ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 18 * * All Arts News On the Web * * September 25, 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.

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      Fall arrived with a frost this week, marking the end of the 24th season of Summer Sounds. It should be 70 today so a summer encore continues at least for a little while.
      Mylan Technologies brought us Jamie Lee Thurston to light up the series under the stars at Bay Day but 2014 was a strangely wet summer for outdoor concerts. The threat of rain did chase us indoors for Jenni Johnson and the Jazz Junketeers with the Highgate Junkettes who have grown up with these concerts, and for H.I.M.S., the Huntingdon Incredible Men Singers. The Highgate Methodist Church invites us in for those days and is a grand stage for those groups.
      We took the weekend of July 31 off. The Big Music Weeks of Summer had live music and more with four days of music at Franklin County Field Days plus Art in Bloom, the Jig in the Valley, music downtown and all around, Pirates, the Citizens Concert Band, and National Dance Day.
      Dick Prescott returned to open for Rick Davis in the park in a concert that saw a greyhound visit as well. The Summer Sounds Surprise was Bob Amos & Catamount Crossing in a high energy bluegrass show with stellar vocals, original material, and bluegrass classics. Towne Meeting reprised their folk and folk-rock harmonies to the audience's delight. Legendary Vermont diva Tammy Fletcher wrapped up the star studded season.
      The popular series enters its 25th season on July 5 next year. The All Arts Council will need your help to host Summer Sounds concerts in several Franklin County towns. I am taking suggestions for the performer list right now. You can help us arrange an appropriation in your Town to host concerts in your own local parks and find local groups to host the socials. And we need a major sponsor to help underwrite and advertise the series. Email the All Arts Council with ideas or to volunteer.
      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, Desorcie's Market, Mylan Technologies, 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.


MONTGOMERY--Celebration of Expressive Arts presents Myra Flynn in a special dinner concert at the INN on Saturday. Dinner is at 5 p.m. and the concert at 7 p.m. in lounge.
      Half Irish and half African American, singer/songwriter Myra Flynn's original indie/soul/folk blends a lyrical voice with soulful songs that may have a little Ani Difranco and a little Janis Joplin. He grew up zinging in Vermont and now has shared the stage with Ivan Neville, Mike Gordon, Gabrielle Gordon, Sonya Kitchell, Kyp Malone, Alexa Ray Joel, Slick Rick, Anais Mitchell, Gregory Douglass and Lee Scratch Perry. Half Pigeon is her third and current album of original music.
      Call 802.326.4391 for reservations.

ESSEX JUNCTION--On Tap has the Contois School of Music Band on stage on Saturday at 5 p.m.
      The CSM Band is a live performance band made up of students and teachers of the Contois School of Music. Members include Trevor Contois, bass guitars/keyboards/vocals; Rosie Newton, keyboards/vocals; and Elysia Way, guitars/vocals; with instructors Kaylee Contois, Ian Koeller, and Chris Jordan and several pros as mentors.
      Call 802.878.3309 or email for more info.

ST. ALBANS--The Twiggs Comedy For A Cause series continues on the Main Stage Saturday evening at 7 p.m. The evening will raise money to support the Blue Star Mothers of Vermont Pet Program. The group rescues puppies from shelters and trains them as companion dogs for soldiers and veterans.
      Admission is $20. There are just 75 seats available at the restaurant. Call Terri Sabens (802.893.2088) or Email for tickets. Make dinner reservations prior to the show since only drinks, appetizers, and desserts will be served during the show.
      This week, Twiggs presents music with Inca Hoots in the dining room on Friday at 8:30 p.m. Singer/songwriter Troy Millette returns on Saturday at 7 p.m.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.

BURLINGTON--The Vermont Youth Orchestra opens the 2014-15 concert season at the Flynn on Sunday at 3 p.m. with a program of Tchaikovsky, Vaughan Williams, Verdi, and Borodin for a fall afternoon.
      Maestro Jeffrey Domoto will be joined by the Vermont Youth Philharmonia for the season opener. Several Franklin County students are VYO members.
      The concert will include the Tchaikovsky Capriccio Italien, plus Vaughan Williams' English Folk Song Suite, Verdi's Overture to the Sicilian Vespers, and Borodin's Symphony No. 2 in B-minor.
      Admission is $17 for adults/seniors and$12 for students. Tickets are available at and the door. Season ticket packages are on sale as well.


     John Cassel who called himself the "first hippie" in Bakersfield has died at age 78. He suffered a heart attack after playing a show at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe.
      A classically trained jazz pianist, he played country, folk, pop, rock, and the dinner music that excited him as the "kind of music you should talk over."
      Mr. Cassel was the draw for the legion of musicians who came to Bakersfield and East Fairfield in the early '70s.
      "John was a force of nature," Andre Maquera said. "I called him the musical shark because he never stopped. I don't think there was any time that we weren't working on something together. And if he wasn't making music, he was moving rocks on his tractor.
      "That's where we went for Thanksgiving every year," Mr. Maquera said.
      And the magic extended across the generations.
      "I remember Mingo [Andre's son Mingo Maquera] as a budding musician sitting at the piano with John. Listening to the two of them talk and you realize, gosh, he's going to be a musician, too."
      My interview with Mr. Cassel can be found here.
      He is survived by his wife, Becky. In lieu of flowers friends are asked to offer donations to the Fairfield Community Center.


     Listen Up Vermont (the Overdrive-based online library used by many Franklin County Libraries) has updated the auto checkout and renewals, book holds, and other features. Click here to watch a demo of the enhancements.

ST. ALBANS--Tomorrow is Friday Afternoon Comedy Film Day at 1 p.m. at the St. Albans Free Library with Father of the Bride.
      Vincente Minnelli directed Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor in this 1950 tale of the father of a young woman dealing with the emotions and the organizational pain of arranging her wedding.
      The library shows a newsreel, cartoon, and trailer of coming attractions before each weekly movie. All films are shown on the 4' by 6' screen in the upstairs conference room "cinema." Admission is free, along with popcorn and a beverage. Call 802.524.1507 for details.

FAIRFAX--Reads Wonder. The Fairfax Community Library and Vermont Reads event will meet at the Foothills Bakery on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. for cookies and cupcakes and to read aloud and discuss favorite parts and characters from the book. Copies of the book are available in advance at the bakery. Call Annette Hansen (802.849.2420) for more info.
      The library encourages attendees to bring a canned good for the food shelf.

GEORGIA--The Georgia Public Library received a $1,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to begin updating the library's audio visual equipment. The funds will make possible showing movies in the community room at the library.
      "This provides an opportunity for books to movies discussions as well as family movie nights and other programs." said librarian Sue Webster.


      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 © 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.