Lark Hall open their Window Sessions to the whole neighborhood
Lark Hall is a private venue nestled perfectly in the Lark Street neighborhood in Albany, NY, and has been slowly crafted by co-owners Justin and Jennifer Miller. Envisioned as a historic building repurposed for entertainment and wellness, including a yoga studio, Lark Hall was just positioning to leave their imprint in the community before COVID 19 shuttered its doors.
But now the venue has something exciting to offer: Window Sessions.
Window Sessions is the first official performance series presented and hosted by the venue. It will open on Friday, May 29 with a performance by The Wheel. The series will also serve as a fundraiser for Feed Albany, the not for profit organization that has focused on feeding Albany restaurant workers since the COVID 19 crisis hit the capital region.
The 14,000 square foot building was constructed in 1916 by the Daughters of the Eastern Star as a meeting and performance hall that included street level retail and meeting spaces, and a 3,000+ square foot venue space with 22’ ceilings, a stage, intricate mezzanine areas, and an artist’s green room and living quarters located above the stage.
Most recently owned and utilized as a dance studio, Lark Hall has been lovingly restored by the Millers as a new venue for local music lovers to come enjoy the shared community of music.
“As every venue and theater has had to identify ways to recalibrate, as a new venue, we decided that this would be a great way to introduce our space to musicians and artists,” said Justin Miller, co-owner. Their goal is to have 8 – 10 artists perform, beginning with The Wheel this weekend and Hartley’s Encore next. Look for future performance from local and regional favorites.
Inspired by the Louisville musician Jim James, of My Morning Jacket, Lark Hall wanted to utilize music as James did in his song “Lift Up Louisville.” The community of musicians came together in Louisville to inspire their community members to not only stay safe but emotionally positive during the COVID 19 isolation policies.
The Millers were talking and looking for ways to support Albany in a similar way. The idea began about 4 weeks ago as a zoom project. But as the Capital Region began opening up, the venue was ready – and the owners realized they had an opportunity.
“We have a unique asset, with these large open windows that open into the community,” Justin explained. Each week, local artists are invited to perform the Grateful Dead anthem “Ripple,” building a montage around the well loved song that could support Feed Albany while highlighting the venue and artists’ talents.
Production work on the film will be supported by Frankie Cavone of Mirth Films.
“Through Window Sessions, we’re able to support not just a great cause in that of Feed Albany, but to add some much needed vibrancy back to Lark Street,” noted Jennifer Miller, co-owner.
The Hall is versatile, and will offer not only opportunities for jazz, folk and americana concerts, private events (such as weddings), and also contemporary offerings. The Hall was set to initially open in June, but due to the COVID crisis, their construction was delayed; the Hall looks to September for a soft opening at this time.
Lark Hall eventually will serve as a one-of-a-kind residency for artists to perform, stay and hone their craft in a comfortable oasis from touring. The building’s first floor at street level boasts over 3,000 square feet of commercial space that hosts Lark Street Yoga Studio (1,400 square feet of high end yoga and fitness studio space) and related amenities, along with an additional approximately 1,000 square foot lobby and common space that will host the Lark Hall Box Office and new elevator bay.
The Hall’s innovative performance series will simulcast performances to YouTube and Lark Hall’s social media channels, in addition to amplified through the venue’s historical windows. In compliance with state guidance regarding entertainment, only the musicians and essential personnel will be allowed. On-street listeners at the corner of Hudson Avenue and Lark Street may listen, so long as they are social distancing and not impeding upon sidewalk right-of-way.
The Wheel is a five-piece rock-n-roll band covering mostly music of the Grateful Dead. Founded in 2010 by Andy Morse looking to play to his roots of years chasing the Grateful Dead, he formed The Wheel. More information about The Wheel can be found at TheWheelBand.com.
Viewers and listeners can visit Lark Hall on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for the feed starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 29. Additional performances will be listed on social media. To donate to Feed Albany, visit feedalbany.com.