Weekly Conversation On The Arts

Thursdays 4:50p.m.

Weekly Conversation On The Arts is your window into the Vermont arts community. Every week, we talk with authors, actors, playwrights, musicians, artists and the people who make the arts happen in our area.

Julia Luckett Photography

"When you're in a band and especially when you're touring, it's like being in a big marriage." That's the take from guitarist Nick Wood, with the Burlington-based funk-rock band, Gang of Thieves.

Wood and band-mate Tobin Salas, who plays bass guitar, recently sat down with VPR, fresh off the group's Work Together tour.

Last year's Do Good Fest welcomed over 5,000 spectators on the lawn at National Life headquarters in Montpelier. Again this year, the event is free and the $20 parking fee benefits Branches of Hope.
National Life, courtesy

This Saturday, the National Life building in Montpelier is opening up its "back lawn" and inviting a few friends over. It's the 4th Annual Do Good Fest, underwritten by the financial services company and boasting a musical line-up of national and local performers.

The 2016 Aphasia Choir in the McCarthy Arts Center;  Karen McFeeters Leary directing;  Jess McDonald, UVM speech pathology student (left) and Cheryl Lattrell, stroke survivor (right) enjoy a laugh during practice.
Jessica Clarke

How is it that survivors of stroke and certain brain injury are often unable to speak but they still can sing? The answer lies in the brain's physiology. By tapping into the undamaged right hemisphere, the stroke survivor can recall familiar melodies and express them through song. Enter, the Aphasia Choir.

Montpelier-based musician Ben Dunham hand-picked a dozen musicians to form The Backline Collective. The group performs the songs Dunham penned and the album-release party is Friday night at Positive Pie in Montpelier.
Tommy Burns/Matrix Marketing, courtesy

Local songwriter Ben Dunham's eight new songs chart his own personal growth over the past year. But in order to record them in all their multiple shades and moods, he needed to enlist a diverse bunch of Vermont musicians to get the job done. The finished project, called Backline Collective, will premiere at an album-release party this Friday night in Montpelier.

By practicing skits and playing theater games, students from The Bridging Program at CCS learn advocacy and decision-making.
Emily Anderson, courtesy

Classic theater warm-up games like, 'Zip, Zap, Zop!' can help teach focus and teamwork in a fun way. And recently, Emily Anderson has been borrowing these techniques with a unique group of young adult students.

John Killacky, The Flynn Center For The Performing Arts, courtesy

Chelsea Lafayette is a Vermonter by way of New Orleans. Ten years ago, after attending college in Louisiana, she followed her now-spouse north. And on her first night in Burlington, the neon marquee of the iconic Flynn Theater ensured she'd never look back.

Artist Sarah Van Arsdale

When asked whether she falls into the camp that believes the catamount still roams Vermont's woods, author/illustrator Sarah Van Arsdale sees herself among those who fervently want to believe it's true.

Courtesy, Julia Kitonis

When Julia Kitonis chose a final project for the NEXUS program at Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg, the senior knew she wanted to focus on accessibility to the arts. And coupled with her own theater background and a revival of her favorite musical, Spring Awakening that included both hearing and non-hearing actors, the seed of an immense idea was born.

Courtesy, David Schein

What began as a theater space in the Ethiopian city of Awassa to educate community members about HIV/AIDS has strong Vermont ties.

Beltrami Studios

Finally heeding her then pre-teen daughters' book recommendations to read the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Montpelier author Laurie Forest devoured and loved the books. And then she stepped into a writing realm that was entirely new to her: Fantasy fiction.

top, Steve Solberg, from r to l, courtesy Seven Days, Caleb McKenna and Karen Kevra

This weekend, Marshfield classical composer and musician Evan Premo will premiere a song cycle he's written, which sets late Vermont writer David Budbill's poems to music. Budbill, a poet and playwright and musician, died in the fall of 2016.

courtesy

Before her tribe was recognized along with three others in Vermont in 2011 and 2012, Vera Longtoe Sheehan wasn't able to call herself an "Abenaki artist."

K-Films Amérique

The Global Roots Film Festival is a program of the Vermont International Film Foundation which aims to bring movies made about and by many diverse cultures. This year, the movies screening in downtown Burlington will focus on the cinema of Québec.

Courtesy, Catamount Arts

Registration is now open for Tap Into Film: 48-Hour Student Film Slam, an intense, two-day event, presented by Catamount Arts in St. Johnsbury and The School Of Creative And Performing Arts.

Elvira Tripp

Next Saturday, the mezzanine at Burlington International Airport will become a runway lined with models donning locally designed clothing in The Fashion Show 2017. And 20 of those models are new Americans.

hookmedia / VPR

A series of discussions put on by the Arts Council of Windham County will explore the therapeutic properties of art — and the connection between creating and healing.

Courtesy, artist Tim Brookes

Six years ago, writer and Champlain College professor Tim Brookes carved letters into wooden planks to give to family as holiday gifts. The presents were well received and Brookes enjoyed his new hobby. He added new and different alphabet letters and languages to his hand-carved signs. Then, by chance, Brookes learned just how many of the globe's writing systems were disappearing and a project was born: The Endangered Alphabets Project.

Matthew Thorsen

Ben Cadwallader grew up in Vermont's classical music scene, both as a musician and as a patron. Since returning to Vermont from California to serve as the executive director of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra a year ago, Cadwallader shows his passion for new and innovative programs that appeal to many audiences with the series, JukeBox, co-produced with local performance space, ArtsRiot in Burlington.

Max Garcia-Conover

Composer and performer Ben Cosgrove writes music about natural landscapes he encounters as he drives around from place to place all over North America. But last fall, when he was the artist-at-sea onboard the Research Vessel Falkor with the Schmidt Ocean Institute, he found the only thing surrounding him was the endless ocean.

Courtesy, Todd R. Lockwood

Just days before passing away, Vermont author Howard Frank Mosher accepted the 2017 Herb Lockwood Prize In The Arts at his home in Irasburg.

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