A cappella festival returns
BRATTLEBORO — After a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a cappella music makes a triumphant return to Brattleboro’s Latchis Theater with the 18th (almost) annual Collegiate A Cappella Benefit Concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, a benefit for the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC).
The concert will feature six groups, including the Tufts Beelzebubs, Vassar Devils, UMass Vocal Suspects, Williams College Ephlats, and two other groups. Ben Brady, a Brattleboro Union High School alumnus, will be returning to his hometown to sing with the Vassar Devils.
The Collegiate A Cappella Benefit Concert was launched in 2004 by Dede Cummings, then a trustee of BMAC. Cummings arranged for the Brown University Jabberwocks, of which her son Sam Carmichael was a member, and other groups with local connections to perform in Brattleboro, and a lasting tradition was born.
“For 17 years, the community embraced this annual event with such enthusiasm,” said BMAC Director Danny Lichtenfeld, who happens to be an alumnus of the Tufts Beelzebubs. “It’s a lot of fun. We really missed hosting it in 2021 and are thrilled to bring it back in 2022.”
Reserved seat tickets start at $10; go to www.brattleboromuseum.org online. Proof of vaccination and masks are required for admission.
BARRE — Faced with spiking COVID Omicron cases here in the Green Mountain State and continuing its efforts to maintain as safe an environment as possible for its patrons, artists, volunteers and staff, the Barre Opera House has rescheduled three January shows and one February show to later dates.
— The annual Vermont Burlesque Festival “Granite City Showcase” has moved from Jan. 21 to 7 p.m. April 22.
— The Irish “Celtgrass” band, We Banjo 3, has moved from its Jan. 22 date to 7:30 p.m. May 7.
— No Strings Marionettes’ “The Snow Maiden,” originally scheduled for Jan. 23, is now planned for 2 p.m. April 3.
— Finally, former Great Big Sea frontman Alan Doyle, who was on the calendar for Feb. 18, will move to next season with a show on Feb. 17, 2023. (Anyone wishing a refund for the Alan Doyle show should make that request by calling the box office by May 15.)
All purchased tickets will be honored on the new dates. For information, call 802-476-8188, or go to www.barreoperahouse.org online.
ESSEX JUNCTION — The Winter Renaissance Faire returns to the Champlain Valley Exposition, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 5 and 6. Come inside from the cold and snow and join us for a full weekend of merriment and fun for the whole family.
The Winter Renaissance Faire is an event for all ages, featuring various and sundry of performance troupes, including singers, musicians and dancers; as well as Medieval living history and fight demonstrations.
With over 60 artisans and craft vendors — including over a dozen new to the faire vendors — you can discover handcrafted jewelry, woodcrafts, Medieval-inspired clothing, leather crafts, swords and armor, mead, and more.
Patrons can also indulge their appetites with tasty treats from cultures around the world. Walk the faire with a turkey leg in hand, sample delicacies from the Far and Middle East or satisfy your sweet tooth with a tasty treat.
Artist award applications
BURLINGTON — Applications for Burlington City Arts’ second annual Diane Gabriel Visual Artist Award are now open.
The award was established in 2021 by the family of Diane Gabriel (1947-2017), one of Vermont’s most celebrated artists and educators. This award is given on an annual basis to emerging Vermont-based artists to support their creative development.
The award recipient will receive a $1,500 cash stipend and a $1,000 value toward class registration and/or usage of BCA Studio facilities for one year. The deadline for submissions is March 31.
Vt. Creative Futures
MONTPELIER — The Vermont Creative Network is advocating in the Vermont Legislature for an economic recovery package that invests $17.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for cultural nonprofits and creative businesses, a sector profoundly jeopardized by the pandemic.
Companion bills in the House and Senate, co-sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Jerome and Sen. Alison Clarkson, with an additional 27 co-signers, would support a Creative Economy Recovery Program to include:
— $10 million in Creative Economy Grants for organizations and businesses that sustained substantial losses resulting from COVID or which continue to operate at limited capacity.
— $4 million to help nonprofit cultural organizations with facility adaptions, for example, to purchase air-purification systems and hand-sanitizer dispensers, assess and upgrade HVAC systems, or to expand outdoor seating.
— $2 million for transitional costs required to implement safe public programming, such as touch-less ticketing, online sales platforms and COVID-related health and safety protocols.
The grants could reach over 200 creative businesses and cultural organizations in Vermont to help them rebuild and recover and to ensure the viability of these important community institutions. Grant recipients would include museums, theaters, galleries, studios, performing arts venues, and other cultural organizations, as well as other creative sector businesses.
Recovery is expensive. In order to welcome audiences back, for example, theaters and museums are hiring more front-line staff to conduct vaccine-card checks, purchasing masks for performers, crew, and staff; and investing in deep-cleaning between events or tent rentals to create outdoor venues.
The recovery package also sets aside $750,000 for Creative Spaces Grants to revitalize vacant retail or office spaces through art and culture, such as events, workshops, studios or exhibitions. Grants would provide rental income to landlords while enabling artists or creative businesses to thrive and in turn sparking energy in towns and villages.
The recovery package also includes $500,000 to support statewide and regional marketing of arts and cultural events, venues, and creative sector businesses, and $250,000 to sustain and build the Vermont Creative Network in order to implement the CreateVT Action Plan.
Vermont’s creative sector lost more than 8,000 jobs and more than $216 million in sales from April to July 2020 during the first year of the pandemic, according to a Brookings Institution study. In a more recent analysis, the 197 cultural organizations that applied for the Council’s most recent Covid-relief grants reported $36 million in lost revenue from April 2020 to mid-2021.
Vermont is scheduled to receive more than $1.25 billion in coronavirus state and local fiscal recovery funding from ARPA.