ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 20 * * All Arts News On the Web * * December 29, 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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      2016 was all-in-all a busy year in the arts.


ENOSBURG--The Opera House at Enosburg Falls holds Silver & Gold on Friday at 7 p.m.
      The annual Cabaret-style event features Broadway tunes and standards performed by local performers. There will be light fare as well as a pouring by the 1906 House.
      Admission is $15 for adults or $10 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at the door on the night of the performance or at

ST. ALBANS--Twiggs presents singer-songwriter Erin Cassels-Brown from Burlington on Friday at 7 p.m. and Chris and Erica on Saturday at 7:30-10:30 p.m.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.

SHELDON--The Abbey will dance the night away with the Hitmen at the Abbey New Years Eve Party on Saturday starting at 8 p.m.
      The admission of $25 per person includes the midnight buffet and champagne toast.

JEFFERSONVILLE--The Varnum Memorial Library hosts a monthly Open Mic Night and potluck featuring music and comedy this Wednesday at 6 p.m. and on the first Wednesday of each month.
      The Cambridge Arts Council and the Smugglers' Notch Chamber of Commerce welcome all ages. Email Christy Liddy for more info.


BURLINGTON--First Night Burlington celebrates its 34th year of the citywide, substance-free party of nearly 100 stage shows, musical acts, and arts activities in 18 venues to kick off the new year. Downtown on Saturday from noon on.
      A huge number of performers are either from Franklin County or are local favorites including Constitution Brass Quintet, Michele Choiniere, Cricket Blue, the Dale and Darcy Band, Electric Youth Dance Company, Frevo, Jon Gailmor, Stephen Kiernan and his Large Guitars, Mark LeGrand & Sarah Munro, Annemieke Spoelstra McLane, Will Patton, Social Band, and Young Tradition Vermont featuring Audrey Budington and Clayton Clemetson and with an Instrument Petting Zoo.
      Some events are free; buttons available at 65 button outlets including Hannaford and Price Chopper in St. Albans. (Buy your buttons early; Adult Buttons jump to $22 on Saturday. Of course, they are far more expensive on December 32.) Most Flynn MainStage require $5 tickets in addition to the button. Click here for a complete schedule.
      Let's be careful out there.

ST. JOHNSBURY--First Night North in St. Johnsbury celebrates 24 years of music with 54 different acts with 340 artists in nearly 100 performances at 13 buildings with 18 venues, all taking place in just eight hours on Saturday. First Night North St. J starts at 4 p.m. and continues right through midnight with intense fireworks in the first 20 minutes of 2017.
      A number of performers here are from Franklin County or are local favorites, too, including Summer Sounds performers Bob Amos & Catamount Crossing, Nisht Geferlach Klezmer Band, and the No Strings Marionette Theater, plus Marko the Magician, Village Harmony, and more.
      The First Night St. J shuttle bus will run counterclockwise and will service every venue.


     Franklin County artists and presenters had a busy 2016. This week, we wrap up with what All Arts Council and the Other Major Presenters did and a quick summary of arts funding on the national stage.

      The All Arts Council serves northwestern Vermont as a presenter, an event producer, and as a technical resource for artists and other groups. Other Franklin County organizations continue to grow, which means we support more events.
      Summer Sounds, Franklin County's popular, long running, outdoor series, offered free concerts on summer Sunday evenings. The 26th season of the popular free concert series began at Bay Day with IncaHoots playing right into the Bay Day fireworks. Bob Amos and Catamount Crossing, Anderson Gram, the Christopher Dean Band, Jenni Johnson and the Jazz Junketeers, the Troy Millette Band, and the noted law firm of Sullivan, Davis, and Hanscom filled our other summer nights with sound.
      The concerts in this 26th season have been sponsored by the supporting Towns and the All Arts Council. The series was underwritten by Chevalier Drilling Co. Inc, Desorcie's Market, Drummac Septic Service, O. C. McCuin & Sons, and Ray's Extrusion Dies Tubing.
      The community based All Arts Council brings the performing and visual arts to northwestern Vermont. The Summer Sounds concerts are always on Sunday evenings, always at 7 p.m., always in a Town Park, always in the summer, and always free.
      Did you miss any of the concerts? Fortunately, Northwest Access TV and the All Arts Council produce Almost Live, a series of live concerts that airs each week on Comcast Channel 15. The volunteer videography crew produced a "front row seat" show of all the Summer Sounds concerts and many more besides. click here for more info about Almost Live on Channel 15.

      Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge held Art on the Refuge, the annual Friends of the Refuge exhibit of Vermont artists working in oil, acrylics, watercolor, pen and ink, pastels, photographs and fabric of the over 200 species of birds that live on or stop at the Refuge.
      The Northwestern Medical Center Gallery's a monthly solo show of the work of area artists went on hiatus this Fall, as NMC's Master Facility Plan construction was underway. The Gallery shows resume next month.
      The Village Frame Shoppe in St. Albans featured artists from across Vermont and New England. They hosted the first St. Albans Art Walk, the Maple Sugaring themed Maple Festival photo showcase, as well as promotions and shows for individual artists, and a special sale last week for All Arts readers.
      The BFA Performing Arts Center hosted Cardiac Capers, Maple Festival concerts, the Wizard of Oz, dance performances, a one-act play and the Junior Jamboree, the Spring Band Concert, an Instrumental Concert, the Spring Choral Review Concert, and a cabaret.
      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls had a busy year with concerts with Prydein to start the season, followed by Bella Voce, Melting Point!, Phil Yates and the Affiliates, Dark Horse, O'hAnleigh, and the Dynamic Duos, the theatrical productions of The Nerd, Li'l Abner, Frog and Toad, and The Odd Couple. In their spare time, they held the Enosburg Town Band and Town Chorus Community Christmas Concert, the Dairy Pageant, a Fall Fling, the annual Fundraiser Gala, and the first major Craft Fair of the season, plus Summer Theater Camp, Summer Dance Camp, and Rock Camp, and a Community Night at the Opera House.
      Summer Evenings with Vermont Treasures, the Meeting House on the Green music series, gave us six months of exceptional performers: starting with the Will Patton Quartet, and including Starline Rhythm Boys, Christine Malcolm & Friends, Tim McKenzie, The Austin Piazzolla Quintet, the Wing Walkers, Patti Casey & Tom MacKenzie, and the Lonesome Mountain Boys. Proceeds from the series help in the next restoration phase of the building.
      Summer Music at Grace opened the season before Memorial Day with "the umpteenth annual" Farewell Reunion benefit concert. They continued with Village Harmony, Full Circle, Frevo, Erin Grainger, Katie Oprea, and Friends, and Frevo.
      Twiggs offered more music and art than any other Franklin County presenter. They have three stages with live piano, violin, or light guitar in the dining room, the Window, or the main stage. They continued Comedy For A Cause to benefit local organizations and started the TNT Comedy Thursdays series.

      The House passed a nearly $2 million increase in the NEA budget this summer and the Senate committee approved an increase of $500,000, but there is no final bill. Instead, the NEA will continue to receive current funding until the next deadline in April, 2017.
      On November 28, the U.S. Department of Education released final regulations for state accountability plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act. Arts is included in the list of subjects.
      President-elect Trump has nominated Betsy DeVos to head the U.S. Department of Education. She promotes school choice and is also a backer of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management in Maryland. her family is involved in Grand Rapid's ArtPrize in Michigan.


      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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