ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 20 * * All Arts News On the Web * * May 12, 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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      More than 30 years ago, every news release and grant application I wrote for the arts in Franklin County included the words, "rural and underserved."
      We're still rural, but anyone who has read this column lately knows we can't claim to be "underserved."
      When I started writing this column 25 years ago, it was sometimes a stretch to find a single arts event in a week. We have profiled artists, searched for news far and wide, and even written "how-to" pieces to keep the torch lit.
      Today, it's rare that this column has fewer than a dozen events or is shorter than 1,000 words. "Space available" has even forced us to leave some events out!
      With that marvelous growth comes change. After 25 years of its Arts and Entertainment column, the St. Albans Messenger has decided to "consolidate." That newspaper will now run just one weekend calendar on Thursdays. "We're no longer going to do the arts separately," editor Michelle Monroe said. Instead, they will incorporate it with the other events.
      "With the change, we'll no longer have a separate arts column," she said.
      (As an aside, I believe those 1,300 columns over 25 years makes me the longest serving contributing columnist in Messenger history. It's likely my record will stand!)
      ArtBits will continue to serve a broad audience online but we will change the online format a little bit, too. Each week will generally include just one feature piece plus a short paragraph for each event of the week. Since we serve all the arts, you can still expect to find segments on Featured Artists plus Art on the Walls, Books, Dance, Music, Theatricals, as well as our Calls for Artists (Deadlines), the Creative Economy, Marketing, News from the Arts Councils, Workshops or How-To info, and more.
      ArtBits Online is published every Thursday at We also offer a direct e-mail service.
To sign on, change delivery options, change your e-mail address,
or sign up for other programs, simply e-mail the All Arts Council.
You can find us on Facebook
or subscribe to the weekly headlines at
     It's going to be fun. I do hope you'll stick around for the ride.


     The annual Young Tradition Weekend brings together a young performers and the community at large for song, performance, and dance during the second weekend of May. "Young folks are the main event," organizer Mark Sustic said. They gain performance chops and the opportunity to collaborate with others.
      The 2016 weekend include a conference for teachers plus an end-of-school day assembly for students at Integrated Arts Academy and an evening contra dance at the Shelburne town hall, the annual Young Tradition Weekend Contest, visits to Baird 5 Pediatrics, and a concert.
      Admission to all events on Saturday is free, with donations accepted.
      Click here for more info.

BURLINGTON--Young Tradition Vermont presents the Young Folks Doing Old Stuff Conference: Quebec in Vermont at Bishop Booth Center on Friday.
      Performers, teachers and scholars of traditional dance and music from Quebec and New England will gather for presentations and workshops focused on learning to use traditional music and dance in educational settings. A keynote address will feature Laura Risk, PhD, from McGill University: At the Intersection of Yesterday and Tomorrow: Why Traditional Music for Children and Youth in 2016? Presentations will be geared toward those working with children across the age range, with some sessions focusing specifically on early childhood, some on elementary aged children, and others on teens. There is also the opportunity to attend the conference as a 1 credit course through Castleton University.
      The cost is $55 per person. Pre-registration is required. Click here to sign up and for more info. Email as soon as possible for info about earning credit for the conference.

SHELBURNE--The YTV Contra Dance will feature the music of Audrey Budington, Clayton Clemetson, and McKinley James with calling and instruction by Angela DeCarlis from Boston at Shelburne Town Hall on Friday at 8 p.m. Instruction for new dancers with basic figures that will be called begins at 7:30 p.m.
      Admission is $8. Bring clean, soft-soled shoes for the dance floor.

BURLINGTON--The annual Young Tradition Contest concludes when up to 10 finalists compete for $1,000 at the Black Box Theater on Saturday from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
      The contest offers the opportunity to win $100 as one of 10 finalists and the chance win the big prize; contest winners are featured at large and small events throughout the year, supported and promoted through the Young Tradition Vermont website and social media network.
      Find them on Facebook to enter the contest (go to "Video Contest" on the Facebook page). Click here for more info about Young Tradition Weekend and a gallery of past winners and participants.

BURLINGTON--The closing event for the weekend will be an Awards Reception in the Black Box Theater on Saturday at 6 p.m.
      The reception includes a concert with 2014 Contest winner Eric George, 2015 Contest finalist Addie Herbert, and Cricket Blue. Admission is free and there will be free pizza.


SWANTON--The Swanton Arts Council will hold a general meeting and update at 6 p.m. The agenda includes the Pinwheel Art Installation scheduled for May 28, the June Barn Quilt Challenge, Sidewalk Chalk Day, and much more.
      Location to be determined.
      Email for more info.


ST. ALBANS--The famed Twiggs Comedy for a Cause series is back with a new batch of funny folk on Saturday at 7 p.m.!
      The comedy show will benefit the Franklin County Area Cancer Network and includes a live auction and 50-50 raffle. Colin Ryan of A Stand Up Life produces the show; admission is $20. Call Sherry White (802.524.7166) tickets. There are just 75 seats available at the restaurant. Make dinner reservations prior to the show since only drinks, appetizers, and desserts will be served during the show.
      Next up, Twiggs presents Gypsy Wind on Friday and Bethany Conner solo with a black cat on Saturday. Both shows start at 7 p.m.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.

ST. ALBANS--The First Congregational Church of St. Albans and the VT Chapter of the American Guild of Organists present a Doris Hughes Memorial Concert with Vaughn Watson and Jennifer Bower from the American Guild of Organists on the 1893 Hook and Hastings pipe organ in the First Congregational Church on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. They will be joined by the Chancel Choir and the regional Community Singers singing two of Doris' favorites, Shout to the Lord and When in Our Music, God Is Glorified.
      A reception will follow.
      Freewill donations will be used for organ maintenance and future repairs.
      Click here for an interesting thumbnail history of Hook and Hastings organs.


ENOSBURG--The Opera House at Enosburg Falls will hold an informational meeting for the L'il Abner Auditions on Sunday at 2 p.m.
      Have questions about the audition process? Not sure what L'il Abner is about? Get your questions answered and watch the film version of L'il Abner.


SWANTON--The Swanton Chamber of Commerce will host a free Grow Your Business seminar in two parts at the Swanton Village Complex on Saturday from 9 a.m. - noon. Make no mistake. Art is a business.
      In Listening to Your Business, presenter Steve Densham of the Vermont Small Business Development Center helps you detect problems, recognize new ideas, and build trust and loyalty in your customers.
      Annette Hannah, owner of Champlain Insurance will tell you what you need to know in "But I thought I was covered for that!"
      Visit the Swanton Chamber of Commerce in person, email, or click here to register.


      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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