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derby Vermont arts and Crafts fair

Dailey Memorial Library’s Christmas Arts and Crafts Fair a Success

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby/News

DERBY — “Looking to the future while preserving the past.” These are the words guiding the capital campaign for the expansion project of the Dailey Memorial Library. With some of the proceeds from this years Christmas Arts and Crafts Fair going toward the expansion project, Saturday’s event both looked toward the future of the library, while preserving the past, marking the 22nd time that the annual event has taken place.

1 derby Vermont arts and Crafts fairInside the gymnasiums of North Country Junior High, visitors were treated to an eclectic mix of products that showcased the rich tradition of arts and crafts throughout the region. There were 33 vendors involved this year, selling a range of products.

Riley Brooks, of B3 Balsam, brought out a line of products made from ground up balsam firs. The pleasing smell of the soft, fir stuffed pillows, were a popular seller Saturday morning. According to Mr. Brooks, the fir scent of the pillows will last for many years.

“We were at a craft expo when we found Maine Balsam Fir Company, the supplier who we buy our dried firs from,” Mr. Brooks said. “We bought a pound that night, and since we had a fir pillow that was 16 years old and still smelled nice, we decided to try and make our own. B3 Balsam started that night using a 1940 Singer Straight Stitch machine.”

Mr. Wambach, from Nic & Wambach Creative Arts based out of Red Hook New York, said he visits his sister once a month in Vermont, and enjoys drawing the state’s picturesque scenes. His display showcased some of these works.

derby Vermont arts and Crafts fair 1“I enjoy the beauty of Vermont, and it’s a place with a phenomenal amount of history,” he said.

One of his favorite Vermont scenes to draw are covered bridges.

I plan to do as many of the covered bridges as I can. There are 138 in the Northeast Kingdom, and I’d like to draw all of them,” he said.

His work can be found at the East Side gift shop, or visit them online.

Richard and Vera Long, of Long Branch Wooden Bowls, brought out their entire inventory of wood turned bowels.

To make the bowls, the couple haul the logs in from their property in Holland. It takes about ten to twelve months for each piece to be finished. Mr. Long starts with a rough cut, then shelves and dates each piece. Once dry, they are put back on the lathe for a final shaping. The bowls are finished in walnut oil and beeswax.

IMG_9293“I hand sign each piece with a wood burning tool,” Vera Long said. “Because they are heirloom gifts, many customers want them for a wedding present. I put the name of the couple with the date they were married on the back.”

Jim Hutchins, of Hutch and Ricka Custom Leather Carving, displayed an assortment of handcrafted leather and hardwood items made in Newport Center. A sign which read, “little hands welcome to touch,” was posted above the display, encouraging the curiosity of the many children who came out Saturday. Their work is part of the Wooden Horse Arts Guild, and can be viewed online.

Kimberly Covert, from Covert Essentials of Enosburg Falls, was busy selling personal care products. She started her own line of products after working for an all natural skin care company in New York. Covert Essentials started making soap, but has evolved into much more.

Her biggest seller has been her deodorant products.

IMG_9265 (2)“I wanted a natural deodorant that actually works,” she said. “Using a combination of organic coconut oil and beeswax forms a nice barrier, and combined with some powder, keep you dry for a really long time.”

Her products can be found in Stowe, but should soon be available in the Newport area.

Saturday’s craft fair lasted until 2 p.m. Although the event draws many people every year, this year was especially steady. The money raised will go to the operating fund of the Daily Memorial Library, as well as the capital campaign for the expansion project.

To see a video of what the new library will look like, please watch the video below.

Newly Formed Piano Sextet Will Play Friday Nov. 22 at MAC

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

photPiano Sextet Newport Area Community Orchestra

NEWPORT – The newly formed Newport Area Community Orchestra Piano Sextet will be performing at the Memphremagog Arts Collaborative on Friday, November 22nd from 5-7 p.m. for their annual Holiday Reception.

The group will be playing a variety of music including traditional Christmas carols.

The members are from left to right: Ken Michelli, Mark Violette, Linda Aiken, Lynn Perry, Howie Arzt, and Chris Maginniss.

The Vermont Movie: Exploring the Identity of Vermont

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — Part three of Freedom and Unity: The Vermont Movie, a six-part collaborative documentary exploring Vermont’s history and culture, was screened Wednesday night at the Gateway Center in Newport. The episode, titled Refuge, Reinvention, and Revolution, explored the back-to-the-land and activist communities that sprung up in the state during the sixties and seventies. A discussion took place afterward, led by Dorothy Tod and Kate Cone, two of the filmmakers who worked on the film.

The Vermont Movie is much more than a historical documentary. For one thing, it is thematic, rather than chronological. History is used to measure and organize the story, but, history is only one of many tools the film uses to explore the identity and character of Vermont.

The film looks at identity as a process of change, always in a state of flux and trying to work itself out. It also demonstrates how the collective consciousness of the present is only the latest in a series of changes taking place over time.

Episode three focused on how the social turmoil that the country experienced during the sixties, paved the way for a counter-culture migration into the state. Many communal living experiments were established, with the state’s natural serenity providing the perfect opportunity for the refuge, reinvention, and revolution, the episode takes its title from.

The characters appearing in part three are as much individuals, as they are representatives of the collective identity of the state. As the episode follows these “hippie” communes, emotionally, the viewer is drawn into the universal search for home, and what it takes to secure that place once it is found. The idealism that might bring one to a place like Vermont is quickly countered with the reality of what it takes to adapt to its unique environment.

“The film is as much about emotional history, and cultural history, than anything else,” Phil White said following Wednesday’s screening. “

The film also makes one ponder what it is about Vermont that makes it so special.

“It’s also just fun to reflect on why we love Vermont. For so many people Vermont is a home of choice. What is it about Vermont that is so appealing? If you were born here, or moved here, it feels like home,” Mr. White went on to say.

“It’s important to have another view of the identity of Vermont,” filmmaker Kate Cone, said. “We know what we think Vermont is, but the film offers a wide range of new ideas, connections, and links about events in history that people might not know about.”

For filmmaker Dorothy Tod, episode three allowed her to reflect on the theory behind the filmmaking process that brought about The Vermont Movie.

“Freedom and Unity, which is part of the name of the film, became a way to describe how we as filmmakers worked,” she said. “I didn’t grow up on a commune, but I grew up on the edge of one, and had neighbors and friends who had been part of one. It always made me a little nervous to have that degree of freedom.”

Episode four will be screened next Wednesday at the Emory Hebard State Office Building in Newport. The episode title is “Doers & Shapers.”

The film is an important study of the history and identity of Vermont, and should not be missed. For more information, visit the film on the web at TheVermontMovie.Com or watch the trailer below:

Senior Living in Straw Bale Home: Holland, Vermont

in Arts and Entertainment/Holland

Photos by Tanya Mueller

HOLLAND — With straw bale walls, enclosed in a lime, clay, straw plaster that was mixed on site, it’s not exactly what comes to mind when you think of a senior living facility.

As interest in alternative building methods increases, and the stereotypes that surround Earth-based construction break down, the straw bale structure sitting in Holland, Vermont, is pioneering its way into the future. It is the only straw bale senior living home in the United States.

IMG_9128A little over two months after welcoming in its first residents, the building is gearing up for its first heating season. With heavy winds common at the location, and freezing temperatures on the horizon across the area, the 1900 square foot structure is well equipped to face whatever challenges winter has in store.

The building is a fortress of thermal insulation. The wall structure of the post and beam frame consists of 18 inch wide straw bales. The bales, which sit on a two-foot-high pony wall that forms a base to keep them off the foundation, have an R-value insulation rating of 28. The pony wall is stuffed with super insulated cellulose, with an R-value of 55. The roof also incorporates super insulated cellulose material, and the frost-protected concrete slab that the structure sits on is insulated from underneath, as well as along the sides.

Radiant heat lines run throughout the concrete slab and heat the building. An extremely efficient propane-fired condensing broiler provides a continuous loop of hot water through the lines, allowing a consistent temperature to be easily maintained.

IMG_9120The building consists of two 600 square foot single bedroom senior housing units, with a communal space between them. There is an entry porch, as well as two south-facing porches for each unit. Since it is an independent living facility, the communal space houses an energy efficient washer and drier, which residents share.

Energy efficiency is a theme throughout the house. Currently, the home is set to become the first straw bale building to be awarded certification from Efficiency Vermont as a Vermont Energy Star Home.

The project, managed by Rural Edge, along with general contractor Lee Cooper of Back 2 Basics Builders, began last spring. The frame and roof were up by fall, then wrapped for the winter to keep it dry. The straw bale walls went up in the spring of this year, with everything finished by September.

Evelyn Page, who is now deceased, was one of the oldest living residents in the area. When her husband passed away, she wanted to leave a legacy, so she donated 7 acres, and funded the project. Her only request was that it provide housing for local residents of Holland. Unfortunately, she did not survive to see the finished home, but she did get to see the walls going up.

So, what are the drawbacks to building with straw bales? Uncontrolled moisture is the biggest challenge straw bale structures face. The architects who worked on the project had to reduce exposure to wind-driven rain and snow. The problem was addressed with extensive roof overhangs designed to move water away from the plaster and stucco walls.

This winter will be the ultimate test of the building. So far residents are comfortable and enjoying the opportunity to be a part of such a unique project.

IMG_9158

Newport Area Community Orchestra Tuning Up For Fall Concert

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Newport

DERBY LINE — Inside the social hall of the First Universalist Parish in Derby Line, the atonal sounds of violinists and cello players warming up, echos off the walls. String bass player Jessica Griffen staggers in under the weight of her instrument. Once the orchestra has set up, music director Ken Michelli stands facing the musicians, ready to lead them into their first score.

NACO 1“Remember to be real secure with the entrances,” Michelli advises.

Over the next hour and a half, the Newport Area Community Orchestra, or NACO, as they are known, will rehearse for their upcoming concert at the Goodrich Memorial Library in Newport.

With Mr. Michelli conducting, the orchestra ran through its repertoire. Although only a rehearsal, members of the orchestra played with intensity, and as the night progressed, Mr. Michelli had a lot to be excited about.

“This might be our best concert yet,” Mr. Michelli said to the group following rehearsal Tuesday night. “It happens every year at about this time, that things really start to click. Each year we continue to improve.”

Not only does the orchestra continue to improve, but they continue to grow as well. In their third season as an ensemble, the number of musicians involved has grown rapidly.

“We started with five members, but now we’re up to about thirty,” Michelli said.

NACO 2As members of the orchestra packed up their instruments, they were noticeably pleased with the way they are playing together. There was a sense of excitement in the room, with members realizing that NACO is maturing into a fine orchestra.

“I’ve been with this orchestra since its inception, and each year it just keeps getting better,” flute player Sue Brassett said.

Marc Semprebon, a horn player from Beebe Plain, expressed his appreciation of having a space like the hall of the First Universalist Parish to rehearse in.

“It’s nice to rehearse in this building because it’s big, and usually much louder than the places we will actually play,” he said. “It’s just a great building.”

Besides performing at various local venues throughout the year, the Newport Area Community Orchestra presents three annual concerts. They play once in the spring, and twice in the fall, with one fall concert done to raise money for the Haskell Opera House.

NACO4NACO’s fall concert at the Goodrich Memorial Library is Saturday, November 9, at 1 p.m. Admission will be free, however, to help support the orchestra’s efforts of bringing classical music to the Northeast Kingdom, a $5 donation at the door is asked.

The group serves the student communities of North Country Union High School, Lake Region Union High School, United Christian Academy, and Stanstead Academy. Students are encouraged to join.

Dancing in the Aisles at Derby Line Village Hall

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line

DERBY LINE — Over 80 people filled the Derby Line Village Hall for a night of old-timey music and dancing. The 4th Friday Music Jam is an ongoing event which has been taking place in Derby Line for 11 years now.

Jimmy Edwards kept the room thumping with his electric bass throughout the night. He later sang Willie Nelson’s, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.” As many as five acoustic guitars strummed along throughout the night as the band of musicians entertained those in attendance.Derby Line Village Hall Music

The jam is more about the camaraderie of everyone involved, than showcasing anyone in particular, or the musical ability they possess. With so many different musicians on hand, each calling out a new tune to play, sometimes it can take a whole song before the group finds the groove.

“Well, we figured it out by that last note,” one guitar picker said jokingly to the other players behind Mr. Edwards on lead vocal.

Besides bringing people in the community together for a night of fun and music, the event is also run for charity. Each year, the group raises money to provide music and auto tech scholarships to students from Lake Region Union High School and North Country Union High School.

On a sad note, Pauline Marsden, 63, of Island Pond, who was recently killed in a car accident in Morgan on Wednesday, was a regular at the event. A sympathy card was organized as a way for people who knew Ms. Marsden to offer their condolences to her family.

“We’re passing around a card for people to sign for her family because Pauline and her three sisters used to love coming out to the jam,” Kitty McIntyre said.

Kitty and her husband Jim have been organizing the event for the past six years.

Vermont musician Seth Yacovone played Thursday night at Parker Pie.

An Amazing Night of Music at Parker Pie with Seth Yacovone

in Arts and Entertainment/Glover

WEST GLOVER — A dusting of snow sits on the cars parked outside Parker Pie. It’s cold, and everyone is reminded of winter. Inside, it’s warm, and people sit around sipping beer or wine, feasting on what is arguably the best pizza around. A soulful voice fittingly sings Bob Dylan’s, “Girl from the North Country.” The chatter has quieted, and everyone in the room hangs on to every note of the acoustic guitar, and every word of the song.

“If you go when the snowflakes storm, when the rivers freeze and summer ends,” the musician sings.

Seth Yacavone held the crowd's attention at Parker Pie on Thursday night.
Seth Yacavone held the crowd’s attention at Parker Pie on Thursday night. Photos by Tanya Mueller.
On the television, the Boston Red Sox are loosing to the Cardinals in Game 2 of the World Series, but people in the room are more interested in the musician as he continues his set. A bearded man walks around collecting tips for the musician inside an empty plastic beer pitcher.

The musician is Seth Yacovone, and to say that he is talented is an understatement. Mr. Yacovone has talent, but he has more than that. Gifted is a better way to describe him, and it’s a gift he shared with everyone at Parker Pie on Thursday night.

“My music varies a lot, depending on if I’m playing electric or acoustic. What I play is essentially a mixture of American music, from over the last fifty, sixty, or seventy years,” Yacovone said.

After already experiencing national recognition and success, Yacovone, who lives in Morrisville, is starting a new phase in his career.

At age 34, he has already accomplished things other musicians would envy.

When only 19 years old, he was invited to play with Vermont jam band Phish, in front of a crowd of 18,000 at the Worcester Centrum, in Massachusetts. Afterward, his band, the Seth Yacovone Band (SYB), opened for such acts as Ray Charles, Johnny Winter, Trey Anastasio Band, and BB King.

When asked how his sit in with Phish came about, he modestly recalled the experience.

“It came about very spur of the moment. They called me two days before it happened, so it wasn’t like I knew ahead of time or anything. It was crazy.”

After the success of the SYB, not to mention a grueling touring schedule, Yacovone decided to end the band in order to regroup, and push himself creatively into new territory. It was a decision that was good for him as a musician, and good for the people of Vermont.

1SYB4He used his time of hiatus from the SYB to tour his home state, playing solo acoustic shows. Although he has now put together a few new electric trios, he still plays solo acoustic shows like the one yesterday at Parker Pie.

“When I’m playing solo, I tend to do about every other song as one that someone else wrote.”

With Yacovone’s originals as good as they are, nobody would have minded hearing an entire set of his own music. Except, for his version of “Girl from the North Country,” which, Thursday night at Parker Pie, was perfect.

For more information and tour dates for Seth Yacovone and the SYB, visit his website at: SethYacovone.Com

As most people in Orleans County know, Parker Pie has a great menu, and wonderfully fresh pizza. Thursday is music night, and there is no cover charge.

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