ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 24 * * All Arts News On the Web * * December 24, 2020


      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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      May your holidays be filled with friends and family and joy and the arts.


      The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines have received emergency use authorization and NMC delivered the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine on December 16, along with the first vaccinations administered in Franklin County. The emergency department's Dr. Marc Kutler was among the first to be vaccinated. "I feel blessed," he said. "I feel very fortunate about getting the vaccine. I've been waiting for this day to come. It's the beginning of turning things around."
      The Vermont Department of Health was allocated weekly shipments of 5,850 doses of the vaccine through the end of this month but received 975 fewer doses of the Pfizer vaccine than they were expecting this week. The state will still get all of the promised doses but it means they "won't be coming when we expected," said Health Commissioner Mark Levine.
      Health officials say that the number of COVID-19 cases in Vermont appears to have plateaued for now but it is crucial to stick with the plan over the upcoming holidays.
The next few weeks will be the hardest as we face the most dangerous time of the pandemic. With the vaccine "here," many want to resume normal social activities. Please don't let down your guard.
     The Vermont State of Emergency continues. All non-essential travel to and from the state requires quarantine. The Vermont statewide mask mandate remains in effect along with the ban on multi-household gatherings and the order to close bars and social clubs.
      As of Sunday, the Vermont Dashboard showed a total of 6,343 cases, up from a reported 5,753 last week. There have been 108 deaths (1.7% of cases). The seven-day average test positivity rate has remained high at 2.1%. CDC reported 702 new cases this past week although HealthVermont reported only 94  new cases. The state's arithmetic still does not add up; it is an interesting, and ongoing, disparity. Franklin County had 4 new cases this week, 138 in the last two weeks.
      250,371  people (up to 40.1% of the Vermont population) have been tested a total of 646,518 times, although that data comes with a crucial caveat:
A negative test result yesterday says nothing about an individual's health today.
We need a daily test that costs ten cents and gives results in ten minutes.
      The state has added to its contact tracing staff. A HealthVermont video, How Contact Tracing Slows the Spread of COVID-19, explains what contact tracers do. Click here for the YouTube video.

      Twiggs and other restaurants are offering live music while other artists and venues are doing more online. The Vermont Humanities Council has ongoing arts and literary digital events and programs including First Wednesdays and Vermont Reads. Although the activities may take place at a distance from Franklin County, they are available safely and locally online at

      Because I write this weekly column largely on Sundays, the infection rates reported may lag "live media" reports. Since it appears on Thursday and covers an entire week in the future, that also means events and happenings are likely to change with changing State mandates. Be sure to check with the organizers of any event for up-to-the-minute info.
      Although so many of our favorite activities won't happen this year, all the volunteers will stay as active as possible and this weekly column about the arts and entertainment around the region will continue to serve up live and almost live events and artists from around the region. Read all about it here every Thursday.


ST. ALBANS--The Artist In Residence Gallery Winter Holiday Store has gift cards, ornament trees, featured artists, and more available in the store or online.
      The Artist in Residence art cooperative features paintings, fiber arts, stained glass, sculpture, lamps, pottery, folk art boxes, scarves, hats and more by 40 Franklin County and surrounding area artists. It is owned and operated by the artists and sponsors. The gallery on South Main Street is open today, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed tomorrow. Click here or find them on Facebook for more info.

MILTON--The Milton Artists Guild Online Shopis open 24/7 and the gallery itself is open today, 10 a.m. to 4-ish. Closed tomorrow.
      There may be a MAG pop-up at the Guild on Saturday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. MAG's artist pop-ups will feature artists every Saturday with appropriate social distancing. "This way, we can support our artists, and create a special and fun weekend destination." Come and meet the artists on Saturdays, while the Guild is open. Cathy Laclair and Cathy Hartley were on tap last Saturday. Find them on Facebook for more info.


     In this installment of BCA's artist studio tours, the creative team of writer Eve O. Schaub and photographer Stephen Schaub invite viewers into their Pawlet, Vermont studio and outdoor exhibition for a brief tour of their large-scale, single- and multi-panel images and talk about their materials, collaborative process, and artistic plans, on YouTube. EveNSteve built Vermont's only drive-by art gallery in a hayfield. It is on River Road in Pawlet.
      Click here for more info.


     The Swanton Arts Council wants guests to record Recapping the Arts. Bring some pieces to talk about. "It's a great opportunity to show your work to BAJILLIONS of people via the internet," Marina Gagne wrote. Email or find them on Facebook for more info.


     Here's the roundup of virtual music and events for this week.

Thursday, December 24
      The Hudson Valley Philharmonic, New Paltz Ballet Theater, and the Bardavon present the Nutcracker, beginning this evening at 7 p.m. This marks the 22nd season the New Paltz Ballet Theater has presented dancers from the New York City Ballet with regional artists to Marie's dreams of the fierce battle between giant mice and toy soldiers and the magical journey through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets.
      The Bardavon 1869 Opera House, a 944-seat historic theater in Poughkeepsie, is currently closed due to COVID. It is the oldest continuously operating theater in NY State, one of the oldest in the country, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. HVP is the region's premiere orchestra. Find the event on Facebook for more details and the links and on YouTube for the show.

      The New York String Orchestra will be Live with Carnegie Hall on Facebook this evening at 7:30 p.m. The Orchestra has presented concerts with some of the country's most talented young musicians alongside celebrated guest artists every Christmas Eve for 50 years and have reimagined the holiday tradition for 2020.
      Revisit past performances and go behind the scenes with conductor Jaime Laredo (well known here in Vermont as the conductor and Music Director of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra) and frequent guest pianist Emanuel Ax as this year's performance goes online.

Christmas Day, Friday, December 25
      Summer Sounds favorite John Bartus' Perpetual Island Tour will perform Social Distancing Concert 40, Christmas Live from the Florida Keys, thanks to Facebook Live on Friday at about 7:30 p.m. Find him on Facebook for the watch party. He has a new single on the major download sites: Happy Holidays (My Own Damn Christmas Song).
      Social Distancing Concert 39 was live on Facebook last Friday.

      Andrew Lloyd Webber will stream his musicals in the free YouTube series, The Shows Must Go On, every Friday at 7 p.m. for 48 hours. A new show begins tomorrow. Clips of famous performances and behind-the-scenes footage also appear on the channel beside the full shows.
      Click here for Mr. Webber's YouTube channel for all the details and to subscribe.

      Eric Bushey wrote and produced Hopped Up On Nog, the new 2020 Holiday anthem with Mr. Bushey, vocals and guitar; Tom Gershwin, trumpet; Michael Bjella, horn arrangement and tenor sax; Justin Bedell, bass guitar; Nicola Cannizzaro, drums and sleigh bells.
      "All in fun," he said. "We came together to record our music and videos virtually and sing about this particular season." The video is on YouTube and the track can be purchased/streamed in "all the normal places."

      Roy Clark played the 12th Street Rag on YouTube.

      Jason Corbiere was live in Texas on Facebook

      Eleven had a little "Sumthin Sumthin" for everyone on Facebook on Tuesday at 11:11 a.m. Almost 1,100 people saw their "year in review" video on Facebook last week.

      The King's Singers sing The Rose by Amanda McBroom, filmed live at The Temple Church, London in March, 2019, on YouTube.

      Carlos Santana released a video of the Promised Land, Somewhere In Heaven on YouTube.

      Summer Sounds favorite Mark Shelton went live singing Christmas songs, Elvis hits and more in a benefit concert for The Tomorrow Fund on Facebook on Friday evening. The Tomorrow Fund provides daily financial and emotional support to children with cancer and their families treated at Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, RI. He sang Christmas and gospel songs on Facebook from the living room on Christmas Sunday.
      Follow him on Facebook for a link to this week's offerings.

      The Solaris Vocal Ensemble shared "a little holiday cheer with three videos full of joyous sights and sounds of the season" streamed at The Burlington-based choir of twenty-four to thirty singers includes AJ Banach, Claire Hungerford, and James Stewart.
      The first piece is a virtual choir video, Here We Come A-Wassailing, arranged by Solaris Artistic Director Dr. Dawn Willis. Wassailing became the modern tradition of "caroling," singing carols from door-to-door in hopes of an invitation to for a drink or dessert. That's on YouTube. Sing We Now of Christmas is on YouTube. Silent Night was arranged by Tedd Firth and Judith Clurman and is on YouTube.


     The Big Heavy World directory of Vermont-based musicians has become interactive and filterable by geography. The data is a community-driven project. There is also info about Big Heavy World's volunteer-driven mission to preserve and support Vermont-made music.
      Jim Lockridge is Executive Director of Big Heavy World, WOMM-LP 105.9FM The Radiator, and Chittenden Zone Agent for the Vermont Creative Network. Call him (802.373.2890) or email for more info.


      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


Links to the Summer Music series in Franklin County
Summer Sounds
Summer Music at Grace
Downtown Summer Concert Series
Summer Evenings with
Vermont Treasures
Citizens Band
Wednesday Night Live
Enosburg Town Band


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All Arts Council of Franklin County

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