ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 22 * * All Arts News On the Web * * March 29, 2018


      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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ENOSBURG--The All Arts Council proudly presents the American Ballet Theater performing the world premiere of choreographer Irma Catwomansky's new full-length ballet, Maple Whipped Cream, in the Opera House at Enosburg Falls on Sunday. There will be two opening day benefit performances, at 2 and again at 7 p.m.
      "Creating a new full-length dance from scratch, a successful full length, is rare," said Ms. Catwomansky, an ABT artist in residence. "We particularly wanted to open the show in its own setting."
      Franklin County has the most dairy farms in the state and is both the dairy and maple capital of the world.
      Maple Whipped Cream, is based on the Green Mountain and Butler, Vermont romance novels by Marie Force. The score by composers Gwyneth Walker and John Cassel tells the story of Fred the Moose (harnessed for sugaring), the boisterous Abbott family, the beautiful Vermont mountain landscape, dairy farms and maple syrup, and the sexy romances that set your heart to racing.
      The ballet includes both a whipped cream corps de ballet that slips down a maple tree slide and Fred the snow-covered Moose manned by dancers raiding sap buckets. There will be no Sap Beer.
      Ms. Walker lived on a dairy farm in Braintree for almost 30 years before moving back to her childhood hometown in Connecticut. She has written over 300 works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, chorus, solo voice, and individual instruments. They have been performed nationwide in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Washington National Cathedral, and the Ellen Show. Her work is traditional and accessible in the style of American composers such as Aaron Copland and Charles Ives. Ms. Walker's Shaker Tunes for Brass Quintet were composed on commission from the Constitution Brass Quintet of Vermont and had a premiere in Summer Sounds in Highgate.
      The "first hippie" in Bakersfield, Mr. Cassel built the music scene in Vermont for over thirty years. He was a classically trained jazz pianist who played country, folk, pop, rock, and dinner music, and also composed the musical Green Mountain Lucky.
      This ballet does take the audience into the world of sweet and sometimes sticky dreams but the outdoor dances are dangerous. "I think it is this combination of humor, beauty, curiosity, uneasiness and joy that make this story a successful adventure," Ms. Catwomansky said.
      Yesterday was the deadline for buying tickets to the opening performance and Sunday is the deadline to realize that it is again April 1.
      Admission to the opening day performances is $150 per person. Click here or here for schedules and other background materials, and more info. Funds raised will benefit a new grant program for modern dance in Franklin County.
      No joke, Easter is Sunday, April 1.


SWANTON--The Swanton Arts Council hosts a presentation by Brian Savage, Turning Your Hobby into a Business, at the Swanton Free Public Library on Saturday at 10:30 a.m.
      The informational session will cover types of business structures, how the IRS determines if you have a hobby or a business, as well as business plans for those who may need financing with a bank. Mr. Savage, Swanton's sitting State Representative (Franklin-4), is a retired bank manager and current small business and municipal consultant.


MONTGOMERY--Montgomery Center for the Arts hosts a Paint & Sip Fundraiser with Pat Murphy at Kelton Hall on Saturday at 5 p.m.
      Mr. Murphy, a painter and musician, studied drawing and painting at the Ruskin School of Fine Art and Drawing of Oxford University and at University of Montana - Missoula. He teaches art and is a member of the Artist In Residence Cooperative Gallery. He will instruct step-by-step through an original piece of art. At the end of the night you'll take home a one-of-a-kind painting and perhaps a newfound talent.
      This is event is a fundraiser for The Montgomery Center for The Arts; the cost is $35 which includes all materials. There is limited space so an RSVP Email or call M Sebastian Araujo (802.326.2386).


SWANTON--The Swanton Arts Council will hold its monthly meeting and update in the Swanton Village Complex on Monday at 6 p.m.
      All are welcome. Click here for the agenda and minutes. Email for more info.


ST. ALBANS-Life moves pretty fast but Ferris Bueller will take the Day Off in The Room at 14th Star Brewing Company this evening at 6:30 p.m. If you don't stop by for the free movie, you could miss it.
      It's been over thirty years since we first got to watch Ferris, Cameron, and Sloane explore the city of Chicago while playing hooky. There will be plenty of seating, or feel free to bring a blanket and pillow and get cozy on the floor. Free popcorn and hot cocoa for all who attend.


ST. ALBANS--The First Congregational Church will host a Musical Meditation featuring organist Stephan Conrady on Friday at 12:15 p.m. Doors open from 12 noon - 1 p.m.

ST. ALBANS--Twiggs presents the balladeer and the bluesman, local legends Cooper and Lavoie on Friday and the Buck Hollers' acoustic classics and strong vocals on Saturday. Shows begin at 7 p.m.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.

ST. ALBANS--NightHawk returns to the Taproom Stage at 14th Star Brewing Company on Saturday at 6 p.m.
      The Plattsburgh-based band plays a little something for everyone with Kyra Maddix, vocals; Ray Parent, guitars and vocals; Pete Lawrence, on drums and vocals; and Michael Maddix, bass and vocals. Everybody sings! Come on out on a Saturday night and cut loose to some dancing tunes.

ST. ALBANS--Yee haw! Durty Nelly's Tavern is going full-on honky-tonk with the Starline Rhythm Boys on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
      The Boys are Danny Coane who writes and sings, picks banjo and guitar; Billy Bratcher, upright slap bass; and Big Al Lemery on the stinging Telecaster. The winners of Seven Days' Best Americana Artist averages about 100 gigs per year.
      Admission is by $5 cover.

ST. ALBANS--Sean Jarvis hosts Open Mic Night at Durty Nelly's Irish Pub on Wednesday starting at 6:30 p.m. Show off your talent; everyone is welcome to grab the mic and perform any Wednesday evening on the Tavern side.

ST. ALBANS--Bellows Free Academy hosts the Spring Instrumental Music Concert in the BFA Performing Arts Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Bands 1, 2, and 3, the String Orchestra, and the Jazz Band will play selections from Copland, Bach, Vivaldi, Trombone Shorty, and many others.
      The program is free.


     Back in 2012, Vermont Public Radio started a call-in line to share upcoming arts events. That curated list of happenings became known as Art Hounds. It publicized thousands of inspiring, fun, and uplifting arts events and generated thousands of attendees.
      Sadly, Art Hounds is ending its successful run as VPR incorporates more arts reporting into its regular news coverage. You will hear it for the last time during All Things Considered on this evening, March 29, and tomorrow morning during Morning Edition. VPR promises to continue their robust arts coverage on VPR, VPR Classical, and at


ST. ALBANS--The City has received a $15,000 Main Street Grant to continue renovating the City Hall Auditorium into a modern performance space. The project includes new sound and lighting equipment, curtains, and a repaired and extended stage.
      Main Street Grants is a program of the National Life Group Foundation and the Vermont Community Foundation. The other grants ranged from a $5,500 historical walking tour in Barre to $25,000 to remake the former Twin Valley High School in Wilmington into the Old School Enrichment Community Center. Click here for more info.
      There were applications for 29 different projects across the state. National Life and the Preservation Trust of Vermont analyzed the projects. In addition to contributing toward the grants, the Vermont Community Foundation has examined all of the projects to find which might qualify for additional funding in the future.


     President Trump signed the $1.3 trillion spending bill into law on Friday.
      The new budget funds the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) each at $152.8 million. This is a funding increase of $3 million to support more direct grants and expand access to creative arts therapies for the military.
      NEA grant money is distributed to all 50 states and U.S. territories; 65 percent of NEA grants goes to small and medium-sized organizations.

CLICK HERE: ART SITE OF THE MONTH has moved to because an exciting new program is gearing up.
ArtBits News Photo

      WNET, New York's public media station, is developing a new multiplatform media network called ALL ARTS. Our All Arts Council of Franklin County would certainly get a lot of visitors when WNET goes live, but that's not our audience. WNET has purchased and we have moved to so that both audiences avoid confusion when they launch online this spring.
      Here's the deal: you'll find the new program at our old address. You'll find the All Arts Council of Franklin County here at Bear with us as we get all the links to work -- and email the All Arts Council if you find one that doesn't.


      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
Franklin County Regional
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 © 2018 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.