years, Mr. Loomis said.
      Conducted by Congregational Church choir director Linda Smith, the Community Singers have a varied program of the songs of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Doris Hughes accompanies the chorus on organ and piano. "It's been absolutely the most wonderful experience for the last 10 years," Ms. Smith said.
      The Citizens Concert Band features vocalist Claire Hungerford and guest performer Bob Chevalier in the duet, Baby It's Cold Outside with band accompaniment. The choir program includes a selection of secular and Christmas music from Everywhere, Everywhere, Christmas Tonight to Put Peace into Each Others' Hands. The Band will start with A Christmas Flourish and conclude with 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.' Band and choir together invite the audience to join in Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and Joy to the World.
      Get ye to the church on time. "We pack the place and this year it will be no different, maybe more," Mr. Loomis said.
      "This year we have been blessed by two wonderful donations from RPM Logos and from the St Albans Rotary," Ms. Smith said.
      Admission is free but a goodwill donation will gladly be accepted at the door.


     Prices continue to soar and the arts economy continues to struggle. Still, the arts have touched all of our lives all year, with benefits and friendship and glorious exhibits.
      "Weekdays I entertain the residents at St. Albans Health and Rehabilitation," Carol Ann Jones said. "Music brings such comfort and joy to everyone!"
      I'm again thankful for a great year for arts audiences and local arts sponsors. We have a new arts council in St. Albans. We've seen art all year at the A.I.R. Co-operative in Enosburg, the hospital, and the Village Frame Shoppe as well as in parks and halls, concert series like Concert by the Common, Summer Music at Grace, and Summer Sounds that filled all 12 Big Music Weeks of summer, theatricals, and at least a dozen events at the Opera House!
      I am writing this column from the Keys where Anne is here for both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. For that I am profoundly thankful.
      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 "ferociously funny" Mama Won't Fly 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.


ST. ALBANS--The Village Frame Shoppe hosts its third annual Afternoon with Fred on Saturday from 1-3 p.m.
      This event with Fred Swan has plenty of time to meet the artist and discuss art and, of course, buy Christmas presents. Mr. Swan will sign prints and his new 2014 calendar. There will also be 25 special limited edition prints of his painting "Late Afternoon Light" available exclusively at this event. The original of this painting is also available.
      The Village Frame Shoppe has the largest collection of Fred Swan paintings in the Champlain Valley. Call 802.524.3699 or click here for more info.

ENOSBURG FALLS--The Artist In Residence Gallery features different artists each month. This month, the spotlight is on painters Harald Aksdal, Sharon Fiske, and Martha Ohliger, and Shaker box-maker Carl Newton.
      The A.I.R. gallery hosts a free meet-the-artists reception with refreshments this Sunday, December 1, from 1 - 4 p.m. The exhibit continues through the end of December.
      The Artist in Residence art cooperative features paintings, fiber arts, stained glass, sculpture, lamps, pottery, folk art boxes, scarves, hats and more by 45 Franklin County and surrounding area artists. It is owned and operated by the artists and sponsors. The gallery, located at 321 Main Street, is open Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. plus the first Sunday of each month, noon to 5 p.m. Call 802.933.6403, email or click here for more info.


BURLINGTON--Venue presents Randy Smith & His Band of Merry Men with rising star Holly May Brown and very special guest Ry Malroux on Friday evening at 8 p.m.
      With her video on YouTube exceeding a million views, teen vocalist Ms. Brown auditioned for The Voice and has signed a contract with SoNo Recording Group. A Summer Sounds favorite, singer/songwriter Mr. Malroux led the group Rumble Doll.
      Mr. Smith and Ms. Brown are on a tour that included performances at The Arts Block in Greenfield last Saturday and at the Mole Hill Theater in Alstead, NH, today.
      Admission is $10 at the door.

ST. ALBANS--Twiggs presents Chameleon on the main stage on Friday at 7 p.m.
      Chameleon builds music around local musicians Deana Paquette on vocals and Mike Trombly on guitar. They have played together for over 30 years. Add drummer Eric Belrose, Chris 'Fingers' Doncaster on bass and you can hear covers of just about any genre.
      Twiggs will also be closed Thursday but they offer Music to Dine By with relaxed music and the arts most other nights. They have three stages with live piano, violin, or light guitar any day of the week in the dining room, the Window, or the main stage. The regular Open Mic Night repeats next Wednesday and on the first Wednesday of every month. Their Open Comedy Night for comics 18 and older is held on the third Tuesday of every month. Call 802.524.1405, email, or click here for more info or booking requests.

MORRISVILLE--Moog's Place has "live music every night we're open, starting between eight and nine pm" with open mic night scheduled most Thursdays (except this week) at 8:30 p.m. Moog's will be closed Thanksgiving Day.
      Click here for more info.

MORRISVILLE--River Arts holds a Farmers and Artisans Market at the River Arts Center every Wednesday from 3 - 7 p.m. Click here for more info.


     Many Franklin County libraries will be closed Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving.

ALBURGH--The Alburgh Public Library hosts a handcrafters meet every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. when handcrafters gather to knit, sew, crochet, or work on any handcraft project. All are welcome.
      The library book night is Monday, December 2, at 7 p.m. The book group will discuss Caleb's Crossing a bestselling story of passion and belief, magic and adventure from Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, Geraldine Brooks.


     The National Day of Listening gathers some of the tons of family stories spun as families get together for the holiday. This year a SoundCloud partnership introduces an interactive Wall of Listening. Everyone is invited to share stories. You can submit as many recordings as you like.
      I recommend a conversation, rather than a monologue. You'll get more details that way and a more interesting recording.
      Sponsored by NPR's StoryCorps, National Day of Listening takes place the day after Thanksgiving each year. Click here to record your own story.


     New England Foundation for the Arts' new CreativeGround website replaces "CultureCount" in December. CultureCount has been an integral part of NEFA's work in the New England creative economy since 2008. CreativeGround will continue the tradition of spotlighting New England's breadth of artists, creative businesses, and cultural nonprofits. All the current profiles will be automatically migrated to the new site.
      Current users should log in to the new site as soon as it launches to take advantage of the new ways to present and explore this community's work.


      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 © 2013 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.