ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 22 * * All Arts News On the Web * * December 27, 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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      2018 was another busy year in the arts. We've had so many events every month that it has taken two weeks to summarize them. This is Part Two but, first, the look at what's happening now.


SWANTON--The Swanton Arts Council Writer's Group will meet at the Swanton Free Public Library this evening at 6 p.m. Members can share progress and join in the discussion about longer projects and anything else about writing, reading, publishing, and more.
      Call Becky Rupp (802.733.7471) or email for more info.


BURLINGTON--The Young Tradition Touring Group will perform at the Bishop Booth Conference Center this evening at 7 p.m. The concert will feature artist leaders, youth leaders, and members of the 2018-19 Touring Group. This is the first public performance of material the group has been working on since September.
      Admission is by suggested donation $15. All contributions are dedicated to costs associated with the group's 2019 rehearsals and performances in Vermont and in metro New York/New Jersey in April.
      The new Young Tradition CD Friends and Neighbors is available now. The fundraising project supports the annual trip. The CD includes contributed tracks "from folks we have encountered on our travels." CDs cost $10 each and are available from group members or at performances. email for more info.

ST. ALBANS--The Bayside Pavilion presents Too Much live at Bayside on Friday at 6 p.m. It's live music in the pub.

ST. ALBANS--St. Mary's Parish hosts Family Christmas Ball '18 on Friday at 7 p.m.
      The semi-formal, family oriented dance "has been brought to us from generation to generation, becoming a tradition that we gladly would like to share with ALL of your families and friends." Basic steps will be taught so no experience is needed. Bring a snack to share.
      Admission is free and donations are greatly appreciated. (Suggestion per person: $5 or $20 per family.) After expenses the proceeds will go to support scholarship(s) to the Life is Precious Trip in Washington DC.

ST. ALBANS--Twiggs presents Cooper and Lavoie on Friday with a special time beginning at 5:30 p.m. and the Dale and Darcy Band on Saturday at the usual 7 p.m.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.

ENOSBURG--The Opera House at Enosburg Falls holds Silver & Gold on Saturday at 7 p.m. The annual Cabaret-style fundraiser features local performers. There will be light fare and a cash bar.
      Admission is $15 for adults or $12 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at the door on the night of the performance or Click here .

ESSEX JUNCTION--On Tap offers local legends Cooper and Lavoie (the Balladeer and Bluesman) on Saturday at 5 p.m. followed by the Growlers at 9.
      On Tap has music on Tuesday through Saturday nights. Call 802.878.3309 or email for more info.

BURLINGTON--A bonfire, music, art, ice, a parade, and more take over the Queen City for Highlight, the new citywide New Year’s Eve celebration on Monday with some events starting at noon and continuing into 2019.
      Highlight will take place in some of the same venues as First Night but also in the Old North End, the South End, the Waterfront, and Downtown with fireworks, performances by Circus Smirkus, the Moth Story slam, a concert by Vermont singer-songwriter Anais Mitchell, creator of the Broadway-bound musical Hadestown, Cirque De Fuego to keep you warm, and a list of "bottom-up programming."
      Click here for schedules, glow-in-the-dark Highlight bracelets, and more info.

ST. JOHNSBURY--The 26th First Night North has about 250 artists in 83 performances at 13 buildings with 18 venues all taking place in just eight hours today. First Night North St. J starts at 4 p.m. and continues right through midnight with intense fireworks in the first 20 minutes of 2019.
      A number of performers here are from Franklin County or are local favorites, too, including Summer Sounds performers Bob Amos & Catamount Crossing, Annie and the Hedonists, Cooie and Skip, Jon Gailmor, The Hitmen, Tim Jennings, No Strings Marionette Co., Sky Blue Boys and Cookie, and finally ... Fireworks at midnight.
      The ArtsConnect Juried Show takes over the Catamount Arts Main Gallery.
      All indoor events require a button, $20 adult or $12 student, and there is a special $26 commemorative. Buttons are available at the Catamount Arts Center, by phone (802.748.2600), or click here to buy and for more info.
      The First Night St. J shuttle bus will run in 15 minute loops and there will be bus signs posted.

ST. ALBANS--The Last Night festivities get going on Monday at 4:30 p.m. with snowman making to ice skating, to a teen dance, to the Last Night gala, and plenty in between. It's a one-night-only party in the Railroad City.
      The family event includes a Carnival at the Bliss at 4 p.m. Comedy Improv offers the BFA Comedy Troupe at The Grind and an Artist Scavenger Hunt at the Artist in Residence Gallery, both at 5 p.m. The free Beer and Cheese Pairing with award-winning artisanal cheeses from Boston Post Dairy at 14th Star starts at 5:30. New York comedian Mike Finoia at Nelly's at 6 p.m. Taylor Park hosts fireworks at 8 p.m. "Disco skating" at the Collins Perley Sports Complex at 7-9 p.m. Live music by Cozy O'Donnell at the City Hall gala from 9 p.m. - 2 a.m. Formal attire, of course.
      Most events are free with an event button. Last Night buttons cost $5. Gala admission is $20.
      Click here for more info.

SHELDON--The Abbey hosts a Spectacular New Year Celebration Gala with the Supersounds DJ, unlimited buffet, and a midnight buffet, all on Monday starting at 8 p.m.
      David writes, "After some wonderful reminiscing this past weekend over the incredible year we've had here around The Abbey, we have decided to give back to you all and host our New Years Eve Party for FREE!" Find them on Facebook for more info.

ST. ALBANS--Twiggs has Chris and Erica with special New Year's ballads on Monday from 8 - 10:30 p.m. Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.

ST. ALBANS--Green Mountain Post #1 hosts New Years Dinner-Dance at the Legion with the Nobby Reed Project with the music starting at 8 p.m.
      Tickets are $35 with a Prime Rib Dinner or $32 for the Chicken Dinner.

STOWE--Will Patton will play in the New Year on the big bass with Lar Duggan on piano doing the Great American Songbook at Trapp Family Lodge on Monday starting at 9 p.m.

ST. ALBANS--Nelly's justifies it all with a New Years Eve Bash with Justice on Monday starting at 9:30 p.m.
      "There is no better place in St Albans to ring in the New Year than right here." The live entertainment cover is $5 and no tickets needed.


     Franklin County artists and presenters had a busy 2018. This week, we wrap up with what the Arts Councils and the Other Major Presenters did.

      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. We began when Mark Shelton returned as Elvis and more. We introduced Northern Flyer, brought back Anderson Gram, Dr. Jazz and the Dixie Hotshots, and the Hokum Bros. Band. New to us, Clare Byrne was our Summer Sounds Surprise and we wrapped up the season with a rip-snorting performance by Jimmy T and the Cobras.
      The concerts in this 28th 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.

      St. Albans Community Arts is a City presenter and promoter of arts events in St. Albans. They held a "SACA Restart Organizational Meeting" last March and have wrapped up the 2nd Friday Dance Socials. This year, they have produced the Winter Blues Arts Festival, the Downtown Summer Concerts, the Festival of Trees, and more.

      Swanton Arts Council works to build an artistic presence and develop the artistic community in Swanton. This year, they have produced the Spring Craft Show, Edwin M. Church Award, Plein Air Painting, the Swanton Arts Spectacular, Swanton Writers' Group, the Art Journaling Group, a Sidewalk Chalk Day, live entertainment, workshops, the Anxiety Group Art Show, the Handmade Holiday Craft Show and much more.

      The Artist In Residence Gallery in St. Albans featured dozens of northern Vermont fine artists with a focus on up to four different artists each month. The art cooperative features paintings, fiber arts, stained glass, sculpture, lamps, pottery, folk art boxes, scarves, hats, and more, and is owned and operated by the artists and sponsors.
      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 continued solo shows of the work of area artists. The students of Kathleen Berry Bergeron, painters El Towle, and Barbara Pafume, photographers Trine Wilson, Bob Degree, Sandra Ferland, David J. Griggs, Sharon Radtke, Eric Smith, and yr. obedient servant Richard B. Harper were 2018 exhibitors.
      The Village Frame Shoppe in St. Albans featured artists from across Vermont and New England. They hosted the annual Maple Festival Amateur Photo Contest and the Northern Vermont Artists' Association exhibit, and had promotions and shows for individual artists, and more.

      The BFA Performing Arts Center hosted Maple Festival concerts, the Places You Will Go, dance performances plus the Dance Works Academy Competition Showcase, the Spring Band Concert, an Instrumental Concert, the Choral Review Concert, the Jr. Jamboree, and Cardiac Capers.
      The Church Street Sounds of the Season concert series continued in the First Congregational Church of St. Albans with the Cerutti-Reid Duo, the VYOA Rug Concert, the Blue Rock Boys, and Saint Michael's College Choir this Fall.
      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls had a busy year. Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, Three One Acts, and Three Christmas Plays, all took the stage. They held Theater Camp and Rock Camp, craft shows, and Silver and Gold, the annual fundraiser held this Saturday. They had the Smokey Newfield Project, the Dairy Festival Scholarship Pageant, Mark Shelton's Night with Elvis benefit concert, Oklahoma!, the Old Man Garage Band, Neil Simon's Rumors, Boom City Improv, the Community Christmas Party and the Community Christmas Concert, the Best Christmas Pageant Ever, and, of course, Irma Catwomansky's full-length ballet, Maple Whipped Cream.
      First Night Burlington celebrated its 35th and final year of the citywide, substance-free party of nearly 100 stage shows, musical acts, and arts activities in 18 venues. The variety show disbanded because costs grew too high. A huge number of performers were either from Franklin County or were local favorites again this year including AmerikanaBlue, Michael Arnowitt, Cricket Blue, Electric Youth Dance Company, Myra Flynn, Jon Gailmor, Stephen Kiernan and his Large Guitars, Annemieke McLane, Prydein, the Sky Blue Boys with Carrie Cook, the Starlight Rhythm Boys, and Young Tradition Vermont with Addie Herbert plus an Instrument Petting Zoo.
      First Night North in St. Johnsbury celebrated 25 years of music with 250 artists in 100 performances. Performers were from Franklin County or are local favorites, too, including Summer Sounds favorites Bob Amos & Catamount Crossing, Nisht Geferlach Klezmer Band, and the No Strings Marionette Theater, plus Cooie and Skip, Marko the Magician, Village Harmony, and more.
      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 continuing with Bob Amos and Catamount Crossing, Mary McGinniss and The Selkies, Allen Church with The Return of Crazy Chase, the Austin Piazzolla Quintet, Michael Hurley and Darren Hanlon, Dana and Sue Robinson, Tim McKenzie & Friends, Social Band, Beg, Steal or Borrow, and the Oleo Romeos. Proceeds from the series help fund the restoration of the building.
      Summer Music at Grace opened the season before Memorial Day with Pete's Posse in the "the umpteenth annual" Farewell Reunion benefit concert plus Chasing 440, Village Harmony, Va et Vient, and David, Permelia, and Rebecca Sears.
      14th Star Brewing Company, the Bayside Pavilion, Mill River Brewing, and Twiggs competed to offer more music and art than any other Franklin County presenters. We won!


      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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