ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 25 * * All Arts News On the Web * * January 14, 2021


      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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      Vermont saw the highest volume of out-of-state visitors to the state over the holidays since the pandemic began. Cases followed the swell of travelers to the state. An outbreak of 80 coronavirus cases is linked to Victory Baptist Church in Vergennes. Surveillance testing in the state’s K-12 schools continues to show low levels of the virus. The state has reported more cases in the last five days than in May, June, July, August and September combined.
      As of last week, the state has received about 30,000 doses of vaccine. About 21,000 Vermonters have been vaccinated, or some 2% of the state's eligible population. Vermont ranks second in the country in doses distributed per capita people and fourth in doses given.
      It is crucial to stick with the plan as the number of new COVID-19 cases in Vermont continues to rise.
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 last Sunday, the Vermont Dashboard showed a total of 8,790 cases, up from a reported 7,793 last week. There have been 156 deaths (1.8% of cases). The seven-day average test positivity rate has trended back down to 2.5% (after hitting a high of 2.9%) but remains the lowest in the nation. CDC reported 1,029 new cases this past week although HealthVermont reported only 159 new cases. The state's arithmetic still does not add up; it is an interesting, and ongoing, disparity. Franklin County had three new cases this week, 111 in the last two weeks.
      277,260 people (up to 44.4% of the Vermont population) have been tested a total of 752,906 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.

      Twiggs (Dave Miller played Saturday) and other restaurants are offering some 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 here will 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 going into the new 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.


     One of the biggest challenges facing local musicians has always been making a living. It has been even harder in the past year. Live shows, one of the bigger paydays for local performers, largely evaporated last year and there aren't many on the calendars for this year yet. CD sales continue to drop but they are a revenue generator for many local musicians. Digital downloads are also decreasing because the streaming platforms are rising. Still, CDs and digital downloads remain a source of revenue.
      Streaming plus live performances made up the majority of artist revenues until the pandemic. Going into 2020, streaming accounted for about 30% of income for independent artists. It was a larger percentage of a smaller income last year.
      Payouts from streaming are individually tiny but there are a lot of possible sources and they can add up to a significant revenue source for some. Streaming revenue comes from platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, or Deezer. Selling a download on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, etc triggers download revenue. Monetization of social media; mechanical royalties for the reproduction of a composition as the publisher (particularly hand for the songwriter also acting as your own label); performance royalties also owed to publishers and songwriters for publishing; and non-interactive streaming royalties from streams such as Pandora all add fractions of pennies per song to the wallet.
      And they all start with a song. A recorded song.
      West Street Digital is an active recording studio with projects ongoing even with pandemic precautions. Since performers now need to make more of their income from recorded or product sales, this an interesting story at a time when artists have little income from live work.
      "We've never been busier with a diverse catalog of artists and projects," Andre Maquera said. They have "lots of local talent." Ben Patton released two CDs (and streams). Mike Kelley's project, Jac Cadillac released their CD, Violetta on the Matamoros Bridge. Julia Parent, 15, has been working on her CD. Patrick Murphy's new solo project, is out. The BayRats (Samuel Bombard, Jared Kenyon, Eric Godin, and Cameron Young) are working on their debut album. Ashes of Karma (AOK), Emerther, and Mushroom Teeth are working. Rockin Ron the Friendly Pirate has more fun tunes for kids of all ages.
      In the Rock department, the Conniption Fits released their latest CD, This Useless Thred. Summer Sounds favorite Ry Malroux wrapped up his Haler Soul CD; Boca Raton transplant Sara Ann is working on her CD and a new Lyraka project is in the works.
      Rising Country star Jacob Rice has made the move to Nashville; he continues to collaborate on new songs with Mr. Maquera.
      In the Hip-Hop genre, A2VT, ROD, Real Ova Deceit, and Joe Hardy are completing projects.
      West Street has also been busy producing and adding guitar tracks to an all-star project with pianist-composer-photographer Heidi Osgood-Metcalf featuring Tony Levin of Peter Gabriel, King Crimson, and Pink Floyd on bass, Matt Musty of Train and Grace Potter on drums, and Mr. Maquera of 8084 on guitar. She composes for the APM Music/MPATH family.
      Recording is not just for music. Dr. Lynda Ulrich recorded her book, Happiness is an Option for Audible.
      At a time when live performance can be hard to do safely, studio work can be done individually and easily. It shows how artist creativity actually works.


     Fairfield artist  Gail Salzman has two new online painting classes this winter, Portrait Painting and Still Life, through BCA's Home Studio program again. The four-week classes will take place on Zoom.
      "In meantime, why not advance your skills and warm up winter by celebrating the art of color and form right in your own home studio." Ms. Salzman will coach, demonstrate, support, and give feedback to a small number of participants each week. All materials needed are provided in a take-home kit.
      Portrait Painting will take place on four Tuesdays, January 19 - February 9 at 1 - 3 p.m. Explore the unique structure of the human head and face, gain confidence in portrait painting, and build painting skills. With emphasis on facial planes and strong value contrast, this intro to portraits includes eight hours of instruction. All the materials you will need are in the kit, including panel, water soluble oil paints and brushes. Previous drawing and oil painting experience is recommended; access to a computer or tablet with downloaded Zoom app and reliable internet connection are necessary. The tuition is $200 or $180 for BCA members. Click here for more info and online registration.
      Still-Life will take place on four Tuesdays, February 16 - March 9 at 1 - 3 p.m. Create dynamic compositions with vibrant color, using contemporary still-life as the subject. Find beauty and personal meaning in common household objects. Build painting skills with eight hours of instruction. All the materials you will need are in a kit, including panel, water soluble oil paints and brushes. Previous drawing and oil painting experience is recommended; access to a computer or tablet with downloaded Zoom app and reliable internet connection are necessary. The tuition is $200 or $180 for BCA members. Click here for more info and online registration.

MILTON--The Milton Artists' Guild new Virtual Social Sunday Program has free art kits and online instruction available for reservation each week, free to all families, for pick up at the gallery. Videos will be added each week for instruction. click here for more info.
      The MAG online shop is open 24/7 and the gallery itself is open today, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed tomorrow.

MORRISVILLE--River Arts hosts an In-Person Tapestry Workshop on Friday at 5:30 p.m.
      Jayne Allister guides the project to create a tapestry square for the upcoming tapestry exhibit. Materials will be provided and Ms. Allister will "share inspiration for depicting what has brought joy to our lives during this strange time in history." Every participant can create up to three tapestry squares that will be installed and exhibited around town starting in March.
      Admission is by donation. Space is very limited to accommodate social distancing. Click here for more info.


     Peter Gould, founder of the Get Thee to the Funnery Shakespeare camp, and young actors in Vermont and Mumbai for the world premiere of their streaming film Qualities of 'Mercy?' on the Vermont Humanities Digital Channels this evening at 7 p.m.
      The camp used Shakespear's Merchant of Venice to confront prejudice and hate speech, deal with the lockdown, and examine the Black Lives Matter movement.
      The VHC screening will be offered online only, at Vermont Humanities Zoom. Advance registration is required for these events; registration is free. Email Gina Robinson for more info.


Saturday, January 16
ST. ALBANS--Twiggs presented Dave Miller last Saturday and may have a new act this Saturday at about 7 p.m. Reservations are necessary.
      These are free events without tickets. Beware. A scammer on Twiggs Facebook event page posted an offer to sell his  "tickets" to the Dave Miller evening.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.


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

Thursday, January 14
      The Frost Jazz Hour UM presents Mackenzie Karbon on vibraphone and Jordan Rattner on guitar on Facebook today at 11 a.m.
      The University of Miami Jazz Department broadcasts live from WDNA 88.9 FM studios every Thursday at 11 a.m.
      Admission is free. Anyone on or off Facebook is invited.

Friday, January 15
      Summer Sounds favorite John Bartus' Perpetual Island Tour will perform Social Distancing Concert 43, Live from the Florida Keys, thanks to Facebook Live at about 7:30 p.m. Find him on Facebook for the watch party.
      Mr. Bartus "assumed the position" for Social Distancing Concert 42 live from his studio on Facebook.

      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.

Tuesday, January 19
      Great Music in a Great Space--Cathedral of St. John the Divine--presents Raymond Nagem, organ, in Tuesdays at 6 live on Facebook on Tuesday. The program includes Edward Elgar, Georg Böhm, William Bolcom, Herbert Sumsion, and Max Reger.
      The Cathedral Choir, Choristers and Orchestra performed Jesus Christ the Apple Tree by Elizabeth Poston on Facebook for their December 24 Festival.
      The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine is the Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. The 2021 concerts are streamed on Facebook every Tuesday at 6 p.m.

      Summer Sounds favorite Mark Shelton played up his Cosmic Connection last Tuesday on Facebook and sang an 86th Elvis birthday tribute (with a few audio issues) on Facebook on Friday night.
      Follow him on Facebook for a link to this week's offerings.


      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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