ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 18 * * All Arts News On the Web * * December 24, 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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      2014 was all-in-all a lousy year for many but it was a pretty good year in the arts. We've had a so many events every month that it will again take two weeks to summarize them. First, the look at what's happening.


ST. ALBANS--Cooie sings Twiggs. Cooie DeFrancesco brings a solo show of traditional tunes and popular songs with a dollop of blues, a touch of jazz, a bit of folk, and some old time Rock and Roll to the Twiggs Dining Room on Saturday at 6 p.m.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.

ESSEX JUNCTION--On Tap has a double header on Saturday with the Contois School of Music Band on stage at 5 p.m. followed by Inca Hoots at 9 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 mentors Chris Peterman of the jazz band Eight02, Lloyd Duggar, Kevin Avery, and Mark Lurvey, with instructors Kaylee Contois, Ian Koeller, and Chris Jordan.
      The five-piece country-rock-jazz-pop band Inca Hoots plays "music for all occasions" and has wowed the Franklin County crowds this year. John Geno leads the Plattsburgh, NY group with Peter Grosskopf, Neil Wright, David Long, and John Seiden.
      Call 802.878.3309 or email for more info.

PLAN AHEAD--First Night Burlington brings in a host of Franklin Favorites including the Will Patton Quartet Michele Choiniere, and more. Twiggs has a New Years Eve Bash with three live bands and DJ Bun. Richmond Congregational Church hosts a New Year's Eve Concert with Fiddleheads and more. The Abbey will be rocking in the New Year with Smokin' Gun. On Tap finds Justice.
      Look for details in ArtBits next Wednesday.


INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT PROPOSALS (December 30)--The Broward Cultural Council Public Art & Design Program will commission a professional artist or team of artists for five public art opportunities at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Application fee. Call 954.357.7457 or click here for more info.

12th ANNUAL OUTDOOR JURIED EXHIBIT (January 5)--Embracing Our Differences in Southwest Florida offers cash awards for its celebration of diversity and inclusion. They will select 39 artists. No entry fee. Call 941.404.5710, email, or click here for more info.

PERFECT STORM (January 9)--The Rocky Neck Art Colony invites New England artists in all 2D and 3D media to submit work for the show and sale "where inspiration and imagination converge." Varied and diverse interpretations of this title are encouraged. I prefer to showcase warmer events at this time of year but this show is for our artists and will be held in Gloucester, MA. Entry Fee. Call 978.290.2639, email, or click here for more info.


     Franklin County artists and presenters had a busy 2014. This week, the Franklin County Festivals and Libraries. Next week, wrapping up All Arts Council and what the Other Major Presenters did.

      Nashville headliner Jamie Lee Thurston did a hat trick this season by playing a pair of major festivals plus Summer Sounds at Bay Day. Mr. Thurston grew up immersed in Franklin County music. As a teenager he worked as a roadie for Jimmy T's band then joined the band as a guitar player. He paid his dues and made a name for himself in bars and clubs across the Northeast and Canada. He has opened for the Dixie Chicks, Sara Evans, and Charlie Daniels, then moved to Nashville. As a contract songwriter he has had songs recorded by Trace Adkins, Montgomery Gentry, and Rodney Atkins.
      The ninth annual Art in Bloom Festival brought a day of music, art exhibits, and plenty of food to Fairfax The fun(d)raiser for the BFA-Fairfax Nordic Ski Team had a new venue in the Fairfax Community Park.
      The 38th annual Franklin County Field Days had a lineup of music, arts and crafts, antique tractors, and of course cows. The nine-performer stage lineup was worth the price of admission alone with the 66 City Street Band, Bad Horsey, Summer Sounds favorites Dark Horse, the Jim Daniels Band, Alanna Freeman, the Missisquoi River Band, the Keeghan Nolan Band, No Strings Marionettes, and the Nobby Reed Project
      The popular Scholarship Pageant opened the 58th Vermont Dairy Festival which followed up with almost unlimited entertainment and family activities with a weekend lineup that featured the Tim Brick Band, singer/songwriter Emily Butson, Alanna Freeman, Dan Grady's Marionettes, comedy actress and ventriloquist Sylvia Fletcher with the Magic Trunk, Carol Ann Jones and The Superchargers with some of best musicians in Vermont, Marko the Magician, The Missisquoi River Band with special guests Will Patton and Bill Gaston, the Keegan Nolan Band, and Todd Wellington, the King of Silly. Jamie Lee Thurston fills Sunday afternoon with music and the Northeast Fiddlers Association returned to preserve and promote old-time fiddling and its related arts and skills.
      The 48th annual Vermont Maple Festival was the first major outdoor event of the year with art, books, food, music, and maple for everyone.
      The annual Crafts and Specialty Foods Show had artwork and fine photographs, bling, sculptures, traditional and nouveau crafts, and fine Vermont specialty foods. Vermont authors J.P. Choquette, Nancy Means-Wright and Beth Kanell were there.
      Andre Maquera of 8084 and West Street Digital managed the entertainment. The free Main Street stage hosted the Electric Youth Dance Company, Joe's Big Band, Carol Ann Jones & The Superchargers, singer/songwriter Ben Patton, Prydein, Rockin' Ron The Friendly Pirate, RMX, and the Youth Talent Show. Jamie Lee Thurston came out to warm Main Street with a couple of hours of fireworks.
      BFA filled to overflowing with the Youth Talent Show and the premiere Fiddler's Variety Show. The famed Foothills Fogies and other acts appeared around town.

      Vermont Reads was a big theme throughout the year. County-wide, our public Libraries had readings, lunchtime concerts, art shows, summer reading programs, online public access catalogs, storytimes, and kids' performers. Ruff Reading, the ongoing read to a dog program, is popular around the county.
      Franklin County writer J. P. Choquette published a new Tayt Waters Mystery, Subversion, and Dark Circle this year. Her titles appeared in library book discussion groups around the county.
      Northwest Access Television (Channel 15-16) brought a series of family movies to local parks and libraries for a fun night outdoors with neighbors.
      In 1907, Bakersfield voted to establish a library with $25 from the general fund to pay for books, the librarian, and the housing of the books. The H.F. Brigham Library has LEGO After School Thursdays, book discussions including Corelli's Mandolin and an interesting online tour at
      The Enosburg Public Library offers Library Services to the Housebound. They held Thankfulness and Thanksgiving; Book Sales; and a knitting group. The Writing Group has had Adventures in Longhand.
      Fairfax writer Greg Carpenter read from and discussed his new book, What Makes Vermont Special, at the Fairfax Community Library. They have regular Movie and Pizza Nights; Squishy Circuits workshops; and more.
      Bent Northrup Library in Fairfield welcomed Sarah Aube as new librarian. Their exhibit space heated up as Art at BNML took center stage. Fairfield Center School students displayed sculpture. They have movie nights; discussions including Liam McKone's Talk on the Fenians; Trunk or Treat; and the Bess O'Brien-Dr. Fred Holmes film, The Hungry Heart.
      Haston Library of Franklin had a Wonder Handshake Art Opening; adult book discussions; movie afternoons; tractor day; the Franklin Harvest Hoe-Down; Stone Soup with Virginia Holiman; and openings for "Geek the Library" photos.
      Georgia Public Library offered student video club, book discussion groups, knitting group every Tuesday evening, and family game night every second Wednesday.
      Highgate Public Library was again part of the Statewide One-Book Community Reading Program; hosted Backpack Theater; and served as a Parks & Rec center. Ms. Liza hosted a reading and book signing with Morrisville writer Grannie Snow.
      The Milton Artists' Guild had a lush photography exhibit in the new Community Gallery in the Milton Public Library.
      AA Brown Public Library in Richford serves as a life long learning center with year round classes and workshops. Their workshop series included Needlefelting and more.
      St. Albans Free Public Library hosts the Classic Readers, the Mornings, Muffins & Mysteries, and evening book groups; the Writers' Medley; Classic Movie, Afternoon Comedy, and nights, plus the Kids' Saturday Movie Matinee; Behind the Book and a Writing Workshop, an Online Genealogy Workshop, regular Help with Electronic Devices, and more;
      Sheldon Public Library has knitting saturdays, lego fun, book discussions and free WiFi access available 24/7 through an unsecured network.
      Swanton Free Public Library brought Jane Bouchard back as Library Director. They had a monthly Book Club Selection; a Holiday Fun Party; children's story time; family night every Wednesday; yarn and yak and scrapbooking; a book sale every day; and community activities downstairs.
      Oh, yeah. And collectively, the libraries hold and have lent thousands of books this year.
      Click here for more info about all the libraries.


     Most libraries in Franklin County will at least close early today and will be closed tomorrow. The St. Albans Library will be closed all day today plus tomorrow, Friday, and December 31 as well as January 1, 2015. There will be no story hour today, Saturday, or December 31 in Swanton.


     This week, the Internet search engines are filled with Christmas lights and music. This image search showcases some of the amazing colors of the season.


      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.