ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 19 * * All Arts News On the Web * * December 24, 2015


      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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      2015 was all-in-all a busy 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 now.


ST. ALBANS--This week, Twiggs has Vern Colburn in the Dining Room on Saturday at 5 p.m.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.

ESSEX JUNCTION--The Essex Alliance Church presents the Contois School of Music Band live in concert on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
      The full CSM Band with horns will record multi-track audio and video at the Church on Monday and then follow up recording video and audio at the live concert on Tuesday.
      Admission is $10 per person. Childen under 12 are free. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Ronald McDonald House in Burlington. Tickets are available at Ronald McDonald House and at the school.

PLAN AHEAD--First Night Burlington brings in a host of Franklin Favorites including the Will Patton Quartet with Michele Choiniere, and more.
      Look for details in the Messenger next Thursday.
      Look for details in ArtBits next Thursday.


SWANTON--There will be a Creative Meeting at the Library on Monday starting at 5:30 p.m The Creative Meetings include an art offering and discussion.
      Call 802.752.0589 or click here for more info.


     Franklin County artists and presenters had a busy 2015. This week, the Franklin County Festivals and Libraries. Next week, wrapping up All Arts Council and what the Other Major Presenters did.

      The 40th annual Franklin County Field Days had a lineup of music, arts and crafts, antique tractors, and of course cows. The 11-performer stage lineup was worth the price of admission alone with up-and-coming performers as well as seasoned stars. Rosie Newton, Brooke Hazel, Full Tilt, Troy Millette, Donnie Williams, the Missisquoi River Band, Booze Hound and Justice who hit the Field Days stage for the first time plus several Summer Sounds favorites Dark Horse, the Keeghan Nolan Band, and the Nobby Reed Project.
      June is National Dairy Month! The popular Scholarship Pageant opened the 59th Vermont Dairy Festival which followed up with almost unlimited entertainment and family activities with a weekend lineup that featured two stages with Local Talent at its Best. Rosie Newton, Boozehounds, Troy Millette and Bethany Conner, Tom Walsh, ventriloquist Mark Thompson, Movin' On, Joey the Clown, Dark Horse, Chasing 440, Keeghan Nolan, Chasin' Crazy, and the Northeast Fiddlers Association returned to preserve and promote old-time fiddling and its related arts and skills.
      The Supercharged 49th annual Vermont Maple Festival was the first major outdoor event of the year with art, books, food, music, and maple for everyone. The Festival has grown so much that it needed more indoor space in St. Albans.
      More arts! The Maple Festival photo contest entries were on view at the Village Frame Shoppe all weekend. 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 and Beth Kanell were there. Mark LeClair gave live chainsaw art demonstrations.
      Andre Maquera of 8084 and West Street Digital managed the entertainment. The free Main Street stage hosted the Electric Youth Dance Company, A&M, rock band Quadra, the Dave Keller Band, Rockin' Ron The Friendly Pirate, the Contois School of Music Band, Jay Taylor, Justin LaPoint, and Carol Ann Jones & The Superchargers.
      The BFA PAC filled to overflowing with the Youth Talent Show, comedy with Bucky Lewis, a Stihl Farm Boss and ear flaps, and the premiere Fiddler's Variety Show. The famed Foothills Fogies and other acts appeared around town.

      The generous appropriations for our Town Libraries do not cover all expenses. A donation will help your community library continue offering not only popular reading but also a wide range of the arts. Stop by your library to pick up a donation form or just hand them moolah.

      Vermont Reads was again a big theme throughout the year. This was the thirteenth year of VHC's statewide, one-book community reading program. County-wide, our public Libraries also 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.
      The Traveling Storyteller took The Little Red Hen to Bent Northrop Memorial Library, the Hill Family in Swanton, Spookly the Square Pumpkin in Highgate, The Wild Things and Sleeping Beauty in Georgia.
      Franklin County writers appeared in library book discussion groups around the county. J.P. Choquette read and discussed Restitution and Subversion. Ron Krupp read The Woodchuck Returns to Gardening.
      The H.F. Brigham Library in Bakersfield has LEGO Little Hands, sewing, Book Discussions and more.
      Enosburgh Public Library director Maria Harris is a member of the 12-person Green Mountain Book Award committee. The committee chose the 15 books that "clearly stood out from the rest" for the 2015-2016 List. The library has all of the books.
      Fairfax writer Greg Carpenter read from and discussed his new book, What Makes Vermont Special, at the Fairfax Community Library.
      The Bent Northrop Memorial Library in Fairfield screened Trashed, a Jeremy Irons movie that looked the food chain, the environment, and the pollution that comes from our consumption and discards. They have regular Movie and Pizza Nights, Squishy Circuits workshops; and more.
      The Haston Library in Franklin welcomed Vermont writer Peter Shea for a slide show and discussion of his books on trout fishing in Vermont. The also held story hour, Lego Thursdays, Knitting Tuesdays, as special Dairy program, Art Camp, Woodworking camp, Shelburne Museum programs, adult book discussions; movie afternoons; tractor day; the Franklin Harvest Hoe-Down, and more..
      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 home to the Young Rembrandts drawing class as well as the week long Art Camp for an imagination hands-on inside the world of art. They hosted Backpack Theater; and served as a Parks & Rec center. Ms. Liza held the Duct Tape Derby, Highgate Book Group, Cailey's Closet, and has library passes for the Birds of Vermont Museum, Echo, Shelburne Museum, Shelburne Farms, Vermontís Historical Society Museum, and Vermont State Parks.
      Montgomery was the first of the county's libraries to show Freedom & Unity: One State--Many Visions. They held a creative writing contest for all Montgomery Elementary School and Home-Schooled Students and had thirteen writers and a full house of family and friends.
      AA Brown Public Library in Richford serves as a life long learning center with year round classes and workshops. Their workshop series included Needlefelting, Drawing Bots that used motors, batteries, paper cups and plates, and pens to build robots that can draw, 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; Stir the Pot Cookbook discussions; Blogging Boot Camp with Carrie Smith and J.P Choquette; 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. They brought in Rick Norcross and special guest, Dr. Stephen Payne when the Book Discussion group read Dr. Payne's Riding my Guitar: the Rick Norcross Story.
      Michelle Beaulieu joined Swanton Free Public Library as Library Director. They had a monthly Book Club Selection; a Holiday Fun Party; movies; children's story time; family nights; game nights, a book sale every day; Swanton Arts Council collaborations; 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.


     May your holidays be filled with friends and family and joy and the arts.
ArtBits News Photo


      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 © 2015 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.