ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 20 * * All Arts News On the Web * * December 8, 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 BFA Music Department presents Handel's Messiah for two performances in the BFA Performing Arts Center on Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m.
      The music tells the whole story from birth to death of the Lord. This concert will consist of seven choruses, fifteen vocal solos, and two symphonic overtures including all of Part One [the Christmas portion] and the Hallelujah Chorus.
      The concerts will feature the 100-member chorus of BFA students, alumni, and community members and a professional baroque orchestra and soloists produced and directed by Armand Messier. Danielle Turner, soprano, Erin Grainger, mezzo, Bruce Barger, tenor, Gary Moreau, bass, are the featured vocal soloists at both performances.
      The Messiah is a major work and an accomplishment for students and community alike. It has been ten years since the last performance. "Our work on Messiah is harmonious with what we see happening in St Albans and adds to the spirit of the recent renewal in our hometown," Mr. Messier said. He is a St. Michaels graduate and the choral director at BFA-St. Albans.
      Messiah is extremely popular in the United States and Britain and is the most widely performed oratorio in the world. It is commonly performed with large choruses and orchestra. The combination of students, community members, and professional musicians offers the Franklin County audiences another of the finest concerts ever.
      Baroque period German composer George Frideric Handel is best known for his English oratorios, particularly the Messiah. An oratorio is very much like an opera with a sacred text set to voice.
      Between 1718 and 1751, Handel composed 17 oratorios in England in the romantic Italian style with English words and a strong emphasis on the English chorus. Written in 1741, the Messiah follows his Old Testament stories of Belshazzar, Solomon, Theodora, and Jephtha. These three-act dramatic works are performed in concert, without the staging or action of an opera. The Messiah is less dramatic and more meditative than his operas and other oratorios.
      Messiah was written in 23 days and was first performed about in a large church setting in the early 1780s and the mania has continued through the years. A London concert in 1791 used over 1,000 performers; it is now performed by (usually smaller) choral societies in most American towns. During a later performance at Westminster Abbey, two choruses were used to create a stereo effect. In the past 150 years it has often been adapted and used regularly in Christian services, especially during the Christmas and Easter seasons. Although the subject of Messiah is of a religious nature, it is not considered a religious work because it was not written specifically for the church.
      "Our efforts throughout the semester have presented wonderful experiences and ambitious challenges for both our students and community." Mr. Messier said.
      Admission is $10. Get your tickets while you can. Click here for tickets and more info.


     Much of the music around Franklin County comes out of St. Albans' West Street Digital studios.

FINE ART--Artist and photographer Natalie LaRocque offers Flowers with Sunshine to brighten a snowy winter day. Click here to buy.

MUSIC--The Cop Outs, Vermont's own Celtic-folk punk band, released This Is to Her Life last week. Their first studio album of upbeat Celtic rock is available on Spotify, CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon and many more. Click here to buy.

MUSIC--Mingo Maquera now has three digital albums Freezer, Floaters, and Swimmers released through Band Camp this year. They are alternative and emo with some underwater and experimental in the mix. Click here to buy.

MUSIC--"Ben Patton's new melodic, quirky, 60's tinged pop CD, the Chantry, is probably my favorite Ben to date," Andre Maquera said.
      "It's largely the people that helped me realize it that make it so special to me," Mr. Patton wrote. Caleb Bronz, Michelle Sudarsono, Mingo Maquera and more area friends appear. The cover and other album art is from a series of collages Danforth Toan, Mr. Patton's grandfather. "The Chantry" was an enchanted estate in Brattleboro. Click here to buy.


MORRISVILLE--The Gallery at River Arts Presents Artist Talk: Mirror Images, a conversation with Mickey Myers and Kelly Holt this evening at 5:30 p.m.
      This unusual exchange brings together One of a Kind guest curator Kelly Holt and artist Mickey Myers to discuss Ms. Myers' monoprints in the gallery. Admission is free. Click here for more info.


ST. ALBANS--14th Star Brewing Company hosts Paint and Pint with Jon Young at the Brewery and Taproom on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
      Mr. Young says you'll use palette knives and thick paint in this final event of 2016. Paint and Pint sessions cost $35 per person for two hours of art instruction, all necessary painting materials, a pint/glass of a beverage of your choice to enjoy while painting, and your final masterpiece to bring home after the lesson.
      Click here to register and reserve your seat!


SWANTON--The Swanton Arts Council hosts an open meeting of the Swanton Writer's Group in the Swanton Free Public Library this evening at 6 p.m.
      The December writing challenge is a short personal essay having to do with a room in a house (or an associated space, such as a yard, garden or even the whole house). Writers don't have to participate in the challenge to join the group. Email Becky Rupp for more info.


ST. ALBANS--The Twiggs Open Mic and TNT Comedy Showcase continues on the Main Stage Thursday evening at 7 p.m.
      The Holi-Daze Show at TNT Comedy Showcase features comedians Tyler Denton and Tony Bates, hosted by Ashley Watson. Sign-up begins at 6:30, open mic is at 7, and the showcase is held at 8 p.m.
      Next up, Twiggs presents Gypsy Wind, the eclectic duo of Jesse John Potts and Andy Hoadley, on Friday and Tiny Montgomery (Dave Ball, Bob Gagnon, and Andy Smith) on Saturday. Shows begin at 7 p.m.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.

ST. ALBANS--The St. Albans Co-Op Holiday Tractor Parade tours downtown St. Albans on Friday beginning at 6 p.m.
      The parade route will start from the Co-Op Store, then drive up Lake Street, across Main street by Taylor Park, down Lower Newton, and return to the Co-Op for display. Featuring Santa Claus, there will be free hot chocolate, a photo booth, a visit with Santa, and more. Donations of nonperishable food items will be collected at the entrance of the store. Face painting begins at 4 p.m. at the store.

ST. ALBANS--The St. Albans Museum presents the third annual Carol Ann Jones Holiday Concert and Sing Along and CD Release in the Bliss Room on Saturday at 7 p.m. Carol Ann Jones is joined by Will Patton, Gary Spaulding, and Dono Schabner to ring in the season with music for the holidays. Audience members are encouraged to sing along.
      Her new CD Christmas in Vermont will be released at the shows this weekend.
      There will be a cash bar and desserts.
      Admission is $15 per person. All proceeds benefit the St. Albans Museum. Click here for tickets.

     She will also have a CD Release show in the final show of the eighth season at the Brick Church Music Series in Williston on Friday. Admission to the Brick Church is $14 at the door. Doors open at 6 p.m.

SOUTH BURLINGTON--Higher Ground presents the Spectacular Spectacular, a seated show in the Ballroom on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Vermont's rising stars in ages 5-13 showcase their talents with two-minute acts.
      Admission is $7 advance or $10 day of show and children 6 and under are admitted for free. Click here for tickets.

EAST FAIRFIELD--Meeting House on the Green hosts Song & Celebration on Sunday beginning at 4 p.m. The program is Christmas caroling, seasonal treats and beverages, and neighborly good cheer.
      Free and open to the public. Click here for more info.

MORRISVILLE--Moog's hosts its sixth annual Jingle Jam on Sunday.


     The Meeting House has eight large windows in need or replacement. They seek donations of $1250 per window to cover the matching funds for that part of the renovation.
      "As a contributor, you will be able to choose which window you'd like to adopt." The Meeting House will install a small brass plaque by your window in recognition of your donation. and offers a free seat beside the window at all the 2017 Summer Evenings with Vermont Treasures concerts plus a 2017 Meeting House T-shirt. Most important, the donation directly helps preserve the historic landmark for our kids and grandkids.
      Click here for more info.


      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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