Caffe Lena’s Update for the Week of December 14th

Who Will Carry the Music Forward?

Back in the ’60s and ’70s, there were more young families hanging around Caffe Lena than there are now. There was more singing in the back seat of the car, and in schools, and at summer camps. That’s a tradition worth preserving, and that’s what the Caffe Lena School of Music sets out to do. 

We had planned to launch small, after-school classes on March 10 for ages 7 to 12, with weekend family jams where we’d sit in a circle at Lena’s and play together. As the pandemic bore down, we retooled all our plans to work via Zoom. At first it seemed like the worst possible timing to launch the school, but it turned out to be the opposite. Kids, and then adults, needed a positive focus–and they found it through our online music lessons. 

It’s the strength of the folk community–the donors, the flexible musicians, the music lovers, the volunteers–that keep the music going through thick and thin. It’s not about creating the next star. It’s about music as a way to connect to our roots and to each other, and to just plain have fun. Our Annual Fund Drive is an essential part of funding this work. If you haven’t chipped in yet, please do so before December 31st.

With gratitude,

Here’s a big bright spot in the pandemic: a new generation of folk musicians!

All shows are streamed live with three cameras & premium audio.
Limited tickets are available to attend in person.

1. Click a photo below to go directly to that broadcast, OR
2. Visit our Livestream Webpage and click the red box labeled “More Info”


Monday, Dec 14 / 7 PM
Rick’s Picks Local Showcase:
Seth Warden & Matt McCabe

Long celebrated as a entertainer for children, Seth Warden released a new album on our stage earlier this year for an adult audience. His great arrangements and strong lyrics have made him a hit on regional radio. Matt McCabe is the force behind Saratoga Guitar, a supplier and unofficial clubhouse for musicians. His voice is rich and his guitar playing, as you might expect, is lovely.

Tuesday / 8 PM
“Live From Caffe Lena” Radio Show
106.1 and 97.7 FM 


Bluesman Mark Tolstrup and singer Jill Burnham play an original, Americana mash-up of smoky Texas Roadhouse and sultry Delta Blues. Turn on your radio and enjoy the sounds of an evening at Caffe Lena!

Wednesday, Dec 16 / 7 PM
Bluegrass Night
Lead by High Peaks Bluegrass Band

We look forward to resuming our monthly Bluegrass Jam, but in the meantime we’re keeping the flame burning by bringing the jam leaders to Lena’s stage for a play-along livestream. They’ll feature songs being taught in the Caffe Lena School of Music, plus Bluegrass, Gospel, Folk and popular tunes. Practice jamming while nobody’s watching!

Thursday, Dec 17 / 7 PM
The Heavenly Echoes: Songs of Praise

The Heavenly Echoes are a Southern-style R&B and gospel group founded more than fifty years ago by the late Deacon James Edmonds of the Sweet Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in Albany. Backed by guitar, bass, and drums, the Heavenly Echoes bring an authentic, personal style of gospel music to churches, festivals, and community-based organizations throughout the Capital Region. Volunteer activist group MLK Saratoga is a regular partner of Caffe Lena, joining forces for our Community Classroom Series, as well as an annual MLK Day Celebration. 

Friday, Dec 18 / 8 PM
Jes Hudak Homecoming

Jes grew up on the Caffe Lena stage, playing our open mic every week throughout her teens. Her passionate, original pop songs and huge piano melodies marked her as a rising star. After placing second out of thousands of contestants on Bravo’s Platinum Hit, she rose to the top of the Australian pop charts. After making her living in music for a decade in LA, she’s back in Saratoga with kids in tow. This is her official homecoming concert. 

Saturday, Dec 19 / 8 PM

Global jazz fusion quintet HEARD is anchored by pianist-composer Elizabeth Woodbury Kasius. The vibrant sound she orchestrates draws on extensive conservatory training and explorations of the sounds of West Africa, Brazil, the Caribbean and beyond. Their two energetic, upbeat albums have risen high on the WorldJazz Charts. Dancing welcome!

Sunday, Dec 20 / 12 PM
(Note the Show Time!)
A Joyful Noise! Gospel Show
A Benefit for Wellspring

We asked soulist Garland Nelson to gather the choir and return to our stage with the uplifting spiritual music heard at our monthly Gospel Brunch. He said yes, IF we could make the show a benefit for Wellspring, the nonprofit that provides domestic violence and sexual assault services for Saratoga and Washington County residents. Wellspring’s mission is to support survivors and create a community free of relationship and sexual abuse. The demand for their services has skyrocketed in an alarming way during the pandemic. Please do what you can to support and ENJOY this beautiful & important event.

Sunday, Dec 20 / 7 PM
Christmas with the McKrells

The McKrells bring Celtic-infused bluegrass for an evening of holiday cheer – featuring traditional and original songs, classic Christmas stories and good humor. This will be the band’s third visit to the Caffe during the pandemic, and each time the viewership grows. Their sentimental songs, rowdy crowd-pleasers, and seasonal favorites wash our cares away and give us hope that better days are coming soon. 

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