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.

Courtesy of Valley Festival Of The Arts

The Mad River Valley comes alive this month with the 16th annual Vermont Festival Of The Arts.

Waitsfield will be home base for close to 120 arts-related events and activities throughout the region.

As summer festivals go, The Vermont Festival Of The Arts is all-encompassing, embracing graphic and visual arts, theater, film and of course, food.

Festival Artistic Director Karen Nevin says this is a great opportunity to interact with artists, particularly at the mid-month Plein Air Paint-Out.

This weekend marks the fifth annual Bookstock book festival in Woodstock. We speak with Peter Gilbert, executive director of the Vermont Humanities Council, about the role of books in shaping ideas and the joy of lifelong learning.

VPR/Neal Charnoff

People traveling the back roads of Calais may not expect to come across a venue for highbrow theater.

But in fact, Unadilla Theater is celebrating its 30th year by opening a second performance space amidst its flower gardens and mountain vistas.

And these are not your typical summer plays: Unadilla specializes in presenting the classics. This season, theatergoers can choose from works by Gilbert and Sullivan, Irish playwright Sean O’Casey, and even an opera from Mozart.

Zachary Stephens

Yellow Barn in Putney is presenting three classical music concerts this weekend, as part of a summer season that runs through August 3.

The season opened with a tribute to David Wells, who co-founded Yellow Barn 44 years ago with his wife Janet. Wells passed away last August.

Yellow Barn Artistic Director Seth Knopp says that Wells and his wife Janet founded Yellow Barn to share their love of music with their students and their community.

VPR/Neal Charnoff

A series of free, outdoor carillon concerts will take place this summer on the campus of Norwich University in Northfield.

Carilloner George Matthew says the Norwich carillon was originally used at the 1929 Chicago  World's Fair.

Matthew says the carillon has a rich history, and while it is related to the piano, he actually considers it  to be a percussion instrument.

A series of six free carillon concerts will kick off this Saturday at 1.

VPR's Neal Charnoff has this audio postcard from Norwich University.

Courtesy of Hills Alive

Southern Vermont in the summertime is a rich tapestry of theater, concerts and art exhibits.

And this year, many events are being woven together, and presented as the Hills Alive Festival of the Arts, which will run for five weeks.

The idea is to market the arts to appeal to tourists who are here for shopping and recreation.

VPR's Neal Charnoff speaks with Weston Playhouse producing director Steve Stettler about the festival.

Jazz Thriving In Southern Vermont

Jun 6, 2013
Courtesy of Vermont Jazz Center

All this week, jazz fans are focused on the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival.

But jazz thrives year-round in Brattleboro, thanks in part to the work of the Vermont Jazz Center and its artistic director Eugene Uman.

The Center was founded in 1974 by jazz guitarist Attila Zoller. Uman took over in 1998, and the Jazz Center continues to serve as a hub for concerts and jazz education.

Uman is performing this weekend with his own band, The Convergence Project, which he says incorporates Colombian and African influences.

The Legislative session is behind us, and the Summer Arts season is underway. 

The Vermont Arts Council's Executive Director Alex Aldrich says lawmakers showed their faith in the arts this session by increasing funding by 25 percent.

But Aldrich expresses concern that a change in Vermont's tax code could drive away wealthier residents and donors.

VPR's Neal Charnoff talks about these issues with Aldrich, who also gives us a few summer Art Hounds recommendations.

Thea Alvin

This week, Mary Williams talks with Morrisville artist Thea Alvin who creates arches from stone. Working at her craft for 30 years, she builds enormous arches and spirals--some weighing 12 tons--that look natural in their settings as though created by nature itself.

Courtesy of Eli Klein Gallery, New York City.

An exhibit at the Brattleboro Museum is offering up a smorgasbord of Chinese art.

And that food metaphor is no accident.  The exhibit is called Hot Pot: A Taste of Contemporary Chinese Art and it runs through June 23.

Brattleboro Museum Chief Curator Mara Williams says the potpourri of painting, sculpture and conceptual art can be an entryway to understanding this huge and diverse society.

Shelburne Museum Season Includes Rare Wyeth Exhibit

May 10, 2013
Courtesy of Shelburne Museum

One of Vermont’s top attractions is about to open for the season.

The Shelburne Museum Spring Fest is Sunday, with garden tours, exhibition openings and a Mother’s Day doll tea party.

But the museum also begins a new phase this year, with the opening of new Center for Art and Education, and the transition to being a year-round attraction. 

VPR's Neal Charnoff sits down with  Shelburne Museum’s executive director, Tom  Denenberg, for a preview.

New Group Offers Networking For Cartoonists

May 9, 2013

This coming Tuesday is the inaugural meeting of the Comics Club in Burlington.

It's a new networking opportunity for those interested in sharing ideas and talking about opportunities to get one's work seen and sold.

The Comics Club is being organized by Iona Woolmington, an illustrator who also works as a farmer in Burlington's Intervale. 

Woolmington says the group is open to amateur and professional cartoonists and illustrators.

The Vermont-based Book Jam Blog.com is devoted to promoting reading, independent bookstores and public libraries. 

Readers can find reviews, recommendations, discussions and author interviews.

And The Book Jam is holding a live book-discussion event this coming Tuesday in Hardwick. 

VPR's Neal Charnoff speaks with Book Jam co-founders and moderators, Lisa Cadow  and  Lisa Christie to talk about the blog.`

Courtesy of Robert Eddy, First LIght Studios

Lost Nation Theater in Montpelier has opened its 25th season with an original play which is based on the letters of a civil war soldier from West Rochester, Vermont.

“Ransom” takes a startling look into the lives of soldiers, and those left at home.

“Ransom” grew out of a trove of letters and a diary written by Civil War soldier Ransom Towle.  They recount his enlistment in 1861, his capture by the Confederates, his remarkable escape while being marched to Andersonville Prison in Georgia and his journey back to Union lines.

Courtesy of Blance Moyse Chorale

J.S Bach’s choral masterpiece, the Mass in B Minor, was often a highlight of performances of the New England Bach Festival, which was disbanded in 2004.

Now the piece is returning to Southern Vermont courtesy of the Blanche Moyse Chorale, which is based at the Brattleboro Music Center.

The center was founded by Moyse in 1951. 

The Chorale will be joined by the Strathmere Orchestra and a quartet of vocal soloists, for concerts this weekend in Bellows Falls and Brattleboro.  

Peter Harrigan

St. Michael's College in Colchester is wrapping up a three-part Theater and Social Justice series focusing on the death penalty. 

The series is built around "Dead Man Walking", which originated as a book by Sister Helen Prejean about her experiences as a chaplain for death row inmates. 

Michael Worthington

The 30th Annual Burlington Discover Jazz Festival runs May 31st through June 9th. 

Headliners include sax-man Branford Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin and Latin-jazz master Poncho Sanchez.  

Discover Jazz Managing Director Linda Little says she's really looking forward to shows by Eliane Elias, a singer and pianist who brings a Brazilian flavor to her music, and young lion Greg Tardy.  

VPR's Neal Charnoff sat down with Linda Little for a preview.  

Kingdom County Productions

"Northern Borders" is the name of the new movie by Vermont film-maker Jay Craven.

Set in 1956, "Northern Borders" tells the coming-of-age story of a ten-year-old who is sent to live on his grandparents farm in the Northeast Kingdom.

The film marks the fifth time Craven has collaborated with Vermont author Howard Frank Mosher.  


The Vermont vocal ensemble Counterpoint is presenting three concerts this weekend celebrating the music of Vermont composers.

Counterpoint's Artistic Director Nathaniel Lew says it's been a longtime dream of his to present such a concert.

The concert will include works from three members of the UVM Music faculty-David Feurzeig, Patricia Julien, and Thomas L. Read-as well as works by Peter Hamlin of Middlebury College and Dennis Bathory-Kitsz.

Counterpoint also commissioned a piece by Jorge Martin.

VPR.net Archive

Sep 30, 2012

On April 15, 2013 we launched a new VPR.net. Much of the program content from the past 6 months, along with several weeks of news, migrated to the new site. The remaining news, program, and playlist content is still available in our archive.

If you're looking for something, try the site Search: it searches across the current site and the archives.

To explore the archive, visit www.vpr.net/archive.

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