Make Music Day, the worldwide festival of music held annually on the summer solstice, has announced its updated schedule of unique, exciting and culturally diverse events for its 40th anniversary celebration and full in-person return on June 21. Encompassing more than 5,000 free outdoor concerts, performances, music lessons and jam sessions nationwide, the daylong musical free-for-all will be staged in over 100 U.S. cities – with the flagship event in New York City – and the entire states of Connecticut, Hawaii, New Mexico, Vermont and Wisconsin.
Launched in France in 1982 as the Fête de la Musique, Make Music Day has become a global phenomenon, celebrated by hundreds of millions of people in more than 1,000 cities in 120 countries, including the U.S., where it spread quickly after debuting in New York in 2007. Held on the longest day of the year, the world’s largest annual music event celebrates and promotes the natural music maker in everyone, regardless of age, background and skill level.
Completely different from a traditional music festival, Make Music Day is open to anyone who wants to take part. Reimagining their cities and towns as stages, every kind of musician – young and old, amateur and professional, of every musical persuasion – fills streets, parks, plazas, porches, rooftops, gardens and other public spaces to celebrate, create and share their music with friends, neighbors, and strangers.
To honor the festival’s 40th anniversary and in homage to its French roots, a special concert series called Faire la Fête will feature 40 concerts in 40 countries, showcasing music by French songwriters and composers. In New York City, the festivities will kick off with a special morning ceremony with French and U.S. elected officials and dignitaries at The Battery, in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, our nation’s powerful symbol of the friendship between France and America. The ceremony will include a performance of Carnival of the Animals by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns, written in 1886, the same year the Statue of Liberty was inaugurated. Throughout the day, dozens of French-themed concerts will be held at seven outdoor locations at Liberty Island, Ellis Island, and The Battery.
Highlights of Make Music Day in the U.S. will include Flowerpot Music in 24 cities including New York, Houston, St. Louis and Tucson where music will come from an unlikely but beautiful percussion instrument: the flowerpot; Sousapaloozas in New York, Portland (ME), Hartford, Wichita and elsewhere that bring together hundreds of brass, wind and percussion musicians to play the music of John Philip Sousa; and Mass Appeal in 65 cities where people of all ages and skill levels will join together to make music in large single-instrument groups.
Additional highlights include Street Studios in New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Dallas, and Stamford CT (and internationally in Germany, Hungary, Mexico, and Brazil) where world-class DJs and producers will set up their gear on sidewalks and engage passersby and musicians to join in an entirely improvised music creation session, sponsored by Harman; a #MySongisYourSong global song swap, featuring over 200 songwriters around the world; and Uncommon Instruments, whereby the public can discover new and unusual instruments thanks to partners such as Makey Makey, which is supplying kits to 14 cities so performers can turn everyday objects into touchpads and use them for music, and Panyard, which is providing 27 cities with Jumbie Jams, an entry level steel pan designed to be easily played by anyone.
Make Music Day will also feature a Young Composers contest in partnership with the Grammy-winning vocal group The Swingles, and a Global Livestream featuring musicians in the U.S. broadcasting their performances on a shared livestream, together with their counterparts in several countries; and remote jam sessions hosted by jazz pianist Dan Tepfer called “Round Midnight Around the World” with collaborators in different time zones playing the Thelonious Monk standard together using low-latency FarPlay audio software.
City-specific highlights around the U.S. will include:
Anaheim (CA) – Music teachers from Anaheim Elementary School district will lead workshops for Boomwhackers, bucket drumming, ukulele jams, and a performance of Flowerpot Music at Farmers Park.
Fairfield (CT) – An afternoon serenade from the deck of PEARL, a 40′ Yawl moored in Southport Harbor.
Hartford (CT) – Matt Dwonszyk will lead a large group of double bass players called “Basses Loaded,” assembled especially for a Make Music Day event at the Old State House in Downtown Hartford, in an homage to Charles Mingus for his centennial year.
Houston (TX) – Highlights will include Memorial Park Conservancy hosting five international performances curated by the Consulate General of France in Houston, and Kaminari Taiko, a Japanese drumming ensemble, giving an evening performance on the Plaza of Rothko Chapel, one of Houston’s most revered spaces for personal contemplation, interfaith dialogue and action for human rights.
Kansas City (MO) – Visitors to The Farmers Market will use Makey Makeys to transform vegetables and fruits into musical notes.
Kenosha (WI) – Public Craft Brewing Company will create and display a Keg Drum Set made entirely of old kegs and casts.
Los Angeles (CA) – Highlights include a member and elder of the Gabrieleno Tongva, San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians, leading a group of Tongva musicians in a Blessing of the Land at dawn at the Silver Lake Reservoir; an all-day concert on the historic Hollywood Walk of Fame, and a performance where wax figures from Madame Tussauds may come to life.
Madison (WI) — The city will transform into a stage with music of all styles, from hip-hop to blues, indie-rock to Japanese taiko drumming, and even an interactive performance utilizing Makey Makey circuit boards to get the audience involved in making music.
New Haven (CT) – Zookeepers from the Beardsley Zoo will introduce animals to the audience in between musical numbers at a Brass Quartet on the Downtown New Haven Green presented by the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, International Festival of Arts & Ideas and the zoo.
New York (NY) – An afternoon of music under the Apollo’s iconic marquee where hosts MamaSoul & The L.A.W. from The Harlem Connection radio show will lead a musical journey through Motown, soul, hip-hop, Afrobeat, Caribbean, Latin music and more.
Pittsburgh (PA) – The Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, Pittsburgh’s premier ballet company of nearly 50 years, will host a “Jazz and Jam” improv dance and live jazz music session in their space for Jazz dancers of all ages, followed by a Piano and Yoga event with Lydia Kilian.
Portland (ME) – Shower singing in a busy downtown square and the chance to find out what rocks would sound like if they could sing are among the highlights.
St. Louis (MO) – Residents can play and enjoy local artist-designed Make Music Pianos placed in public spaces across the city.
Sheboygan (WI) – Locals will use Makey Makeys to turn two of Wisconsin’s most iconic foods – brats and cheese – into instruments.
Superior (WI) – A performance will be held on Barker’s Island at North Shore SUP during which a musician will play for all who want to try out standup paddling or simply come down and listen dockside.
Syracuse (NY) – Since salt potatoes are a favorite side dish of the region, local rapper Crispyonthemic, who raps exclusively about potatoes, will use a Makey Makey to play fingerling potatoes and rap over it.
Additionally, in accordance with an annual tradition, and in a show of visual harmony, iconic buildings and landmarks across the United States including Niagara Falls will light up and shine orange – a color evoking the sun and the first day of summer – in honor of Make Music Day.
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 www.makemusicday.org. A full schedule of in-person events will be posted on the website in early June.
Make Music Day is presented in the U.S. by The NAMM Foundation and coordinated by the nonprofit Make Music Alliance. The official hashtag is #MakeMusicDay.
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