DANCE - FINE ARTS - MUSIC - THEATER - WRITING

ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper


VOLUME 12 * * All Arts News On the Web * * December 25, 2008

STUFF YOU SHOULDN'T MISS

      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.


      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 various restaurants around Franklin County throughout the week, 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.

      Find links to these events and more in our Spotlight!

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      Merry Christmas, everyone!


LOOKING BACK AT THE YEAR

     I am completely blown away by both the quantity and quality of concerts, events, exhibits, and productions staged this year in and by Franklin County artists. The list is so extensive that, after I cut and trimmed and slashed and gouged, I still had a column more than twice as long as usual. This year, for the first time ever, I have divided the annual roundup into two columns. This week, we will look at events around the county from the Artist In Residence cooperative to the West Swanton Methodist Church annual Lawn Supper. Next week, we will look at the All Arts Council Summer Sounds series, what other Major Presenters have been doing, and the Five Festivals.


COUNTY EVENTS

     The Artist In Residence cooperative and gallery featured an eclectic collection of work by Franklin County and surrounding area artists with a reception on the first Thursday of each month. It is owned and operated by the artists and sponsors. The Village Frame Shoppe serves as resident framer and the Blue Crayon studio is available there for individual or small group lessons. The gallery is located on Main Street in Enosburg Falls.
      Art's Alive again reached out to Franklin County with the second annual Spring Fine Art Exhibit by Franklin County artists as well as The First Fifty Art Exhibit, both in the Gallery at Union Station. The spring show featured Harald Aksdal, Rebecca Anne Bennett, Emily Billings, Jonathan Billings, Gordon Boomhower, Jane Bower, Claire Dunn, Jim Foote, Mary Ann Godin, Barbara Hamm, David Juaire, Suzanne Kenyon, Anita Michelle, Pat Murphy, Autumn Parry, Stina Plant, Karen Day Vath, and Maggy Young. The First Fifty Art Exhibit included the work of Lisamarie Charlesworth of St. Albans and Tinka Martell of Fairfax.
      The 29th annual Bay Day had continuous live music as well as the Great Race, lakefront games, sports, fair food, and fireworks, all to celebrate Independence Day. Fractured and Herkel performed in the afternoon and the evening offered the Rumble Doll Independence Day tribute in the Summer Sounds kickoff.
      Better Planet hosted several book signings and Champlain Collection had regular artist receptions. It is often as important for the community to meet the artists as it is to see the art.
      The Bishop Street Artists eighth annual Art Show and Sale included twenty area artists in a wide variety of mediums plus the Holiday House art group. The show introduced an artists' retrospective display of painter Douglas Underwood.
      Celebrate Saint Albans held an Art in the Park Day in Taylor Park with Rebecca Anne Bennett, Corliss Blakely, Bob Chaperone, Jr. Chepe Cuadra, Keith Gallup, Paule Gingras, Mary Godin, Barbara Hamm, Gillian Ireland, David Juaire, Dorothy Lear, Meta Strick, and Karen Day-Vath.
      Chow!Bella hosted the second annual Mardi Gras Dinner and Dance with music by the Fabulous Spiders in a benefit for Franklin County Court Diversion as well as Wednesday and Friday evening jazz..
      The Christian Music on the Parks concert series took over many summer Saturday evenings in Franklin County Town Parks. The series featured Accounted For; the Campbells, New Englandís first family of gospel music; Falling Forward; Journey Home; the Lord Family; and the Praise Brothers.
      The Citizens Concert Band played Wednesday evenings in the E.A. Loomis Bandshell, beside the bathhouse in St. Albans Bay, and at the Church of the Nativity in Swanton. All concerts were free.
      Common Ground Youth Center of St. Albans presented a number of music events including Rock for Docs at Higher Ground with Franklin County and national performers.
      Concerts By The Common series in Pratt Hall had Jenni Johnson and the Jazz Junketeers, the Nisht Geferlach Klezmer Band, and the Diller Quaile String Quartet.
      The First Congregational Church and the Piatigorsky Foundation presented Evan Drachman, cello, and Jeffrey Grossman, piano, in a free concert in a series that makes live classical music part of the fabric of everyday life.
      The Council on the Future of Vermont hosted community forums to gather the reflections and thoughts of Vermonters about this state and its future. The questions included, What does Vermont mean to you? What common values do Vermonters share? What are our challenges and opportunities as a state? and What should our priorities be for the future? The process helped to inform decision makers on the values, beliefs, and hopes of Vermonters.
      The Enosburg Town Band is the oldest in Vermont with volunteer musicians ranging in age from 11 to over 70. The band played Tuesdays in Lincoln Park as well as a series of ice cream socials and special concerts around Franklin County. All concerts were free.
      The Fairfax Community Theater Company spring production was A Murder Is Announced; fortunately the entire audience escaped unscathed. A Cry of Players filled the summer The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon told the "true" untold stories of the Grimm fairy tale characters. They wrapped up the year with Translations.
      Fiddleheads had a busy year. They played for Chocolate by the Pound, the Humane Society Benefit, the 16th New World Festival, community dances, and more.
      Foodstock put the prog-rock War Elephants, the trio Farm, and Big Spike on stage in a benefit for the food shelf.
      The inaugural Franco-American Heritage Festival brought together cultural heritage and the natural history of the Lake Champlain region in Taylor Park and the Knights of Columbus Hall. Performers included Michele Choiniere et compagnie, Fiddleheads, plus Benoit Bourque, Les Gens d'Plaisir, and Don Roy.
      The tenth annual Franklin County Quilt Show had over 100 quilts on display and gave a large, bed size quilt to the Humane Society.
      Highgate United Methodist held Hot Dogs and Beans on the Lawn with a special performance by the Champlain Voices as well as the popular ice cream social with music by the Fairfax-Fletcher-Westford Band. The church was also the Summer Sounds rain site.
      The Home and Recreation Exposition, Rotary Club of St. Albans' annual fund raiser, had the theme of Efficiency Vermont. Artist Harald Aksdal painted in the Champlain Collection display. Home improvement can easily help showcase your own collection of art.
      The eclectic fifteenth annual Jig in the Valley had great local music, fabulous food, crafts, a farmer's market, and activities for kids with the Backyard Bluegrass Band, David and Janice Carr, John Cassel, the Nobby Reed Project, and the Fabulous Spiders.
      The Lincoln Inn in Essex Junction hosted singer/songwriters, bluesfolk, Irish folkies, jazz players, and more from Franklin County. The Inn may have the most consistent (and most eclectic) live music program in the state.
      The Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge art exhibit created by the Friends of the Wildlife Refuge and the Saint Albans Artists' Guild showed an often unseen look at the wildlife, the waters, and the scenic landscape of the refuge in realistic, abstract, and contemporary styles.
      The 10th annual Montgomery Historic Society Art Show and Sale in historic Pratt Hall featured Vermont artists in a variety of media including Glen Bartolomeo, Tim Chapin, Lenny Christopher, Suzanne Dollois, Pam Fischer, Annette Goyne, Janis Hess, Heidi Lague, George Lochtie, Robin Massey, Beth McAdams, Lorraine Pike, Julie Ruth, John Selmer, Sr., and Gustav Verderber.
      The NMC Art Wall is one of the three major public art displays at the hospital. Exhibits changed monthly.
      Open Studio Weekend celebrated creativity and the visual arts statewide with an inside look at Vermont artists and craftspeople in and around Franklin County: Corliss Blakely, Marcia Hagwood, and the Artist In Residence Co-op Gallery in Enosburg Falls.
      Richford Farmers Market presented singer/actor Tim Stetson and His Invisible Friends in concert.
      The Saint Albans Artists' Guild held "Life is Art," its annual members' juried exhibit and gala, in the Museum. Sean Dye conducted a benefit showing for the Gwen Gallup Scholarship Fund.
      The St. Albans and Franklin County Literary Guild held its first public presentation with writer Leon Thompson.
      The St. Albans Free Library held a workshop for advanced citizens interested in writing their memoirs. The Library joined with the Franklin County Peace Alliance present a series documentary movies in the Library.
      The St. Albans Historical Museum and OSHER presented a Bob Manning lecture on American painters Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper. The Museum debuted Chickasaw, The Elixir of Love.
      St Albans had a local summer concert series in the Edric A. Loomis Memorial Band Shell on some summer Sundays. Groups included Green Mountain Chorus, the Oleo Romeos, Prydien, and the Nobby Reed Project.
      St Paul's United Methodist Church presented Tim Zimmerman and the King's Brass as well as Elisabeth LeBlanc, clarinet, and Annemieke Spoelstra, piano.
      West Swanton Methodist Church's annual Lawn Supper featured Jim and Cindy Weedís Missisquoi River Band plus Andy Sacher and Bob Degree.


      35 different presenters with dozens of venues and a mix of fine art, classical music, popular entertainment, and great theater. Wow! What a year!
      And I'm only halfway through the list.


FRANKLIN COUNTY BOOKSHELF

      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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      This article was originally published in the St Albans Messenger and other traditional print media. It is Copyright © 2008 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 Google.com or your favorite search engine).
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