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It’s the event we didn’t think would pull through this year: Larkfest. We also never thought we’d see downtown Albany’s Lark Street as the bustling and quaint artery of the Center Square Neighborhood again either. We were aghast when all of the trees were taken out, and the construction seemed endless. But, lo and behold, the transformation took place as scheduled, and it actually looks good. Trees have been planted (yes, they’re smaller), the sidewalks and roadways are new, the crosswalks have cobblestones, and, in the “if you build it they will come” vein, Lark Street appears to be hopping again.

There were rumors that Larkfest, an annual festival of arts and music, would be held somewhere other than its namesake. Perhaps in order to avoid the trouble of renaming the popular event, the city hustled to finish the project—so let the festivities begin.

Larkfest commences Saturday at 10:30 AM, and at 11:30 there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the mayor marking the reopening of Lark Street. It takes place on the world-music stage at the corner of Lark and Madison Avenue. Speaking of music, plenty will be ringing through the streets. On the aforementioned stage, the Costa Rican sensation Mandorico will headline (3:45). They like to blend rock and hiphop with African, Cuban and Caribbean influences. Also on that stage are the George Boone Blues Band, Ricky Husbands and Blue Illusion starting things off (noon).

The rock stage (at Lark and Spring streets) features rootsy-bluesy pop-rock act Sirsy headlining (4 PM), and Funkshop Loomis, Third to None, Public Access and the Velmas (11:15 AM) preceding. The third music stage, the acoustic stage (at the Trinity Methodist Church parking lot), features Mitch Elrod’s CountrySoulHouse headlining (4:25 PM), preceded by MotherJudge, No Outlet, Maria Zemantauski & Alegria, Katie Haverly, Erin Harkes, Steve Candelin and Michael Eck (taking the stage at 11 AM).

There will also be a kids’ stage (at Lark Street and Hudson Avenue), with storytellers, dancers, jugglers and musicians, and, as always, plenty to eat, drink and purchase. Larkfest takes place Saturday (Sept. 13) from 10:30 AM until 5 PM.

Martha Graham Dance Company

Dance New York, the Egg’s seasonlong series of six dance performances, kicks off with the Martha Graham Dance Company tomorrow (Friday). Martha Graham, who died in 1991 at age 96, founded her company in New York in 1926, making it one of the oldest and most celebrated contemporary dance companies still around. Due to a long court battle between Graham’s sole heir, Ronald Protas, and the dance center she founded over rightful ownership of more than a half-century’s worth of her dances, it has been legally impossible of late for her company to perform her works. With a recent court decision that awarded the center ownership of most of Graham’s choreographies, the company is now free to perform the works once again.

Under the direction of principal dancers Terese Capucilli and Christine Dakin, the Martha Graham Dance Company will perform Maple Leaf Rag (with live piano accompaniment), Errand Into the Maze, Diversion of Angels, and Sketches From Chronicle. The performance will be held at the Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany) tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 12) at 8 PM. Tickets are $28 for adults, $22 for seniors, and $14 for children. For more information and tickets, call 473-1845.

Chez Chaminade

When the musical modernists consigned romanticism to the dustbin of history—sometime around the middle of the last century—Cecile Chaminade ended up on the same heap with her now better-remembered male contemporaries. Fame is indeed fleeting: In the early nineteen-aughts, French composer Chaminade was highly regarded. Her works, which included a few concertos, a ballet, a symphony and hundreds of songs, enjoyed international popularity. She was consistently praised for what one historian calls her “typically French wit and color.” There were Chaminade clubs across the United States, and her 1908 stateside tour was a great success.

Self-described lyric-comic soprano Alaina Warren Zachary (pictured) has dedicated herself to bringing Chaminade back into prominence. She recorded an album of some of Chaminade’s most memorable songs (Mon Coeur Chante! The Songs of Cecile Chaminade, on the Brana label), and has created Chez Chaminade, a celebration of the composer’s life and songs. Zachary will bring this program—which features Zachary, in character as Chaminade, offering anecdotes along with the melodies—to the Spencertown Academy on Saturday evening.

Zachary, a Broadway veteran of the original productions of Grease and Nine, has since dedicated herself to performing the classical repertory. She’ll be accompanied by well-known, locally based Lincoln Mayorga on piano.

Chez Chaminade will be presented Saturday (Sept. 13) at 8 PM at the Spencertown Academy (790 Route 203, Spencertown). Tickets are $15 general admission and $12 for members. For reservations and information, call 392-3693, or visit

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