ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 20 * * All Arts News On the Web * * March 3, 2016


      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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ST ALBANS--The Northwestern Medical Center Gallery has outhouses on the wall this month. A group of painters from the Franklin County Seniors Center, led by Donna DeGrechie, drew the 11 images on exhibit for fun.
      Ms. DeGrechie was the elementary school arts teacher in Alburg and Grand Isle before moving to St. Albans. She teaches "Drawing Plus," a free class at the Senior Center; participants draw, paint, and make 3D projects. "I found a wonderful calendar of outhouses for $2," she said. "We made black and white value drawings."
      The show continues through the end of March.


ST. ALBANS--St. Albans Community Arts begins a series of Ballroom Dance Lessons and Community Dances in the Bliss Room at the St. Albans Historical Museum on Monday. The Lessons will begin at 6 p.m. and the Community Dances from 7 - 9 p.m. each Monday evening.
      Kevin Laddison of First Step Dance will teach. There is no need to bring a partner, he notes, but ask a friend. The groups will trade partners throughout each lesson.
      There will be two 4-week sessions, one March 7-28 and the second April 4-25. Admission is $15 per person per lesson or $50 for the 4-week session which includes dance admission. The Community Dance costs $5 per person or $8 per couple. Call (802.578.4716) or email to register.

SWANTON--The Swanton Arts Council will hold a business meeting at the Swanton Public Library this evening at 5:30 p.m. The community is particularly welcome to this meeting to refine the organizational structure of the SAC for their 501c3 Federal non-profit application.
      Anyone unable to attend should email suggestions.


ESSEX JUNCTION--On Tap offers Blues Night with the Nobby Reed Project tonight at 7 p.m. Vermont's own blues trio includes Eric Belrose, percussion, Ray Bushey, bass, and Mr. Reed on lead guitar and vocals.
      Call 802.878.3309 or email for more info.

SOUTH HERO--Snow Farm Vineyard continues Wine Down Fridays with singer/songwriter Carol Ann Jones on Friday, of course, at 6:30 p.m.
      Call 802.372.9463 for info or reservations.

BOLTON--Bolton Valley Ski Resort hosts the Mardi Gras Party in the Hills with Justice on Friday at 9 p.m.
      "Our annual Mardi Gras bashes are always ones for the record books," Scott Guptill said. He promises "plenty of beads, bras and fun for all" as they move to Bolton. With Scott Belisle on bass and backup vocals; Rodney Bushey, lead guitar and vocals; Gary Greeno, lead vocals; Mike Stella, drums; and Mr. Guptill, rhythm guitar and backup vocals, Justice hammers a strong mix of 70s, 80s, 90s, and current dance rock. The Justice League can shred the slopes.

Friday and Saturday
ST. ALBANS--The Twiggs weekend begins with Vern Colburn tickling the ivories in the Dining Room on Friday starting at 5:30 p.m. Then it's a double header on Saturday with Deja Nous in the window at 7 p.m. and McGregor v. Diaz on the big screen at 8.
      The UFC Event at Twiggs is for the World Lightweight Championship. The pre-fight bout between Holly Holm and Miesha Tate starts at 8 p.m. There will be a $10 cover charge for the fight. Seating will be limited; Twiggs is licensed for 100 people for this show.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.

CRAFTSBURY--The Music Box presents Yankee Chank in concert on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
      The Vermonters of Yankee Chank -- Bob Naess, fiddle and vocals; Cannon Labrie, accordion and vocals; Jim Burns, guitar; and Mark Sustic, bass and percussion; and June Drucker, drums -- immerse the audience in the traditional Cajun two-steps and waltzes as it continues to be played in the rural dance halls and honky tonks of Louisiana. There is always some spicy Zydeco. This is their 20th year playing together.
      Tickets are $10 at the door and kids under 16 are free. Call 802.586.7533 or click here for more info and find Yankee Chank on Facebook.

Saturday and Sunday
WILLISTON--The Williston Central School hosts a series of roots song and dance workshops with Michele Choiniere and Benoit Bourque on Saturday and Sunday.
      Dance is a vital part of French-Canadian music. Its defining trait is the rapid-fire foot percussion that drives the beat. Ms. Choiniere is a Franco-American folk singer, songwriter, musician, and teacher who performs and teaches at festivals throughout New England, Quebec, and France and is featured on a Smithsonian Folkways release. M. Bourque rose to fame almost 40 years ago as a member of the ensemble Eritage. He is a famed dancer, choreographer, and teacher in festivals and music camps in Canada and abroad including the AAC Soiree Grand Menage here in Franklin County. He won the Public's Prize at the Moscow International Folk Dance.
      The workshops are not open to the public.

ST. ALBANS--Join the Saint Albans Museum for a "gala celebration and fond farewell" to Downton Abbey in the Bliss Room on Sunday. The afternoon begins with a reception at 1:30 p.m. Featuring period refreshments and music, the reception is a chance to learn more about the history of the era. They will screen the final episode of Season 6 on the large screen at 2:30 p.m. Period clothing or hats from any of the drama's seasons are encouraged.
      This program is part of the Museum's 50th Anniversary celebration this year.
      The Museum offers complimentary admission. Donations to offset programming costs are appreciated. Call Executive Director Alex Lehning (802.527.7933), email him, or click here for more info.

Through St. Patrick's Day
BURLINGTON--Céad Míle Fáilte. The 21st annual Burlington Irish Heritage Festival begins today with a schedule of music, dance, history, genealogy, and other cultural events leading up to St. Patrick's Day. It starts with dancing at Lughnasa today.
      Click here for more info.


     The CreativeGround Winter/Spring Webinar schedule continues on Tuesday with an online workshop on How to Use CreativeGround as a Cultural Nonprofit or Creative Business
      NEFA's CreativeGround helps New England nonprofit and for-profit organizations promote their activities and services, find public artists, touring artists, teachers, and more in the community and to locate collaborators for program development, cross promotion, and other projects. This webinar, mostly for organization and creative administrators, will learn how to create or update a profile, find other organizations and artists for collaborations, advertise your space, and to explore the creative enterprises in the community.
      CreativeGround holds live, online webinars from 1-1:45 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. These 45-minute sessions explore a new topic each month to show users how to make the most of New England's creative economy directory and the many features that help promote a creative enterprise and connect with the creative community.
      Click here to register. All earlier webinars are available to stream.


ENOSBURG--The Enosburgh Public Library hosts the Writers Group on Tuesday and every second and fourth Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

ST. ALBANS--The St. Albans Public Library Tuesday Night Book Club meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. for Excellent Women by Barbara Pym. First published in 1952, Excellent Women is acclaimed as a funny and successful British comedy of manners.
      The book group reads a wide range of genres.

SWANTON--The Swanton Free Public Library now has a coffee bar where you can enjoy a "cozy cup of coffee or tea (for a mere $1 per cup)" with their broad popular reading collection, nonfiction, and magazines.


      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 © 2016 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).
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