Caffé Lena to Expand Online Music School This Fall

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Known far and wide as a popular spot for live music, Saratoga’s Caffé Lena faced the same fate as concert halls across the country when Covid-19 struck: closed until further notice. Instead of waiting for a cure, the 60-year-old venue turned into a broadcasting facility overnight. They sent live music out to the world via YouTube, calling the shows “The Stay Home Sessions.” It also launched an online music school.

“With people cooped up and needing a positive outlet, especially school kids, the timing turned out to be unexpectedly good,” said Caffé Lena School of Music Coordinator, Vivian Nesbitt.

Under the tutelage of Saratoga musicians Oona Grady and James Gascoyne, the children’s program is growing to meet the needs of young students whose skills have grown since mid-March. Ukulele, tin whistle, banjo, guitar and fiddle are proving popular with youngsters who have discovered a universe of music little known to their generation.

Scholarships are available for the next round of children’s classes, which begin September 15th. More information can be found at www.caffelena.org/music-school-kids.

Four-week group lessons for adults are drawing students and teachers from across the country. Two-time GRAMMY-winners Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer have been added to the faculty for the fall session, joining fiddler and banjoist Bruce Molsky of Beacon, NY, blues guitarist Guy Davis of New York City, California songwriter Dan Navarro, and Virginia-based singer Siobhan Quinn. The complete list of available classes can be found at https://www.caffelena.org/music-school/.

“We believe in the power of music to get us through the hard times,” said Nesbitt. “Zoom is not what we had in mind when we launched the School of Music, but it won’t be long before these students are on stage in front of a live audience. Our dream is that the next generation of folk musicians will be born out of this crisis.”

Caffé Lena has started welcoming small groups to enjoy caffé offerings and live music in its historic listening room. To see a schedule of upcoming events visit www.caffelena.org.

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