ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 26 * * All Arts News On the Web * * December 22, 2022


      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 you all have a merry and blessed Christmas, happy Holidays, happy Kwanzaa, an honorable Zarathosht, and a belated Enlightened Bodhi Day, Hanukkah Sameach, and Saturnalian Modraniht. And stay safe.


      Americans can order four more free COVID tests through the mail again as part of the federal plan to deal with an increase in COVID cases sparked by indoor holiday gatherings. The tests can be ordered on and began to ship this week.
      The "perfect storm tridemic" continues growing around the country. The statewide surge in COVID hospitalizations comes amid a national rise in hospitalizations and case counts related to the virus
      Vermont's new overall COVID-19 cases rose to 436 statewide last week, down slightly from 444 the week before. Franklin County's case load stood at 76 cases in the 14 days ending Saturday, up from 73. COVID-19 infections remain at a "Low" level but are climbing quickly and influenza activity has risen to "moderate." CDC has warned that the flu, COVID, and RSV will continue to be a combined threat in the coming weeks.
      Because Vermont relies on self reporting, the number of actual cases is higher than the Department of Health finds. You can report self-test results by following instructions on your test kit to automatically provide your results to your local health department or with the Vermont COVID-19 Self-Test Result Reporting Form. If you test positive, stay home and isolate for five days or longer. You can leave your home on day six if your symptoms have improved and you have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of medicine that reduces fevers.
      Take an at-home test if you begin having symptoms like fever, sore throat, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell, or at least five days after you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19, or if you plan a get together with people who are at risk of severe disease or may not be up to date on their vaccines. Every home in the U.S. is again eligible to order a new round of free at-home tests from Need other tests? also has for links for at-home tests at retailers and pharmacies, insurance reimbursement for at-home tests, and the 20,000 no-cost antigen and PCR COVID-19 test sites nationwide. Most major chains including Walgreens and Price Chopper locally should have free N95 masks.
      People keep getting sick, mostly because they aren't taking precautions. Original COVID-19 vaccinations remain below the level of herd immunity, and even fewer have gotten boosters. Only about 60% of adults and eligible children have even received a flu vaccine.
      Whether you have contracted and recovered from this coronavirus or haven't yet received a booster or even if you have done it all, immunity has waned for many of us. That lowered resistance leads to infections and increased transmission of the virus. To date, only 28% of eligible Vermonters age 5 and over have gotten the bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine. Here's my own advice. Get the COVID shot(s), get the booster(s), and take precautions, particularly if you are inside with other people--that still means wearing a mask indoors.
      No vaccine is 100% foolproof. Wash your hands. Keep wearing an N95 mask where you can't control the airflow around you until we reach the same herd immunity we have for smallpox and once had but lost for measles because so many parents refused to vaccinate their kids. Bonus: it will also help protect you from pollen, summer colds, and the winter flu.
      Call 855.722.7878 or visit for more info about the first or second dose and for booster shots of the vaccine. You can also walk-in at Costco, CVS, Hannaford, Price Chopper/Market 32, Rite Aid, Shaw's, Walgreens, or Walmart, or get an appointment with CVS, Kinney Drugs, Walgreens, or UVMMC Outpatient Pharmacies. Providers and pharmacies must give vaccines at no cost to the patient.


WASHINGTON, CT--The new traveling exhibition Nebizun: Water Is Life has opened at the Institute for American Indian Studies. The collaboration of artwork by Abenaki artists of the Champlain Valley and the Connecticut River Valley, will be open through March, 2023. The exhibit is inspired by the grandmothers who have been doing water walks to pray for the water and the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. Vera Longtoe Sheehan, founding director of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, curated the show. Click here for more info about Nebizun and other exhibits.


ST. ALBANS--The Saint Albans Museum has paused all public-facing activities through February 1, 2023, to focus on ongoing work in our basement storage areas. They will not be addressing research requests, accepting artifact donations, or holding public events during this time, and there will be significant delays in responding to phone/email messages.


EAST FAIRFIELD--The Meeting House on the Green is working with Stephan Conrady to preserve an important piece of Fairfield's (and Vermont's) history, the 135-year-old Tracker pipe organ at the Meeting House.
      The Meeting House on the Green preservation began ten years ago. Thanks to fundraising efforts, generous donations from individuals and businesses, and grants from the Vermont Arts Council and the Preservation Trust of Vermont, they have replaced the heating system, repaired the bell tower, restored the windows, built an outdoor stage and wheelchair ramp, and painted the exterior of the building. Now they are "excited to have reached a point where we can now think about our little gem of an organ."
      Edward H. Smith built the Tracker pipe organ at the Meeting House on the Green. It was originally built for the First Congregational Church in Swanton but moved to East Fairfield in 1913. It is believed that Mr. Smith built and installed at least seven organs in northern New England, although none with his name plate survives. The Meeting House instrument is one of three Smith organs left in the state; the other two are in Hardwick and Bristol.
      Click here for more info and to donate to the project.


MILTON--Social Sundays continue at the Milton Artists' Guild Art Center with free weekly art classes for families at MAG on Sunday at 1 p.m. Each event offers a different project. Stay for 30 minutes or the whole two hours. Admission is free but registration is required. Click here for more info.


     Here's my own plan with over one million U.S. deaths and as our precautions wane. I got the COVID and Flu shots, and the booster, and I take precautions because no vaccine is 100% foolproof. I wash my hands. I double mask with a genuine N95 mask (not a bandana and not a "chin strap") and a surgical mask where ever I can't control the airflow. It isn't much of a burden and it mostly protects me from all the people without masks I see in stores and concerts.

Thursday, December 22
GEORGIA--Carol Ann Jones leads the Holiday Sing-Along at the Georgia Public Library this evening at 6:30 p.m.

ST. ALBANS--The Depot presents Jason Corbiere's Blue Christmas Bash with live music by Mr. Corbiere, Jim Branca, and Tom Buckley plus an open jam this evening at 9:30 p.m. This is a free admission 21+ event.

Friday, December 23
COLCHESTER--Blue Heron, the duo from St. Albans, plays the live and free Friday Music Nights at the Spanked Puppy on Friday at 6 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.

ST. ALBANS--14th Star goes Rockin' with the Cobras for a night of live music in The Room on Friday at 6 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.

SHELDON--The Abbey Friday Night Music Series may continue in the Pub on Friday at 6:30 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.

Friday-Saturday, December 23-24
ST. ALBANS--Twiggs often has shows on Friday and Saturday nights. Music starts about 6:30 p.m. Call 802.524.1405 or find them on Facebook for more info. Click here to book a reservation or to visit the art on the walls.

Wednesday, December 28
ST. ALBANS--Twiggs has a special pop-up Blues Jam, hosted by Vermont's leading blues man, Nobby Reed and the House Band, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Blues Jam blows out the speakers at Twiggs. Find them on Facebook for more info.


     Virtual music and earlier events continue this week.

      Episode 11--the Christmas Special--of the Markus Daniels Guitar Lounge web series features Summer Sounds favorite vocalist Mark Shelton and violinist Scott Campbell on Facebook . The Markus Daniels Band is the house band for the Markus Daniels Guitar Lounge in Newport.

      Blue Heron performed live at the Catalyst Coffee Bar in St Albans on Facebook.

      Former Davis Brother Angelo Mullen reminisced about Reflections by the Fraank Band on YouTube. "One of our originals--great home movies on Super 8, directed by the late John Lavery. Wow, what hair we had! Prog before they called it Prog!" he wrote.
      Reflections was written by Brennan Roy with Mr. Roy, keys, Rhodes, Moog, RMI; Jeff Boutilier, lead vocals, guitar; Mr. Mullen, bass; Jay Richland, drums; and David Abair, keys Hammond B-3, Clavinet, and Elka Strings. Joel Snyder did the lights, Paul Malaney, John Lavery, Dave Maynard crew. Mr. Lavery shot the super 8 movies and Mr. Abair edited to the audio which was recorded live at Starbuck Studio in Whitehall NY in 1974.
      Mr. Mullen had this to say about the Spoonfeather Band's Day To Day, also on YouTube: "The club scene in Vermont during the mid-late 70's was full of wonderful music. Bands performing original songs, creativity was king and the crowds loved it. One of the top bands was Spoonfeather out of Connecticut--Burlington was their second home and a couple of locals joined the band as they made their run. One of my favorite of their original songs showing off the breadth of talent... enjoy--burning solos, cool lyrics, and a vibe that won't stop."
      Day To Day was written by Robbie Georgia, lead vocals, lead guitar; with Jimmy Keyes, bass; Paul Opalach, piano; Richie Chaco, drums; and Dave Abair, Hammond B-3 organ. Mr. Abair wrote, "This was recorded on four tracks at Media Sound NYC in 1976. Engelbert Humperdinck was in the next room. We recorded eight tunes in one session. We cut the tracks live then redid the vocals."


      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
Music at the Meeting House
Citizens Concert Band
Enosburg Town Band


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All Arts Council of Franklin County

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