After a year of isolation and stress, Make Music Day is returning to in-person and outdoor events in hopes to reconnect communities. Musicians of all ages and skill levels from around the world will unite for a day of fun, collaboration and mentorship by participating in free music-making events on June 21.
Make Music is a celebration of music around the world on the Summer Solstice. First held in France as the Fête de la Musique in 1982, it is now held annually in more than 1,000 cities in 120 countries.
Fête de la Musique made its North American debut with Make Music NY. Starting as a grassroots initiative by a team of volunteers, the event quickly became a success. Today, over 5,000 New York musicians perform at free, outdoor concerts on June 21.
Within the New York area, Ithaca, Ossining-Briarcliff and New York City are hosting celebrations this year. They plan to hold in-person interactive events, like ukulele circles, live concerts, and even jam sessions on house porches. They will be continuing some virtual activities from last year, including a “sing together” over Zoom. Safety precautions, such as masks and social distancing, are still in place based on location guidelines.
A record 90+ U.S. cities have announced they are celebrating Make Music Day in person this year. New chapters have launched recently in Alabama, California, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin, bringing the holiday to even more of the country.
To memorialize the loss of the past year, Make Music Day will include a project called This Moment In Time, a series of gong performances in public places around the world. Anyone with a large gong is invited to bring it out at noon on June 21, and play for one uninterrupted hour.
For the second year, the Make Music Alliance is offering a composition contest for composers aged 13-21 in commemoration of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The Tulsa Race Massacre took place on May 31 – June 1, when a mob of White residents attacked Black residents and businesses in the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Young composers are invited to write a song for an overdubbed, a cappella baritone singer, using text from a first-hand account of the massacre by B.C. Franklin, a lawyer at the time. A panel of judges, including composers Hiroya Miura, Trevor Weston, composer/conductor Francisco Núñez, and soprano Talise Trevigne, will provide feedback and select three winning pieces.
The winning pieces will be professionally recorded by baritone Christopher Herbert and released online for Make Music Day. Winning composers will also receive a free copy of Finale music notation software.
The submission deadline for the composition contest is May 31, full details can be found on the contest webpage.
The celebrations will include a second percussion project, the premiere of Flowerpot Music, written by Elliot Cole and directed by Peter Ferry. This piece uses various flowerpots as drums to make chime-like sounds. An interactive lesson will be held to teach participants how to play the unlikely instrument alongside the premiere. Flowerpot Music No. 1 was premiered virtually last year, but composer Elliot Cole has specially created a new version for this year’s Make Music Day.
Anyone can attend this event regardless of prior percussion experience. Mallets will be provided.
For a full list of Make Music Day locations and how to register, check out the Make Music Day official website.