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More than one of our reviewers has had glowing things to say about the Klezmer-rock band Golem over the years, so we’ll echo this enthusiasm for the New York City-based combo’s infectious energy and musical chops. Fronted by two crowd-pleasing singers, Annette Ezekiel Kogan and Aaron Diskin, this five-piece ensemble will ring out the old and ring in the new with their customary old-world zeal in Hudson on New Year’s Eve.

Then there’s this: If Golem were good enough to entertain the bride, groom, families and distinguished guests at Chelsea Clinton’s wedding this past summer, they’re good enough for your New Year’s Eve entertainment.

The Raya Brass Band, specialists (according to Time Out New York) in the “music of northern Greece, the southern Balkans and the Romany people,” will open.

Golem and guests will perform tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 31) beginning at 9 PM at Club Helsinki (405 Columbia St., Hudson). Tickets are $35, and admission is for ages 21 and over only. For more info, call 828-4800.

First Night Saratoga

Saratoga, that pretty little sister of Capital Region cities, still knows how to ring in the new year with a big community bang. And they’re kicking off 2011 with the 15th annual First Night Saratoga. This year’s theme is “Live Creatively,” and the evening’s eclectic lineup of dance, music, performance and family fun is living up to that motto.

There will be symphony music, face painting, traditional Native American dance, belly dance, folk music, experimental grooves, magic, juggling, jazz, a reptile show, ballet, clowns, an a capella chorus, and a “vibrational gong bath” at Saratoga Springs Yoga. When they say something for everyone, they mean it.

At 11 PM, locally grown, horn-fueled Funk Evolution will headline at the Saratoga City Center, while around town festivalgoers can count down to the sounds of Ernie Williams, Bluz House Rockers, Sonny and Perley, Kevin McKrell’s Train of Fools or a dozen other midnight musicians.

First Night Saratoga kicks off at 5:30 PM tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 31) throughout downtown Saratoga Springs, and the party continues into 2011. First Night buttons cost $15 (free for children under 5) and grant the wearer admission to all entertainment, transportation and festivities. Buttons can be purchased at various locations throughout Saratoga or can be preordered online at for pickup at the Saratoga Arts Center (320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs). For more info, call 584-3142 or check the website for a complete schedule of events.

Fiddler on the Roof

Perhaps you knew that the nine-time Tony Award-winning musical Fiddler on the Roof was originally titled Tevye and is based on the Yiddish stories of Tevye the Milkman by Sholem Aleichem. Perhaps you knew that the title “Fiddler on the Roof” refers to a painting by Marc Chagall, whose work was echoed on the original 1964 poster.

We didn’t.

But what we do know, and what you probably know, whether you choose to admit it or not, is that the rousing chorus of “Tradition!” the “Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum,” of “If I Were a Rich Man” put a touch of dance in any step and, wistful, bittersweet strains of “Matchmaker” and “Sunrise, Sunset,” tug at the strings of even the hardest heart.

The North American tour is swinging into Schenectady this week, starting John Preece as Tevye—a tradition in its own right, as this veteran fiddler has performed the hit show more than 3,000 times.

Fiddler on the Roof opens on the Mainstage at Proctors (432 State St., Schenectady) on Tuesday (Jan. 4) at 8 PM and runs through Jan. 9. Tickets range from $20 to $60. For more info, or to purchase tickets, call the box office at 346-6204.

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