Make Music Day, the annual global celebration of music occurring each June 21st, has announced its full schedule of over 4,000 free, outdoor concerts, music lessons and jam sessions – with more to come – in over 60 U.S. cities. The all-day musical celebration on the summer solstice brings people of all styles, ages and skill levels together to make and enjoy music. Cities hosting major celebrations include New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Portland Oregan, St. Louis, San Jose, Seattle and the entire states of Vermont and Rhode Island, with smaller festivities being held in other communities nationwide.
Completely different from a typical music festival, Make Music Day celebrates and promotes the natural music maker in all of us, regardless of ability. Every kind of musician – from bucket drummers to opera singers – pours onto streets, parks, plazas, porches, rooftops, gardens and other public spaces to share their music with friends, neighbors and strangers.
More than 175 Mass Appeal events nationwide will bring together musicians of all levels and ages to make music in large, single-instrument groups led by experienced facilitators. Instruments with Mass Appeal events include guitars, harmonicas, accordions, flutes, percussion, trombones, bassoons, French horns, synthesizers, ukuleles, djembes, harps, voices, dulcimers and more.
Free guitar, harmonica, ukuleles, drum and other instrumental lessons are being offered nationwide. In New York City, a celebration of “peace songs” across the generations will compose the songbook for an ensemble performance of hundreds of guitars in Union Square Park. Prior to the concert, guitar teachers will give free lessons.
Sousapaloozas in Chicago, Cleveland, Iowa City and Minneapolis-St. Paul will bring together hundreds of brass and wind music musicians to play the music of John Philip Sousa, while Street Studios in Cedar Rapids, Chattanooga, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Nashville, New York, Philadelphia and San Jose will feature DJs and producers bringing gear and engaging passersby in the spontaneous, collaborative production of original music on the street.
Make Music Day, which began in France in 1982 as the Fête de la Musique, has since grown to more than 750 cities across 120 countries – and is presented in the U.S. by The NAMM Foundation and coordinated by the nonprofit Make Music Alliance.
Additional national Make Music Day 2017 highlights include:
- Ella Fitzgerald Piano Bar – To mark Ella’s 100th birthday anniversary and with support from the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation, a pickup truck decked out with a keyboard and PA system will make stops at key locations in both New York and Los Angeles including the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. At each stop, members of the public will be given songbooks and invited to sing their favorite Ella song with live piano accompaniment.
- Boomwhackers – In an “MP3 Experiment” produced by Improv Everywhere, over 3,000 participants in New York’s Battery Park will download an MP3 track that provides a kind of narrated adventure experience featuring Boomwhackers, which are colorful plastic tubes. By following the narration on the MP3, they will make music together by hitting the Boomwhackers against nearby objects. Other cities staging excerpts of this MP3 Experiment are Chattanooga, Nashville, Seattle, Salem and San Jose.
- pBuzz – Using pBuzzes, an introductory brass instrument (made of plastic) with a slide,groups of elementary school students in New York City, Philadelphia, Chattanooga, Washington DC, Huntsville and Fullerton will play a few simple songs, including a version of James Brown’s “I Feel Good”
- The Gauntlet – In New York City and Chicago, choirs will perform composer Sxip Shirey’s 2016 piece, which calls for two rows of 30 singers to engage in a musical dialogue as audience members immerse themselves by walking, at their own pace, through the rows of paired singers.
- Bucket Drumming – Outdoor bucket drumming workshops will be held in plazas and parks in 12 cities including Boston, Philadelphia, San Jose and Worcester (MA)
- Lift Every Voice: Musicians Rising for Racial Justice – Quartets in Boston, Chicago and Cleveland will simultaneously perform Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” and George Walkers “Lyric for Strings.” In Chicago, each quartet will play at a different location before coming together for an evening performance at Wrigley Square.
- Young Composers Contest – Software company MakeMusic Inc. and the nonprofit American Composers Forum held a Make Music Day composition contest for young composers, aged 13-21. The winning composer, Dakota Pedersen of Cedar Lake (IN) will have his piece, “Spring Dances,” premiere in select cities on June 21.
- Stones/Water/Time/Breath – Performances of Dean Rosenthal’s experimental composition in which participants choose any body of water and perform a set of actions designed to create a soothing listening experience will be held in Boston, Chicago, Emeryville (CA), Northampton (MA) and Pittsburgh
Other events around the country will spotlight the musical history and ingenuity of each city including:
- Auburn, AL – on the eve of Make Music Day, in a downtown parking lot, Spicer’s Music will try to break the world record for the largest rock-and-roll band ever to play a song together. They will sing Sister Hazel’s “All for You,” and Ken Block and Drew Copeland from the band will join the performance.
- Boston, MA – percussionists will distribute shakers to morning straphangers at the Copley T station, creating a musical “Commuter Shake”
- Buffalo, NY – musicians will play inside the Marine A grain elevator at historic Silo City
- Burlington, VT and Chattanooga, TN – musicians at the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington will perform with their counterparts at the Chattanooga Public Library via a futuristic internet connection
- Chattanooga, TN – Saxophonists will be popping into non-musical locations across the city to play “Careless Whisper” in memory of George Michael
- Davis, CA – a sing-along will be held in Central Park to mark the city’s centennial
- Fort Wayne, IN – visitors to Freimann Square can try out any of the 10 different interactive music stations
- Issaquah, WA – an all-instrument flash mob performance of “Louie Louie” will be held on the steps of City Hall
- Louisville, KY – the local Alliance Française will hold several lunchtime concerts downtown as well as an evening concert outside the Kentucky Center with a swing big band
- Los Angeles – a sunrise gospel celebration will be held at Griffith Park Observatory for hikers and early morning park users
- New York, NY – In the spirit of contemplation evoked through the repertoire and the setting, four grand pianos at the four corners of the World Trade Center Memorial Plaza will stage performances of music from J.S. Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier” by a rotating cast of professionals and students
- Niagara Falls, NY – a harmonica sing-along will be held at Green Island in Niagara Falls State Park. Free harmonicas will be given to the first 50 in attendance.
- Pawtucket, RI – the Pawsox (Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox) will host rapper V.I. Ferrell before their home game with Lehigh Valley
- Pittsburgh, PA – the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh will hold a sound exploration event led by Nuvo Instrumental
- Platteville, WI – children and adults alike will sing along to their favorite kids movie songs while soaking in the pool at the Platteville Family Aquatic Center
- Provo, UT – Bill Harris Music will host both ukulele and guitar workshops along with open mic and live bands
- San Jose, CA – At two of its branches, the San Jose Public Library will host Thump! Drum Circle, an interactive drum program for kids and families
- Washington, DC – musicians will unite together in the nation’s capital and globally to simultaneously perform the peace anthem, “Set Me Free”
- Wichita, KS – Senseney Music will hold a “Frozen” singalong and participants are encouraged to dress as characters from the hit musical film. All participants will be entitled to a buy one, get one free ice cream at the Dairy Queen across the street from the store.
- Worcester, MA – a local drummer will perform on a six-foot long metal playable percussion dragon that he created, and members of the public can play the dragon themselves
All Make Music Day events are free and open to the public. Participants who wish to perform, or to host musical events, may register at MakeMusicDay.org. A full schedule of events will be posted on the website in early June.
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.