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New scholarship will honor iconic Irasburg writer

in Arts and Entertainment/Irasburg

IRASBURG — Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) and Phoenix Books, a Vermont-based independent bookseller, announced the creation of a new VCFA scholarship that honors late author Howard Frank Mosher.

Called the Phoenix Books Howard Frank Mosher Scholarship, the $10,000 award will be merit-based and given annually to an emerging fiction writer from Vermont in his or her first year of VCFA’s MFA in Writing & Publishing residential program.

The first scholarship will be awarded in the 2018-2019 school year.

Mosher, who lived in Irasburg, was the award-winning author of 13 books that mostly took place in and around Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. He passed away in January 2017 after a short illness. His last book, “Points North,” will be released this January.

“This scholarship is the perfect way to honor Howard’s memory,” said Mosher’s wife, Phillis Mosher. “He always tried to help new and upcoming writers by offering them advice, and often times encouraged them to pursue an MFA. He was also a champion of local bookstores. He used to say that independent booksellers were the ones that made him a success.”

Phoenix Books provided the gift and funding for the purpose of an annual MFA in Writing & Publishing scholarship, said VCFA President Thomas Christopher Greene.

“Howard was the first significant writer to support my own work many years ago and we became personal friends,” said Greene.No writer was better known in this state and among his peers for his generosity.”

Greene and poet Daniel Lusk, speaking on behalf of Phoenix Books, announced the scholarship’s creation during the third annual Vermont Book Award Gala held at VCFA on Sept. 23, 2017.

Mosher was a judge for the 2015 Vermont Book Award and this year’s gala was dedicated to him.

Jay gears up for second annual Oktoberfest celebration

in Arts and Entertainment/Jay/Outdoors

JAY — The town of Jay Community Recreational Centre and the Jay Focus Group are teaming up to bring on the fun at Jay Oktoberfest on Saturday, October 7.

Activities begin with a Pumpkin Pi(e) 3.14-kilometer race at the Jay Community Recreational Centre.

“This will be a wonderful celebration of fall,” said Peggy Loux, Jay Focus Group and select board member.

Registration is at 8:30 a.m., and the race start is at 9. Other activities include a pumpkin carving and decorating contest, as well as a chili-cooking contest.

From 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., kids and adults alike can play Oktoberfest games in downtown Jay, including pumpkin and gourd bowling, crabapple chip and putt, apple croquet, cornhole, candy corn toss, apple flingshot, small pumpkin launchers, and pumpkin trebuchet to name a few.

Lynx Mountain Guides will provide a Tyrolean adventure from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

All activities are in downtown Jay and games require tickets, which will be available for purchase at the event. There will also be over 20 vendors on site to show their wares.

The Jay Village Inn is hosting the band Neighbors Hate Us from 1 to 4 p.m. Oktoberfest food and drink specials will be on the menu.

Contest winners will be announced during the music in the afternoon.

Proceeds from the event go towards trail development and maintenance at the Jay Community Recreational Centre.

For more information, go to jayvt.com, or .

Fly to Pie and Kingdom Games to support American Red Cross disaster relief

in Arts and Entertainment/coventry/Glover/Outdoors

WEST GLOVER — On Sunday, October 8, Fly to Pie’s 6-mile run, bike, or hike from Irasburg to West Glover will be dedicated to supporting the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

The $25 fee for the walk, run, or bike will be dedicated in its entirety to the Red Cross.

Parker Pie is offering up all the pizza you can eat, with Hill Farmstead beer on tap. Music will be provided by Hardwick Granite.

Fly to Pie also offers 13.5, 17, and 26.2-mile distances for running and biking on dirt roads through “the gut” of the Northeast Kingdom, starting at Lakeview Aviation in Coventry and also ending at Parker Pie.

Normally, Kingdom Games donates a portion of its proceeds to local charities. However, organizers say this year it seems the right thing to do to support recovery efforts in Florida and Texas.

Runners and bikers are coming from California, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and around Vermont to savor the fall foliage, fine pizza, excellent beer on tap, and great music.

Online registration for all courses is open at www.kingdommarathon.com.

MAC photography exhibit features people of Chhattisgarh, India

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts in Newport will host a photography exhibit titled “The People of Chhattisgarh, India’s Crown Jewels.”

An opening reception will be held on Friday, October 6, from 5 to 7 p.m., in the downstairs gallery with a presentation by the photographer, Steve Malshuk, at 5:30 p.m.

The exhibit will run through November 4, and is free and open to the public.

Mr. Malshuk, a world-renowned photographer and native of Orleans, returns to the MAC after another photographic journey, this time to India, where he visited the state of Chhattisgarh.

The India photographic venture took Malshuk and seven other photographers to an area where there are no Taj Mahals or dramatic scenery. The local populace was the reason for the trip.

Hours were spent driving on dirt or incredibly crowded roads to walk, observe, and photograph four of the approximately 700 Indian tribes.

For more information, visit www.maccenterforthearts.com.

Nunsense: QNEK’s last show starts September 15

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/News/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — QNEK Productions will finish their final season with a production of their signature show, Dan Goggin’s Nunsense. The show will run September 15 – 17 at the Haskell Opera House on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Near and dear to many in the area, this show is sure to bring on the laughs and will certainly be “habit forming!”

Lynn Leimer reprises her role as Mother Superior, a star turn that has long delighted audiences, as she hangs up the habit and retires her company after 25 years.

A local legend in her own right, Leimer is grateful for all of the support QNEK has received over the last two decades and looks forward to sharing this show that has meant so much to her and the community one more time.

Nunsense begins when the Little Sisters of Hoboken discover that their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, has accidentally poisoned 52 of the sisters, and they are in dire need of funds for the burials. The sisters decide that the best way to raise the money is to put on a variety show, so they take over the school auditorium, which is currently set up for the eighth grade production of “Grease.”

Directed by and starring QNEK’s founder and Artistic Director, Lynn Leimer, the show features local favorites reprising their roles, such as Anita Mayhew, Sally Rivard, Ruth Ann Fletcher, Emily May, and Janice Luce on piano with Sean MacAllister playing drums.

Judy Castonguay is the Stage Manager with Dennis Ziegler serving as Tech Director and Brandon Alexandre running the lights.

You do not want to miss the finale of the company that has delighted, surprised, entertained, and brought the community together for 25 years.

Come celebrate and say goodbye to local legend QNEK Productions, and “your right Reverend Mother” Lynn Leimer in Nunsense.

Tickets are available by calling the QNEK Box Office at 802-334-2216, reserving by email at qnek.com, by advance purchase online or by phone at catamountarts.org and the Catamount Arts Box Office at 888-757-5559, and by advanced purchase at the MAC Center for the Arts in downtown Newport.

Plein Air Exhibit opens on September 9 at the MAC Center for the Arts

in Arts and Entertainment

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts and the Memphremagog Watershed Association will host an art exhibit featuring farms and waters of the Memphremagog Watershed.

Resident artists and visiting artists at all levels are painting at many sites around the Northeast Kingdom through the NEK Plein Air painting group to document today’s landscapes that contribute to tomorrow’s history.

The opening will take place Friday, September 9, from 5 – 7 p.m. The exhibit will run through the September 30. This is a free event and open to the public.

Painting sites include views of local waters and views of soil and water conservation practices at four farms that are working with the Orleans County Conservation District.

This exciting art project includes highlighting strip cropping and grassed waterway in corn fields, grazing and laneways in pastures, and Riparian Forest buffers conservation practices that reduce soil erosion by water; increase infiltration and available soil water; and improve habitat, water quality, visual quality of the landscape and farm community relations.

Strip cropping is arranged on cropland across the general slope so that equal widths of grass strips are alternated with annually tilled cropped strip. Grassed waterways are generally planted to perennial grass in annual crop fields and are constructed to convey runoff from low spots where concentrated flow areas where ephemeral and gully erosion control is needed.

Artists and community members will learn about these local field based conservation efforts and all the participating farmers will receive a framed print of one of the paintings.

To become a member, an artist simply needs to join their meetup.com group at http://www.meetup.com/Plein-Air-Northeast-Kingdom/ to receive notices of our planned paint-out meetups.

For more information about the exhibit, visit www.maccenterforthearts.com.

Howard Frank Mosher tribute in Irasburg this Sunday, Derby Line Monday

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Irasburg

IRASBURG — Filmmaker Jay Craven has been touring Vermont this summer with a series of film screenings and personal reflections to pay tribute to his 30-year collaboration with Northeast Kingdom writer Howard Frank Mosher.

In addition to a previously scheduled stop at the Haskell Opera House in Derby Line on Monday, August 21, at 7 p.m., Craven will also speak and offer a screening of Where the Rivers Flow North at the Irasburg United Church on Sunday, August 20, at 7 p.m.

Craven will open each evening with prepared and off-the-cuff reflections, “My Life, So Far, With Howard,” that explores his long collaboration with Mosher.

He will then present a 25th Anniversary screening of his first Mosher feature film, “Where the Rivers Flow North,” starring Academy Award nominee Rip Torn, Native American actress Tantoo Cardinal, and Michael J. Fox.

Set in 1927 in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, “Where the Rivers Flow North” tells the story of an old logger, Noel Lord, and his Native American mate, Bangor, who face the extinction of their way of life when the local power company plans to build a giant hydro dam that will flood them off their land. Lord and Bangor face emotional and physical challenges as they struggle with the power company, Vermont’s unforgiving terrain, and their own thorny relationship.

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    Kathleen Saville, Guiness Book of World Record holder, will read from her book, “Rowing for My Life” and Phillip Fried, Editor of the Manhattan Review, will read poetry from his latest collection, “Squaring the Circle”. The event is free and will take place at Nevermore Bookstore in Newport on August 19th, 6:00 p.m.

Guinness World Record holder and Manhattan Review editor to read at Newport Bookstore

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Guinness Book of World Record holder Kathleen Saville and Manhattan Review Editor Phillip Fried will read from their books, “Rowing for My Life,” and “Squaring the Circle,” at Nevermore Bookstore in Newport.

The event is free and will take place August 19, at 6:00 p.m.

Saville holds two Guinness World Records as the first woman to row across the North Atlantic and across two oceans.

After her husband’s death in a trekking mishap in the Egyptian desert, she earned a degree in creative writing. She teaches at the American University in Cairo, travels widely, publishes articles, and blogs about her adventures.

She lives in Cairo, Egypt and Derby Line, Vermont.

Fried has published six previous volumes of poetry, including “Early/Late: New & Selected Poems” (Salmon 2011) and “Interrogating Water and Other Poems” (Salmon 2014).

His seventh collection is “Squaring the Circle.”

His poems and reviews have appeared in numerous journals. In addition to writing poetry, he also edits The Manhattan Review, an international poetry review he founded in 1980.

He lives in New York City.

The event includes light refreshments, and all are welcome.

Anyone with questions should call Larry Bradley at Nevermore Bookstore: 802-334-3844.

[VIDEO] Art in Bloom at the MAC Center for the Arts in Newport

in Arts and Entertainment/Video

Art was in bloom over the weekend at the MAC Center for the Arts in Newport, as traditional visual art pieces were paired with corresponding flower arrangements made by members of the Four Seasons Garden Club.

In this Newport Dispatch video, Tanya Mueller visits this uniquely “perishable” exhibition. Enjoy.

Howard Mosher tribute tour coming to Derby Line

DERBY LINE — Vermont filmmaker Jay Craven will hit the road this summer for a series of film screenings and personal reflections to pay tribute to his 30-year collaborator, Northeast Kingdom writer, Howard Frank Mosher.

He will screen his film and present reflections on his work with Mosher on Monday, August 21, at 7 p.m. at the Haskell Opera House in Derby Line.

“Howard Mosher died pretty unexpectedly in late January,” Craven said. “And many Vermonters already miss him for his laugh-out-loud humor and fertile imagination of our place. Writers miss him, too, because no one was more generous with his time and support.”

Craven will open each evening with prepared and off-the-cuff reflections, “My Life, So Far, With Howard,” that explores his long collaboration with Mosher.

He will then present a 25th Anniversary screening of his first Mosher feature film, “Where the Rivers Flow North,” starring Academy Award nominee Rip Torn, Native American actress Tantoo Cardinal, and Michael J. Fox.

“Howard was much more than a source for our film stories and characters,” said Craven. “He was also a constant ally, a ready source of laughs, and a steadying influence in times of strain. This was especially crucial during our struggles with headstrong actor Rip Torn on the filming of Rivers. I will tell a few tales that have not been publically shared before—because they capture a rarely seen side of Howard and his work.”

Set in 1927 in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, “Where the Rivers Flow North” tells the story of an old logger, Noel Lord, and his Native American mate, Bangor, who face the extinction of their way of life when the local power company plans to build a giant hydro dam that will flood them off their land. Lord and Bangor face emotional and physical challenges as they struggle with the power company, Vermont’s unforgiving terrain, and their own thorny relationship.

“Where the Rivers Flow North” played more than thirty festival dates including Sundance, Seattle, Avignon, Vienna, and Vancouver.

Special screenings include The Smithsonian, Lincoln Center, and Harvard Film Archive. The picture was also one of three U.S. finalists for Critics Week, Cannes International Film Festival.

The Mosher Tribute tour is produced by Kingdom County Productions with sponsorship support from Vermont Public Radio.

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    Photo by Phil White.

Kingdom Swim 2017 welcomes swimmers from all over the Americas

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors/Vermont

NEWPORT — Over the weekend, Lake Memphremagog welcomed open water swimmers and “yackers” to the 9th Annual Kingdom Swim.

They came from 25 different states, two Canadian provinces, and Argentina, with ages ranging from 10 to 74.

This year’s swim was underwritten by North Country Hospital.

Sandra Frimerman-Berquist, age 34 of Excelsior, MN, smashed the record for the 25 km, Border Buster with a time of 5:49:55, leading a record number of 30 swimmers to complete the event.

Winning among the men was Stephen Rouch, 37, of Indianapolis, IN, who finished with a time of 6:25:48.

Stealing the show was 13-year-old, Vera Rivard, of Springfield, NH, who came in third among the females and fifth overall, with a time of 7:15:33. She is the youngest ever to complete the Border Buster.

The “most mature” to complete the Buster was Dan Shaub, 68, of Baltimore Maryland, with a time of 9:58:59. He and his local “yacker” Pam Ladds sported a combined age of 136.

The Busters headed out at 6:00 a.m. with mist rising from the lake after a cold night, but had the benefit of light tail winds from the south as they headed north and then from the north as they headed south back from Canada.

One of the purposes of this cross-border swim is to promote a more open border. This year everyone celebrated a change in Canadian rules that now coincides with US rules that you don’t need to report at the crossing if you don’t touch Canadian soil or a Canadian boat.

Taking home walking sticks, hand-carved by Bill Peck of Derby, in the WOWSA 10 Mile Championship were Anthony Szmul, 24, of Queensbury, NY (4:36:57) and Emily Boerger, 22 of Kingston, MA (4:47:54).

Margaret Rivard, age 10, of Springfield, NH, became the youngest to complete the 10-mile course which she did with a time of 5:50:12, placing her in the middle of the pack.

Eric Nilsson, 30, of Cambridge, MA, returned for another year, and claimed the crown as king of the 10 km with his blistering time of 2:03:34. Eric is one of the fastest swimmers to ply the waters of Lake Memphremagog .

Winning among the women was Rachel Horgan, 31, of Atkinson, NH, with a time of 2:23:56.

Kevin Jaubert, 45, of Towson, MD finished second. He’s one of two “lifers” who have swum in every single Kingdom Swim since it was started in 2009.

In the 5-km distance, it was a battle of east and west among the women, with Elizabeth Mancuso, 31, of Boston, MA, (1:09:49) fending off Ali Hall, 55, of San Francisco, CA (1:15:24).

Winning among the men was Lawton Harper, 50, of North Conway, NH, with a time of 1:23:13.

Laura Maliewski, 47, of Westmore, VT kept her streak alive as a “Lifer.”

In the 1-mile swim, Luke Nicholas, 14, of Mesa, AZ, gunned down Stephen Rouch, 37, of Indianapolis, IN, with a winning time of 0:19:28. But then, Stephen had just finished the Border Buster and was still hungry for one more mile in mighty Memphremagog before the day was done.

Luke’s dad, Kent Nicholas, narrowly missed the chance to swim the one-mile course with his son, completing the Border Buster in 8:25:15, just 25 minutes after the start of the 1 mile.

Among the females, Gayla Chalmers of Athens, GA, took first place with her time of 0:26:20.

Lilly Jaubert, 12, of Towson, MD won the miler among the female youth.

Winning in the ¼ was 10-year-old Claire Jaubert, of Towson, MD and Rex Lord, 11, of Bloomfield, NJ.

Prizes of Brault’s Beef Jerky and Couture’s Maple Syrup were offered up to the winners in each race, with jerky to the 2nd and third place finishers.

Music for the weekend was provided by Patti Casey and Tom Mackenzie on Friday evening, Kingdom Dixie and DJ Rena Demeo, during the swim, and by The Hitman at the Pig Roast and Party at Prouty after the swim.

[VIDEO] Welcome to the beautiful Newport Country Club

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/Outdoors

The beautiful Newport Country Club features an 18-hole, par 72 golf course that overlooks Lake Memphremagog to its north, as well as scenic views of Jay Peak and Willoughby Gap to its west and south.

The course accomplishes the rare feat of challenging serious golfers while offering a relaxed atmosphere that
allows all skill levels the ability to learn this classic game.

MAC Center for the Arts presents seventh annual Art in Bloom

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — The seventh annual Art in Bloom will open on August 4, at the MAC Center for the Arts, located at 158 Main Street, in Newport. The reception will start at 5 p.m.

Working in concert are the members of the Four Seasons Garden Club and MAC Center for the Arts exquisitely tailoring the annual fundraiser where nature meets art.

August 4 is a ticketed event to benefit both organizations.

This year’s fabulous door prizes are certainly worth the price of admission.

A summertime favorite, Art In Bloom boasts over 20 floral arrangements that glean their inspiration from the magnificent artwork currently on display in the MAC Gallery.

Interpretation and unique creativity provide this festival of insouciant charm and patrons can enjoy these displays through Saturday, August 6, open to the public.

Come gaze upon the distinctive presentations on both levels of the gallery with the Art in Bloom in the main gallery, August 4-6, and the summer exhibition, Preserving the Beauty of Our Waters in the lower gallery, thru September 6.

For tickets or more information, please call 802-334-1966, or visit www.maccenterforthearts.com and/or fourseasonsgardenclub.org

Summer Block Party in Newport kicks off summer and free lunches

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — The 4th Annual Summer Block Party will be held at Gardner Park in Newport, on Thursday, June 22 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The afternoon will feature free food for all kids 18-years-old and younger from the Lunchbox food truck, family-friendly games and activities such as dancing and face painting, and a fun-run around the park.

The Summer Block Party is hosted by Green Mountain Farm-to-School and Newport Parks and Recreation.

“The Summer Block Party is an opportunity for us to say thank you to the community for all of their support while also letting them know that the Lunchbox will be serving free lunches to kids again this summer,” says James Hafferman, executive director of Green Mountain Farm-to-School.

The activities for the fun afternoon are organized by over a dozen community organizations that are participating in the event. United Church of Newport will be doing a sing-along and games, the Wellness Center of North Country Hospital will be doing dance and zumba, and Let’s Grow Kids will have life-sized Legos, to only name a few.

The event is also sponsored by various business throughout the region.

“The support of many different organizations and businesses make the Summer Block Party possible,” says Hafferman. “We are lucky to have such a caring community that comes together to make a fun, family-friendly event like this possible for everyone.”

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    Photo Copyright 2017 Karen Lippens – Lake Memphremagog

MAC Center teams up with Memphremagog Watershed Association in latest exhibition

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts is presenting a collaborative exhibition to celebrate both the tenth anniversaries of the Memphremagog Watershed Association and the MAC Center for the Arts.

The exhibit, Memphremagog Watershed Association – Preserving the Beauty of Our Waters, will open on June 24 at 5 p.m. with a presentation by Louise Abbott, author and photographer whose second volume, Memphrémagog: An Illustrated History, vol. 2, will be published later this summer. All proceeds from this beautiful book will benefit the Watershed Association.

This unique exhibition on display in the Downstairs Gallery will run until September 5, and is free and open to the public.

Louise Abbott is a Canadian non-fiction writer, photographer, and filmmaker living in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. She graduated from McGill University in 1972, and is a featured writer and photographer, with works appearing in the Montreal Gazette, The Globe and Mail, The Canadian Encyclopedia, Canadian Heritage and Photo Life.

Abbott received the 2002 Canadian Journalism Foundation Greg Clark Internship Award, and in the same year the Professional Writers Association of Canada’s Norman Kucharsky Award for Cultural and Artistic Journalism. 

Her first book, The Coast Way: A Portrait of the English on the Lower North Shore of the St. Lawrence, was a finalist for the 1989 QSPELL Award.

In 2014, her documentary, Nunaaluk: A Forgotten Story, won the inaugural Jasper Short Film Festival Best Film by an Established Filmmaker award.

The Memphremagog Watershed Association (MWA) was formed in 2007 with a mission to promote public awareness of the Memphremagog Watershed and protect its unique ecosystem. They have worked closely with partners in the basin to implement many of the strategies laid out in the 2012 Basin 17 tactical basin plan, hosting watershed workshops, installing buffer plantings and rain gardens, selling rain barrels, lake and river clean-ups, hosting educational boat rides for adults and schools, providing scholarships for High School graduates who intend to study in an environmental field, and establishing a Vermont Invasive Species program for Lake Memphremagog. 

Members of MAC will exhibit new work in a variety of media using the lake and environment as inspiration in concert with informational materials and photographs on the important preservation work of the Watershed Association.

MAC Center for the Arts supports Vermont’s Creative Economy through the sale of its member’s work at the 4,000-square foot Main Street gallery.

In addition to our gallery store and seasonal opening receptions, they offer a full calendar of special events, performances, visiting and original exhibits, classes and workshops.

All are open to the public and most are free to attend.

For more information, visit www.maccenterforthearts.com or call 802-334-1966.

Cajun Meets Celtic at the Haskell Opera House Thursday May 25

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line

DERBY LINE – Southern and Northern fiddle traditions will come together in an international setting as Haskell Opera House presents an evening with David Greely, Mairi Rankin and Ailie Robertson Thursday, May 25 at 7:30 p.m.

David Greely’s French Louisiana music is opening a new wing in his tradition. David has taken the swampy syncopations of Cajun music and its renaissance French dialect to new level of sophistication without losing its urgency and texture.

In solo acoustic performance, he sounds like two or three fiddles, weaving accompaniment to his vocals as if it’s someone else singing. 

David was born in Baton Rouge of Cajun and Irish ancestry and learned Cajun music on dance hall stages throughout South Louisiana, in the archives of Cajun and Creole music at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, and from his apprenticeship to Cajun fiddle master and National Heritage Fellow Dewey Balfa.

As a founding member of Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, David toured Folk Festivals worldwide for 23 years, and was nominated for four Grammy Awards. He has received the Louisiana Artist Fellowship Award for Folklife Performance, and is an adjunct instructor of Cajun fiddle at the University of Louisiana.

Winner of Best Group in both the Live Ireland awards and the Tradition In Review awards, the Rankin/Robertson Duo are one of the top Celtic acts in the world.

With their band The Outside Track, they were Best Live Act nominees in the 2013 MG Alba Scots Traditional Music Awards and won the German Radio Critics Prize 2014 for their latest album Flash Company.

Mairi Rankin is a member of the legendary Rankin Family from Cape Breton, while Ailie Robertson hales from Edinburgh is widely regarded as one of Scotland’s leading young traditional musicians.

The duo blend fiddle, harp, step-dance and vocals with breathtaking vitality. Their boundless energy and unmistakable joie de vivre has won them a large following around the globe.

Don’t miss this incredible evening. Tickets are $20 (Cdn) and are available through Picatic, haskellopera.com and at the box office day of the concert.

Doors open at 6.30 p.m. The concert will begin promptly at 7.30 p.m.

Look for a full lineup of musical and theatrical performances this summer at the Haskell Opera House, including QNEK’s Guys and Dolls, Juno Award winner Whitehorse July 5 and CCMA Award winner Lindi Ortega August 15.

For more information, contact Hal Newman at opera@haskellopera.com.

Howard Frank Mosher’s personal book collection to be housed at Leach Public Library

in Arts and Entertainment/Irasburg/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

IRASBURG — The Irasburg Selectboard and the Trustees of the Leach Public Library have announced an Open House to introduce and honor the Howard Frank Mosher book collection, to be housed at the library.

The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, June 2, at the library, located on the Irasburg Common.

The Open House will immediately precede a 2 p.m. memorial service for the beloved Irasburg author, to be held at the Irasburg United Church.

Howard Frank Mosher died on January 29, 2017, at his Irasburg home.

In December 2016, Mosher sent “A Christmas Letter to Irasburg’s Library Trustees and Select Board,” donating his book collection to the library.

“What an honor it is,” Mosher wrote in his letter, “to present my beloved personal book collection to the Leach Memorial Library in Irasburg, where my still-more-beloved Phillis and I have lived for forty very happy years. Here in this northern Vermont town founded in 1781 by Ethan Allen’s brother Ira, Phillis and I have made our home for most of our adult lives, raised our children, and caught (way too many) trout (brookies, browns, and rainbows, but mainly brookies). Here, too, is where I’ve written most of my fourteen books, including mu 1989 novel A Stranger in the Kingdom, inspired by the so-called “Irasburg Incident” of 1968. To this day, A Stranger in the Kingdom is probably my best known book, though my own favorite is Northern Borders.”

The donated collection includes several matched sets of the classics, including a set of Shakespeare’s works inherited from Mosher’s grandfather and a set of the works of Dickens previously owned by longtime Irasburg librarian Doris Alexander. Also included are books about the Lewis and Clark expedition and books on slavery and the civil war that the author used in research for two of his novels.

“I love to write,” Mosher concluded his December donation letter. “Always have. And Irasburg and the Kingdom have been a treasure trove of stories. But I live to read. I like thinking that, in the future, some aspiring young storywriter may pick up some of these books and, as I have, find them inspiring and helpful.”

Leach Library Director Laurie Holland echoed Mosher’s view.

“We look forward to introducing aspiring young story writers, and everyone else, to Howard’s extraordinary book collection,” she said.

Refreshments will be served at the Open House.

Fyre & Lightning Consort in Newport this Sunday

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — The Fyre and Lightning Consort, a trio of musicians living in Central Vermont dedicated to the study and performance of Medieval and Renaissance music, will be performing this Sunday, May 14, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Newport.

Throughout its performing history, the group has become increasingly interested in traditional music of various types, including the music of the Sephardic Jews and traditional music of the British Isles, as well as arrangements and new compositions created by ensemble members.

The upcoming performance features Ellie Hayes, Kathy Light, and Steven Light.

The program includes music found in France, Italy, and Spain from the Middle Ages and early Renaissance as well as music of the Sephardic Jews. The performance will conclude with traditional music from Ireland, Scotland, and England, including 17th-century compositions by the blind harper Turlough O’Carolan.

Fyre and Lightning endeavors to present this fascinating music in an informal, accessible style. The music and instruments will be described and audience members are invited to ask questions and try out the instruments after the concert.

The show starts at 3 p.m. and there is a suggested donation at the door of $10. Lite refreshments will be served during the intermission.

Introducing Diane McHeffey, Golf Pro at Newport Country Club

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/Outdoors

Diane McHeffey is the new Golf Pro at the beautiful Newport Country Club.

In this interview, McHeffey talks with Tanya Mueller about her career in golf, as well as all the opportunities for golfers of all ages this year.

For more information on this season at the Newport Country Club, CLICK HERE.

9th Annual Dandelion Run to be held May 20

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby/Holland/Morgan/Newport/News/Outdoors

DERBY — The Dandelion Run is back on May 20, 2017. The run offers varying distances from one mile to a half marathon on dirt roads through the “world famous” dandelion fields of Morgan, Holland, and Derby.

It’s held in honor and memory of Terri Weed, a 15-year-old girl who tragically lost her life due to domestic violence on May 21, 1981.

For each adult registration, 20 percent will be donated to support Umbrella and its advocacy and support of victims of violence.

“The Dandy” is held in conjunction with the Dandelion Fiddlefest celebrating “High Spring” in the Northeast Kingdom, a time when the dandelions are at their peak.

As in previous years, Reckless Breakfast, a contemporary bluegrass band will be playing at the corner of Dumas and Hayward Hollow Roads.

Champion master fiddler, Scott Campbell will be playing at Route 111 and the North Gore Road. Patti Casey of Montpelier will be back at the corner of Route 111 and Dumas Road. Courtney Drew, an 18-year-old fiddler from Quebec, will be playing at the one mile turnaround.

Rick Geisel, Don Houghton, and Terri Churchill will be playing at other locations along the course.

The running and walking options include a 13.1 mile, 10 km, 4 mile, 2 mile and 1 mile. The ages of runners and walkers typically range from 4 years old to 80 years old. Each year many local schools field teams of young runners.

Last year, Community National Bank helped organize the first 4 mile walk, which was very popular and which we expect will grow.

The bank’s Community Circle members put on their walking shoes and enjoyed the event festivities with the other “Dandy” participants from many other states.

The Dandy is widely recognized as one of the top running races in Vermont. It has been featured several times in Vermont Sports Magazine and was named one of the best events in Vermont by Yankee Magazine in 2011.

Already runners have been signing up from California, Oklahoma, Florida, North Carolina, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, all over Vermont, The Eastern Townships of Quebec, Quebec City, Montreal, and Ontario.

Online registration is open at www.dandelionrun.org.

QNEK Productions kicking off final season with Lend Me a Tenor on April 28th

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Newport

DERBY LINE — QNEK Productions is kicking off its 25th and final season with Lend Me a Tenor, a farce that will keep you laughing long after the curtain comes down. It will run at the Haskell Opera House from April 28 – May 7.

The show will feature an impressive party of local talents in Todd Cubit, Michael Desjardins, Phil Gosselin, Kim Gannon, Rhonda Lucas, Tiffany Quinn, Ron St. John, and Andrea Webster.

In September of 1934, Henry Saunders, the general manager of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company, is primed to welcome world famous Tito Merelli, the greatest tenor of his generation, to appear for one night only as Otello.

The star arrives late, and through a hilarious series of mishaps is given a double dose of tranquilizers and passes out. His pulse is so low that Saunders and his assistant Max believe he’s dead.

In a frantic attempt to salvage the evening, Saunders persuades Max to get into Merelli’s Otello costume and fool the audience into thinking he’s Il Stupendo.

Meanwhile, Merelli wakes up, puts on the costume as well, and madcap hijinks ensue.

The impressive art deco set is brought to life by Set Engineers Rick Gosselin and George Lague. Judy Castonguay is the Stage Manager with Jenny Dunne Directing.

You don’t want to miss this uproarious start to QNEK’s final season.

You can catch Lend Me a Tenor at the Haskell Opera House on April 28 – May 7, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available by visiting qnek.com, calling the QNEK Box Office at (802) 334-2216, in person at The MAC Center for the Arts, by visiting catamountarts.org, or by calling the Catamount Arts Box Office at (888) 757-5559.

MAC Center for the Arts celebrates second annual Recycling Exhibit

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — Recycled art is not something that’s beautiful but just a waste of time and space. It’s like alchemy which turns base metal into gold. The MAC Center for the Arts, located at 158 Main Street, in Newport, will be celebrating the second annual Recycling Exhibit.

The opening day will be April 28, 2017 with a reception from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

The event is free, and all are welcome to attend.

The exhibit will continue thru May 27 and features artists repurposed and recycled whimsies and unique sculptures making for an interesting and sometimes odd exhibition.

A call to artists for this unusual exhibition engages the talents of many local collective artists guilds in the Northeast Kingdom.

Visit the MAC Downstairs Gallery for some rediscovered artistry that leaves no carbon footprint. Visitors are promised to be amazed by the beauty of reformed trash.

For more information, visit www.maccenterforthearts.com or call 802-334-1966.

[VIDEO] Megan Bonnell interview and music from the Haskell Library

in Arts and Entertainment/Vermont

On Monday, Toronto-based singer-songwriter Megan Bonnell opened up for Great Lake Swimmers at the Haskell Library.

After the show, she gave this interview with Tanya Mueller to discuss her musical background, and offer some advice to young artists who are starting out.

For more on this artist, check out http://www.magnoliamusic.info

[VIDEO] Great Lake Swimmers live at the Haskell Library

in Arts and Entertainment/Video

On Monday evening Canadian indie band Great Lake Swimmers played an intimate show at the Haskell Library.

Tanya Mueller caught up with the band after the show for an exclusive interview with Newport Dispatch.

Great Lake Swimmers is a Canadian band built around the melodic folk rock songs of singer-songwriter Tony Dekker.

Originally from Wainfleet, Ontario, the band is currently based in Toronto.

The show at the Haskell finished off a small tour the band was on, playing as a trio.

Elisabeth von Trapp to perform in Newport on Sunday

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Elisabeth von Trapp will return to Newport on Sunday, for a concert that will take place at the United Church of Newport.

Ms. von Trapp first came to Newport ten years ago and is being welcomed back through the Now Playing Newport Music Series.

Granddaughter of the legendary Maria and Baron von Trapp, whose story inspired “The Sound of Music,” music is part of her earliest memories.

Inspired by her father’s guitar playing and singing, she began taking piano lessons when she was eight.

By sixteen she was playing guitar and traveling the back roads of New England performing with her siblings at weddings, gospel meetings, town halls, and county fairs.

Growing up she heard the sounds of Beethoven, Bach, Vivaldi and Mozart from her father’s record collection and the voices of the Beatles, Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and the Rolling Stones from the open airways of Vermont radio.

“Cold winter nights, I would sit on my bed in the dark, picking out a Join Mitchell song on my guitar as the sounds of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto on the phonograph would float up the stairs from the living room below, where my mother sat knitting,” von Trapp said.

She has released five self-produced albums and her music has been featured on BBC-Radio, Japanese National Radio, and CNN Spanish Radio.

The program begins on Sunday, April 2, at 3:00 p.m., followed by a reception.

There is a suggested donation at the door of $10.

Free screening of Forgotten Farms at Newport City Cinema March 30th

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — The Orleans County Conservation District will be hosting a free community viewing of the documentary film “Forgotten Farms,” that examines class divides in our farm and food communities, followed by a discussion panel with filmmakers, local dairy farmers and Vermont Housing and Conservation Board Agricultural Director, Nancy Everhart.

The screening will take place March 30 at Newport City Cinema, and will start at 4:00 p.m.

Most people buy their food in supermarkets and don’t have a chance to “know your farmer,” as the bumper sticker recommends.

In more affluent communities, farm-to-table restaurants, farmer’s markets, and CSAs are booming and the new farmers are celebrated. But there is another farmer who is left out of the local food celebration.

The Vermont Dairy Promotion council economic assessment lists Orleans County as having 15.3 percent of the state’s dairy farms with 131 dairy farms, 22 of which are Certified Organic, with a total of 21,081 cows.

Dairy farmers are a significant foundational part of our local economy and cultural in Orleans County, but often these farmers are overlooked.

This event will showcase these farmers by highlighting the importance of the dairy industry which is very relevant to our Northeast Kingdom communities.
 
Only 100 years ago, New England produced most of its food on 16 million acres of farmland. And now, climate change demands that more of our food is grown closer to where we live. As we strive to revive local production, we have much to learn from dairy farmers who have been managing most of the farmland and sustaining the farm economy for generations.

The film gives us a glimpse into the past and a vision for a future regional food system through conversations with farmers and policy experts and reconsiders the role of the vital but forgotten farmers.

MAC Center getting ready to host indoor yard sale April First

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts, located at 158 Main Street, in Newport, is gearing up for their “Le Junque du Jour Sale,” which will take place on Saturday, April 1.

April Fool’s Day will be replete with fun for shoppers of all ages when the MAC Center hosts their first ever indoor yard sale.

The event starts at 10:00 a.m and runs until 3:00 p.m. The sale will take place in the downstairs gallery.

There are many one-of-a-kind items, including four antique sewing tables, two weathered spindle back chairs, vintage wood rolling office chair, hand painted end table, a Roland electric digital piano, display racks, three drafting tables, small bookshelf, coveted Glass Hurricane lamps, signed artwork, windchimes, and vintage pottery.

Going on a trip? They’ve got luggage. Need a chapeau? They’ve got hats. If you’re not into that kind of hat, how about a lampshade?

There will be art supplies, jewelry, books, new items, gently loved items, and a plethora of collectibles.

Everything is priced to sell or make an offer because everything must go.

All proceeds benefit the MAC Center for the Arts and the continuing arts programming.

For more information, please visit their website, www.maccenterforthearts.com or call 332-1966.

Gregory Douglass returns to Haskell Opera House, Tod Pronto opening

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line

DERBY LINE — On Saturday, April 1, musician Gregory Douglass will take the stage at the Haskell Opera House, with singer/songwriter Tod Pronto opening the show.

After a recent spotlight on NPR’s Morning Edition, Douglass has been coined “one of New England’s best-kept secrets.” According to OUT Magazine, his evocative, alternative sound blend “Rufus Wainwright’s opulent musicality and Justin Timberlake’s accessible soulfulness.”

Douglass has shared the stage with artists like Regina Spektor, They Might Be Giants, Shawn Colvin, The Weepies, Jason Mraz, and Margaret Cho.

Douglass will be releasing “My Hero, The Enemy,” his 9th studio album.

“This new album is the most deeply personal account of my years in music so far.” he said. “It’s also an ode to being a creative person in the age of information, and what a blessing and a curse it can be.”

Catch Douglass as he returns to the Haskell Opera House, Saturday, April 1, and celebrate the worldwide release of the new album. Tickets are $20.00, and are on sale at: http://www.picatic.com.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m.

To see a live version of “Point Of View,” go to: https://youtu.be/TzG_jO9xRJw

January theater workshop enrollment open for kids ages 5 through 8 at the MAC Center

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts in partnership with ACT 1, the Northeast Kingdom’s Premiere Theater Academy, have announced plans for 2017.

Saturday, January 21, will debut “Once Upon a Time: Peter Pan,” for students 5 to 8 years old, and will provide a half day of theater learning and fun.

Starting at 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., students will be led through exploratory activities to learn about all aspects of storytelling, culminating in a short performance for family and friends at 4:00 p.m. 

“Once Upon a Time: Peter Pan” will teach participants about learning music and movement for the stage in addition to creating costume pieces and decorating the space to reflect Neverland as they imagine it.

Character work will be a major theme throughout the afternoon as the students learn the roles of “Lost Boys” and “Pirates,” bringing their unique personalities to the performance as an ensemble.

Local middle school performers will act as “Show Captains” borrowed from the term “Dance Captains” in the theater business, and will lead the little ones through their show. 

Cost for the afternoon is $25 for one participant and $40 for a pair.

Registration includes water, materials, and an ACT 1 t-shirt in addition to professional training.

All are welcome, no experience required, just a love of creativity is all your child needs to have a memorable afternoon.

To register for the January 21 event, please stop by or call the MAC Center for the Arts.

All questions regarding the day of the event should be directed to ACT 1 at nekacademy@gmail.com or Lynn Leimer at macartspr@yahoo.com

For more information and registration, visit www.maccenterforthearts.com or call 802-334-1966

A Northeast Kingdom Vermont Christmas story, written in 1955

in Arts and Entertainment

William T. Logan Jr. was principal of Newport Center Vermont High School in 1953-54. While going through some of his things recently, a family member found a typewritten copy of a story he wrote about an experience he had as principal one Christmas. Below is a copy of the story, titled “The Schoolhouse Christmas Tree.”

THE SCHOOLHOUSE CHRISTMAS TREE

In the days before consolidation of schools and the formation of large union districts, Vermont was dotted with small “high schools” which housed the village’s elementary students in the same building as the secondary ones. A High School Principal or Headmaster was employed as a full-time teacher and disciplinarian for the building. Should there be a shortage of volunteer extra-curricular supervisors, the principal filled in with such other duties as basketball and baseball coach, substitute bus driver, and movie projector operator at the local Ladies Aid Society meeting. Life was anything but dull for these budding school administrators.

Much has been written on “Boot Camp” training of military recruits, but little has been recorded on the “hands on” experiences of these neophyte educational leaders. With barely three years experience in the classroom, on the one hand, and a master’s degree diploma in the other, they accepted positions in rural towns throughout the state. They moved their families into unfamiliar communities, for at least a three-year stint, and tried to operate an educational and recreational program that raised the standards of the areas they served.

I was one of the “chosen few” who graduated from the University in Burlington in 1950, had done my three years tour of classroom duty in a central school in New York State, and returned to the Green Mountains to help move the budding school consolidation movement along. I accepted “the call” to go to Newport Town in the Northeast Kingdom as the Teaching—Principal of Newport Center High School.

That school house was a wooden framed building. It stood on a postage stamp size lot about a couple hundred yards from a railroad crossing and the three stores and a bowling alley that made up the commercial center of the community. It was about two stories and a half high. The first floor was a half a story above ground and contained three multigrade elementary classrooms and a home economics room.

The rest of the “high school” consisted of a science laboratory, without running water or Bunsen burners, in the basement next to the wood burning furnace and the entire second floor of the building.

Because the total secondary student population for Grades 7 to 12 never exceeded seventy-five pupils, these kids were assigned “home room” desks in the assembly room – or study hall — and attended academic classes in small adjoining classrooms. Boys who enrolled in vocational agriculture spent half their school day in a separate school facility in the neighboring town of North Troy and traveled back and forth in a school bus which was driven by one of the students frequently. Teaching full time and keeping track of the students required the skills of a professional juggler.

On the tongue-in-cheek advice of Dean Bennett C. Douglass, I obtained the personal, professional library recommended for all high school principals going into school administration for the first time. It consisted of three books. These were a Dictionary to help me spell, the King James Version of the Bible to give my spiritual solace, and an Atlas so I could figure out where I was at any given moment. I followed his other advice and checked the toilet rooms frequently each day.

In a school building where a lithograph of Sir Lancelot and the Holy Grail and a colored picture calendar showing a prize-winning Holstein cow made up the entire art gallery, decorating the assembly room for holiday occasions provided a cultural experience. The Christmas season was an especially exciting time in that land of fir trees and snow.

Christmas trees are a “cash crop” in Orleans County. Thousands of trees have been commercially harvested, bailed, and shipped south by Thanksgiving time each year. Every local family has selected, and left standing for cutting later, the special tree that would decorate its home. The Future Farmers of America at Newport Center High School had located and identified the “perfect” tree to beautify our assembly hall. All that was needed to kick off the holiday season was permission from the Principal to leave school for a long enough time to cut the tree and deliver it to the building. A half hour was the generous time estimate given for this venture and it was granted.

One hour after the FFA Chapter members left on their mission, the pay phone in the Principal’s office rang. The message was concise. The tree had been obtained and loaded on the truck and – as soon as the fellows were through dressing out the ewe — they would be right back to the school.

Unlike the children in Clement Moore’s “Night Before Christmas“ who had “visions of sugar plums“ in their heads, I had visions of the local constable arriving at my door with a summons to appear before a judge to answer the charges on abetting the destruction of property – namely a female sheep! I kept asking myself how could a half dozen young men, sent to do a simple task like cutting a tree, manage to kill an innocent sheep? How could I pay for it? Only time would tell – and it did!

It seems that the “perfect” tree was growing on the property of the parents of one of our elementary school children. The land owner was not at home at that moment and the tree was inconveniently located far enough from the road that a tractor would be desirable in its retrieval. A tractor was parked on the ground-level barn floor – where the farmer also kept a few of his sheep for the winter months. In the process of moving the tractor in an out of the barn, a dung fork was dislodged and fell to the floor where a skittish ewe managed to impale herself. The problem was addressed, the sheep butchered, and the food value of the animal assured. The problem of explaining the situtation to the owner was to be resolved at a future time.

The boys dutifully returned to the school, erected the tree to the delight of the student body, and a festive spirit filled the air – except in the cubby-hole that was known as the Principal’s office. With baited breath I waited for the call from the irate farmer whose generous offer of a tree had resulted in the loss of a valuable animal.

In that season of “Peace on Earth” and “Good Will to Men”, the joyful spirit in the schoolhouse must have emanated through the whole township. At least it reached as far as the farm where my boys had killed the sheep, for in due time the telephone rang and the voice of the farmer was heard. My heart skipped a beat or two when it wished me a “Merry Christmas“, congratulated me for sending such bright young men to get the tree that they were capable of handling a crisis, and offering me the gift of half a mutton for our hot lunch program after the holidays!

Nothing I had studied in college or graduate school had prepared me to deal with that kind of crisis. Nothing I did solved the problem. It was the spirit of Christmas that took over and turned an embarrassing incident into a special symbol of love and generosity that I shall cherish forever.

VIDEO: Meet the cast of QNEK’s “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play”

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Newport

DERBY LINE — Over the weekend, QNEK Productions ended its 24th season by presenting the holiday classic, It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.

Staged at the beautiful First Universalist Parish Hall in Derby Line, the shows starred Steve Gonyaw, Marilee Andres, Aidan Mulroy, Tiffany Quinn, and Brian McCrae.

It was directed by Phil Gosselin.

In this video, Newport Dispatch got a chance to talk with the cast about this year’s holiday production.

Photos and interview by Tanya Mueller.

VIDEO: 2017 Northeast Kingdom calendar by photographer Rick Desrochers

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — Local photographer Rick Desrochers, who owns Northern Dreams Photography, took us out for a day of shooting in the Northeast Kingdom, to discuss his art, and the two 2017 calendars he is putting out.

Desrochers is a photographer from Newport, Vermont. He grew up loving photography and all the beauty this area has to offer.

To dream of the direction of North symbolizes reality. It also indicates that you are making progress and moving forward in life.

“While living in Florida, I dreamt of the four seasons of the North, and Northern Dreams Photography was born, a dream that has become reality,” Desrochers said. “It’s about capturing the simple things in life and the beauty of nature that we sometimes miss and take for granted. It’s about helping us to believe in our dreams of moving forward and anywhere that we can imagine.”

The 2017 Northeast Kingdom Calendar is also printed locally at the UPS Store in Newport.

For more information about Northern Dreams Photography, email Rick at northerndreamphotography@gmail.com

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