|VOLUME 9||* * All Arts News On the Web * *||March 31, 2005|
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.
STUFF YOU SHOULDN'T MISS
Stop in for live music and more at the Fairfax Music Sessions at the Foothills Bakery in Fairfax most Saturday afternoons at 1 p.m., at ChowBella or at the Overtime Saloon in St Albans 8-10 p.m. most Wednesday evenings, at the Bayside in St Albans Town most Sunday afternoons, and the Cambridge CoffeeHouses at 7 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of every month.
These gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, "show-and-tell" and occasional workshops. The booked performances and acoustic Open Mike Nights feature music, readings, and more from the best new artists in Vermont.
A new Franklin County construction project starts tomorrow with the help of the All Arts Council, the St. Albans Historical Museum, and WGBH-Boston.
EXTREME MAKEOVER, THIS OLD HOUSE STYLE
Regular readers may know that Anne and I gutted our house for a renovation project last year. We had carpenters, and plumbers, and the world's slowest electrician, and plaster dust in our hair for the better part of a year. I swore I would never do that again. Until television producer Michael Hammer approached St Albans City with a record-setting project that could be finished in just one week.
"We will renovate a small exhibit space that reflects the original Waugh Opera House in this building," Mr. Hammer said, pointing to the former Doolins Building. "And we will build a bridge high over Taylor Park to connect the Main Street space with the theater space on the top floor of the St Albans Historical Museum."
The project will include a small meeting room that replicates the Waugh space, 14,000 square feet of exhibit and convention space in the People Bridge, and the 200 seat Museum theater.
A construction project this size generally allows up to one year for architectural design, six months for bidding and contracting for the trades, and eighteen months for actual construction, even with the use of extremely rapid cure composites. Compress that schedule into one week and you have the premise of This Old [Opera] House--Extreme Makeover.
"We have 41 different crews ready to start work tomorrow morning," said Mr. Hammer.
Kevin O'Connor who hosts This Old House arrived in St Albans last week for pre-production work on This Old [Opera] House--Extreme Makeover. He will be joined by the full cohort of This Old House experts: master carpenter Norm Abram, general contractor Tom Silva, heating and plumbing expert Rich Trethewey, and landscape contractor Roger Cook.
"People love reality shows," Mr. Hammer said. "We've just celebrated our 25th anniversary on the air and this fits our own plan to punch up 'This Old House'."
Architect Laz Scangas conceived the People Bridge and completed the engineering work and architectural drawings last month. They were unveiled at Town Meeting in St Albans City Hall.
"We had two goals, to reflect the heritage of the City and to build a structure that could stand on its own as sculpture," Mr. Scangas said.
The cornerstone of the project, the People Bridge will start at the roof of the former Doolins Building, cross Main Street, Taylor Park, and Church Street, and join the St Albans Historical Museum at the top of its front staircase. The structure uses a stressed skin with a single pylon support at the north and south sidewalks of Taylor Park. Making extensive use of advanced composite materials; the design will be presented at the Fourth Middle East Symposium on Composites for Infrastructure Applications in Alexandria, Egypt in May.
"Our design maximizes the surface area for interior and exterior art," Mr. Scangas said. The All Arts Council plans a rotating exhibit of area artists inside and will commission permanent murals for the exterior.
Remember the date.
This morning, three Public Television crews and the Channel 15 volunteers began filming while Paul Bangs' and Beth Casavant's fifth grade class from Highgate Elementary School arrived for a field trip.
"The students will visit on three different days," said Wayne Tarr, Assistant Principal at Highgate Elementary and a member of the All Arts Council. "This project is an excellent, if compressed, way to teach how to combine public art and city planning."
Opera houses were the cultural center of Franklin County in the past. In the early Twentieth Century, the Waugh Opera House inhabited the 43,000 square foot "Doolins building" on Main Street in St. Albans. Dr. Waugh was a local homeopath. Although the building has been divided into offices and apartments, the main staircase and much of the original floor plan remains. This opera house hosted orchestra and dance music, national revues, magicians, and traveling acts awaiting admission to Canada. The oldest orchestra leader in the United States, Sterling Weed has been directing since 1928. He played the scores for silent movies at the Waugh Opera House.
In 2000, Sue Nadeau led a series of tours of the Doolins Building, the original home of the Waugh Opera House in downtown St Albans. The visitors included Alexander Aldrich of the Vermont Arts Council and Norm Abrams of This Old House. That was a good introduction for our discussion on the need for a regional art center.
"The Museum and the Arts Council have planned a joint project for some time," said Museum President Warren Hamm. "I think we envisioned starting a little smaller, but this bridge will be a real boon to the community."
Check the date.
Crew Number Three will begin pre-casting the sides and supports for the bridge on Main Street between Kingman and Lake starting at dawn on Saturday morning. Parking will be banned and the street closed to regular traffic during the pour.
"We expect Main Street to be closed for only two days," St. Albans City Manager Brian Searles said.
The rest of the project will be completed "in the air" or inside the two buildings. Multiple camera crews will film every step of the construction.
The Creative Economy studies reported on earlier showed that municipalities should identify and encourage creative uses for buildings. The Waugh Opera House as a performance space will be lost, but this project will enable its history to continue.
This Old [Opera] House--Extreme Makeover will air beginning in April, 2005 on WETK-Burlington and WCFE-Plattsburg. Check your local listings. The Making of This Old [Opera] House, hosted by this reporter, will begin on Channel 15 on Saturday, April 1, 2005, at 9 p.m.
The All Arts Council and St Albans for the Future will host a special opening reception on a date TBA. Admission is for the reception will be only $100/adults and $75/seniors and children with tickets already sold out at the All Arts ticket centers: Enosburg Pharmacy and Merchants Bank in Enosburg Falls, at Swanton Rexall, and at Better Planet and at the Kept Writer in St Albans.
Remember the date.
Despite the fact that my hair now uses the new Maple Wax beauty treatment, this column may convince you that your favorite arts council chair has hit too many high notes. Rest assured that it is again April 1 and you have been fooled.
ST. ALBANS--The Franklin County Quilting Guild and the St. Albans Historical Museum celebrate quilting with the Vintage and Contemporary Quilt Show on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in St, Albans City Hall. The show boasts over 100 contemporary quilts for show and sale, a silent Auction, door prizes, and a raffle. Admission is free.
ON STAGE LIVE
Call Ann Pitt (802.868.7304) for info.
JOHNSON--The Northeast Heritage Music Camp, scheduled for June 12-18 on the Johnson State College Campus needs about 10 more students signed up by today, March 31, to go forward. The new camp will inaugurate a program to celebrate the acoustic music and folk dance traditions of New England and eastern Canada. The program covers a week of music instruction by world class players from these great traditions in June on the Johnson State College Campus in Johnson. The program includes nightly contras, concerts, and jam sessions plus five daily classes with world class players.
Attendees must preregister for the Northeast Heritage Music Camp; space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Vermont residents may forego lodging costs and commute to the event. Click here for more info.
In the event of cancellation, all deposits will of course be returned in full.
AROUND THE STATE--The world premieres of Social Band's Vermont Composers Project is a joyfully presented program of new choral works commissioned from 25 diverse Vermont composers and performed for you by the lively Burlington band of singers. The Social Band performed at Summer Sounds 2004.
The performances are tomorrow at the Bethany Church in Montpelier at 7:30 p.m., Saturday in the Vergennes Opera House at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, April 10, at the Unitarian Church of Burlington at 3 p.m. Tickets are $12 suggested donation, and are available in advance from Social Band members or from the Flynn Regional Box Office, (802-86-FLYNN or click here), and at the door.
Click here or call 802-658-8488 for more info.
Kym Mooney is a Vermont certified teacher of secondary theater arts from South Hero. Her improv troupe combines democracy and soap opera. The Soapflakes offer classes, group tours, murder mysteries, creative writing, and more.
CLICK HERE: ART SITE OF THE WEEK
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.
FRANKLIN COUNTY BOOKSHELF
Dick Harper, Chair
P.O. Box 1
Highgate Springs, VT 05460
This article was originally published in
the St Albans Messenger and other traditional print media. It is
Copyright © 2005 by Richard B. Harper. All rights reserved.
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