Make Music Day, the global celebration of music held annually on the summer solstice, announced that this year’s program will observe the festival’s 40th anniversary and feature a full return to in-person events, with more than 5,000 live, free music-making events held nationwide on Tuesday, June 21.
Launched in France in 1982 as the Fête de la Musique, Make Music Day has been growing across the United States for the last 15 years, since the debut of Make Music New York in 2007. This year’s celebration will feature participation from more than 100 U.S. cities – including the flagship event in New York City – and the entire states of Connecticut, Hawaii, Vermont and Wisconsin, with concerts, performances, music lessons, jam sessions and other musical events occurring throughout the day, from dawn to dusk. For the first time, the cities of Atlanta (Georgia), Columbia (Missouri), and Fargo-Moorhead (North Dakota) will join in.
“Make Music Day is thrilled to celebrate its historic 40th anniversary with one of our most impressive, comprehensive programs to date, which truly spans the country and seeks to inspire participation by music lovers of all experience levels,” said Make Music Alliance President Aaron Friedman. “At a time when music, togetherness and artistic expression is more important than ever, it is our hope that everyone – amateurs to professionals, from coast to coast – can find an event to take part in and celebrate the positive and profound effect that music has on our lives.”
Completely different from a traditional music festival, Make Music Day celebrates and promotes the natural music maker in everyone, regardless of ability. Reimagining their cities and towns as stages, every kind of musician – young and old, amateur and professional, of every musical persuasion – pours onto streets, parks, plazas, porches, rooftops, gardens and other public spaces to celebrate, create and share their music with friends, neighbors, and strangers.
In homage to its French roots, Make Music Day will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a kick-off event in New York City on the morning of Tuesday, June 21, with French and American elected officials and dignitaries at Battery Park in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, symbolizing the friendship and connections between France and the United States. The event 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. Following the kick-off, dozens of French-themed concerts will be held all day throughout New York Harbor, with additional concerts, inspired by the presence of Lady Liberty, featuring contributions by the city’s immigrant communities. As usual, hundreds of other concerts and music-making activities, of every kind, will also take place across the city for Make Music New York on June 21.
Other highlights of Make Music Day 2022 in the United States will include:
· Flowerpot Music – Participants around the country will be invited to perform a composition by celebrated composer Elliot Cole and directed by percussionist Peter Ferry using an unlikely but beautiful percussion instrument: the flowerpot. Appropriate for musicians and non-musicians alike, participants can join a group and create outdoor soundscapes through easy-to-learn games.
· Global Livestreams – Musicians in the U.S. will broadcast their performances on a shared livestream, together with others celebrating Make Music Day in Australia, Cyprus, Nigeria, and the United Kingdom. Among other programs will be a series of 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.
· Mass Appeal – People of all ages and skills levels will join together to make music in large, single-instrument groups. This year, leading music brands are donating thousands of free instruments so that any member of the public can stop by these events and join the band. Mass Appeal programs will benefit from 2,400 free harmonicas from Hohner, 1,600 ukulele songbooks from Alfred Music, 500 pairs of drumsticks from Promark, and over 1,000 hand percussion instruments from Rhythm Band Instruments.
· #MySongIsYourSong – Songwriters and composers of all styles and walks of life will join in a global song swap where they’ll learn a song by another artist, and hear theirs covered in return.
· Sousapalooza – In multiple cities, large groups of brass and wind musicians will assemble in parks and plazas to play the music of “March King” John Philip Sousa. Anyone is invited to download the music, bring their horn, and join the band.
· Uncommon Instruments – The public will discover new and unusual instruments thanks to partnerships with several innovative companies. With the Makey Makey, performers of all levels will turn everyday objects into touchpads and use them to make music. Makey Makey will supply kits to dozens of Make Music Day chapters – including Anaheim (CA), Kansas City (MO), and Platteville (WI) – and work with them to devise new, fun ways to incorporate this technology into collaborative music making and learning through play. In another partnership, Panyard will supply Jumbie Jams, an entry level steel pan designed to be easily playable by anyone, to chapters in Atlanta (GA), Hartford (CT), Houston (TX), Kansas City (MO), New Haven (CT), Ridgefield (CT), Santa Fe (NM), and Syracuse (NY), enabling them to introduce the instrument to a wider audience.
· Young Composers Contest – Make Music Alliance is partnering with the five-time Grammy-winning vocal group The Swingles to present this year’s contest in which composers aged 13-21 will submit a written song using the text of the poem, “A Jelly-Fish,” by Marianne Moore. The winning piece will be recorded by The Swingles and released on June 21. The contest is presented with support from Notefight, which will provide entrants with a free three-month trial of the software.
City-specific highlights around the United States will include:
· Cincinnati (OH) – Musicians will perform on the Cincinnati Bell Connector, the city’s streetcar, switching bands every half-hour between three different vehicles.
· Houston (TX) – To kick off the local celebration, a series of performances by Bayou City Funk and others will take place on the steps of City Hall after remarks by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Consulate General of France in Houston Valerie Baraban.
· Madison (WI) – Musical performances will take place on all four corners of the Capitol Square, and the Yid Vicious Klezmer Ensemble will perform on a boat floating down the Yahara River.
· Miami (FL) – An RV known as “The Toad” will rove around mainland Miami, with multiple bands performing in and around the vehicle at several stops.
· Nashville (TN) – A tambourine jam will be held at Nashville International Airport, with tambourines given away to airline passengers as they arrive and depart.
Additionally, in accordance with an annual tradition, and in a show of visual harmony, iconic buildings and landmarks across the United States will light up and shine orange – a color evoking the sun and the first day of summer – in honor of Make Music Day.