ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 20 * * All Arts News On the Web * * November 10, 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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      I'll be "off the grid" for my road trip for the next couple of weeks. ArtBits will continue but in a much abbreviated form. We'll continue to have the news and any events that arrive in our inbox before deadline.
      Meanwhile, check the Art Sites of the Week below to find links to the right stuff and enjoy this story from 1999.


     Imagine going on stage at age eight, then staying on for 50 68 years.
      "Write your goals down and put 'em where you see them the most: in the kitchen and the bathroom. Everybody eats and they've gotta go," said Jimmy T Thurston of Isle LaMotte who celebrates his golden anniversary in music this year.
This interview took place 18 years ago;
Jimmy T is still making Outlaw Music.
The following is included this week as a "Look Back."
     Jimmy T was first on stage calling square dances in a town hall in Waterbury Center, but he really started out as a 4 year old at home. "Back in the old days, my dad made home brew for all the kitchen tunks" (kitchen parties where family and friends gather to sample the home brew), he said. "They would bring out the fiddle and the good times and dance.
      "My uncle and my brother taught me to call square dances and I picked up a lot from the parties being a little kid under foot."
      Jimmy T and the Cobras won the 1965 Lake Placid Battle of the Bands and came in "in the money" at the Memorial Auditorium through most of the 60s.
      The Cobras feature Roger Giroux of Vergennes, lead guitar and vocals, Andy Van Benthuysen of Fairfax (the judge's brother), bass and vocals, Bruce Costello of Salisbury, keyboards and vocals, and Tony LaClair of Plattsburgh, drums and vocals. Jimmy is "lead singer and front man, job coordinator, and booking agent."
      His original music includes an album, If You Don't Roll the Dice, You'll Never Get a Seven, released in 1987. Hucklebuck Hideout on that album is a true story about Joe Barry's in Williston, the only place in Vermont that had dancing girls. Don't Want to Change a Thing has his son Jamie Lee playing distortion guitar and Gordon Stone on banjo in the background. Vermont is a swing tune "all about the four season changes in Vermont."
      The band will go into the studio this winter for a new album they expect to release in U.S. and Europe in early 2001.
      Jimmy T has played in the Windsor State Prison for the inmates and Waterbury State Hospital for the patients, as well as years of Boogy Beast concerts in the back yard for the Isle LaMotte Volunteer Fire Department and an annual concert for the Parent Child Center of the Champlain Islands to help raise money for the kids. Jimmy is also proud of something no one else has: a knockout reference from the Swanton Chamber of Commerce for his gig at the Swanton Festival.
      Despite his success, he says, "We don't do music for a living. I do residential interior painting wallpapering and drywall for a living."
      He has been with wife Maggie for 25 years and they have lived on Isle LaMotte for the last 20. "Her father was a musician so that makes it successful for me, too, because she understands the music world," he said. Of their three kids, "only Jamie has taken to the music." Daughters Vickie Marie Cleland and Deborah Jean West live in Alburg. Son Jamie Lee Thurston lives in Nashville and is here for a couple of weeks for the holidays. "He's been on stage with me since he was three. He couldn't reach the microphone and I had to hold him up there.
      "All the bigwigs were up this weekend at the Rusty Nail checking him out."
      Derrick, 4, and Erin, 11, the grandfather of Rock and Roll's grandchildren, also live in Alburg.
      Jimmy T's 2017 tour dates are coming soon. Hooty whoo!


ENOSBURG--The Opera House at Enosburg Falls hosts the Annual Holiday Craft Show at the House on Saturday from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
      The perfect holiday gifts are available from great local vendors with lunch sold to benefit the Enosburg Food Shelf.


ST. ALBANS--BFA Drama presents The Wizard of Oz in the BFA Performing Arts Center starting this evening and running through Saturday at 7 p.m. with a special Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.
      Admission is $10 and $8. Tickets are available at

ST. ALBANS--Twiggs presents the Fender Benders on Friday and a special appearance by Vermont Chamber Jazz on Saturday. Shows begin at 7 p.m. Every Tuesday is Bring the Kids day for close-up table magic with Marko the Magician while you enjoy magical food at Twiggs. Dinner and magic start at 6:30.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.

ESSEX JUNCTION--Backstage November Madness overflows with Justice at Backstage Pub and Restaurant on Saturday at 9:30 p.m.

BURLINGTON--The Lake Champlain Festival presents Arnold Steinhardt and the Parker String Quartet in a performance of Beethoven's late String Quartet in B Flat, Opus 130, in the FlynnSpace on Saturday, at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
      Admission is $40 for adults or $36 for students. Tickets are available through the Flynn Box Office or click here .


Arts Councils and Galleries
Artist in Residence Gallery
Cambridge Arts Council
Island Arts
Northern Vermont Artists Association
River Arts
St. Albans Community Arts
Swanton Arts Council

Important Area Calendars
Franklin County Regional Chamber of Commerce
Young Tradition-Vermont (with Mark Sustic's calendar of traditional events around the region)

Popular Local Performers and Venues
Abbey Restaurant
Bayside Pavilion
Michele Choiniere
Carol Ann Jones
Moog's Place
Opera House at Enosburg Falls
Will Patton
Nobby Reed Project

Libraries and Books
The Franklin County Bookshelf here on the AAC site at


      ArtBits features a quick weekly peek at library events in and around Franklin County. That popular feature has a page of its own at the Franklin County Bookshelf here on the AAC site at We also take an occasional peek at the bookshelf or night stand of the folks you know in and around Franklin County. Those reviews can be found on the ArtBits Bookshelf.

Good News!

There are so many events around the region that we miss some of them.
Be sure to check these calendars for what's happening near you ...
All Arts Council of Franklin County
Cambridge Arts Council
Chamber of Commerce
Island Arts
St Albans Community Arts
Swanton Arts Council
Young Tradition Vermont


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All Arts Council of Franklin County

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      This article may also have originally been published in the 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).
      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.