Make Music Day, the worldwide festival of making music held annually on the summer solstice, today announced the return of its vast program with over 4,000 live, free music-making events across the United States on Wednesday, June 21.
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 around the world, including 120 cities in the U.S., where it has 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 or skill level.
Last year, 104 U.S. cities organized 3,819 free Make Music events on June 21, with more than 100 concerts each in Cincinnati, Kansas City, Madison, New York, and Salem (OR). This year, Albany, Ann Arbor, Fresno, Indianapolis, Raleigh, and Tulsa are celebrating their inaugural Make Music Days, while Boston, Detroit, Huntsville, and San Diego return for the first time since the pandemic. Over 120 cities are active, and well over 4,000 events are planned around the country, including statewide celebrations across Alabama, Connecticut, Hawaii, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
Completely different from a traditional music festival, Make Music Day activities are free and open to anyone wanting to participate. 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.
Showing just how participatory Make Music Day can be, Stridulations by composer and percussionist Billy Martin (Medeski Martin & Wood), a suite of interlocking rhythmic compositions that anyone can join, will be a new June 21 highlight this year in dozens of cities, including New York City, where Martin will conduct a performance for percussionists and vocalists at Little Island on the West Side of Manhattan. (The name “Stridulations” refers to the sound of crickets, a species that makes music collectively.)
Uniting the piano community, another new project called Roomful of Pianos will bring together hundreds of pianists of different levels to perform music by W.A. Mozart, William Bolcom, and others arranged for ten pianos or more. Piano showrooms and music schools in Austin, Duluth (GA), Fresno, Houston, and New York City have signed on to host these colossal piano events, which grow out of an annual project organized since 2018 at The NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA.
And in a new global highlight, Make Music, Make Friends will connect school children aged 7-13 from Australia, China, Italy, Thailand, the U.K., and the U.S. on Make Music Day. Ten classes from each country will create a musical greeting video, share it with schools from different countries, and have their students watch the musical messages on June 21 to expose them to different regions and cultures.
Other national highlights of Make Music Day 2023 will include:
Flowerpot Music – For the fourth year, 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.
Mass Appeal – People of all ages and skill levels will band together to make music in large, single-instrument groups. This year, leading music brands such as Alfred Music, Hohner, Rhythm Band Instruments, and Vic Firth are donating thousands of free instruments so that any member of the public can stop by these events and join the band.
#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, including Chicago, Lansing (MI), and New York, 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.
City-specific highlights around the U.S. will include:
Boston (MA) – an “Ultimate Jam Session” on the Rose Kennedy Greenway will feature a live funk band and opportunities for audience members to drum along with the band on buckets and percussion instruments.
Federal Way (WA) – Federal Way City Councilmember Jack Walsh will sing a solo outside his shop, Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream, at 10:00 a.m.
Frisco (TX) – the Frisco Athletic Center hosts a kazoo parade for anyone who wants to join, led by 85 of their Camp Lay Frisco campers and counselors.
Kansas City (MO) – a host of musicians will welcome travelers who are coming and going at the recently opened 40-gate terminal at Kansas City International Airport.
Marshfield (WI) – an old-time music sing-along for senior community members will follow lunch at the 2nd St Community Center.
Raleigh (NC) – the City of Raleigh Museum will host an Instrument Zoo with the NC Symphony, a harmonica workshop, and a strum-along with the Raleigh Uke Jam.
San Jose (CA) – musical performances will take place at sunset under the pool of moving lights and sounds of Sonic Runway, a light-art installation in front of San Jose City Hall.
York County (PA) – an experimental performance by Nodding Onion features musicians improvising along with the natural sounds of plants.
All Make Music Day events are free and open to the public. Participants who wish to perform, or host musical events, may register at www.makemusicday.org. A full schedule of 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.
Make Music Day 2023 will take place in the following states and cities:
Alabama: Decatur, Florence, Gadsden, Gulf Shores, Huntsville and Montgomery; Arizona: Tucson; California: Anaheim, Auburn, Beverly Hills, Big Bear, Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Topanga; Colorado: Denver; Connecticut: Danbury, Fairfield, Hebron, Middletown, New Canaan, New Haven, Northwest CT, Norwalk, Ridgefield, Southbury, Southeastern CT, Stratford, and Waterbury; Florida: Miami; Georgia: Atlanta and Macon; Hawaii: on all islands; Illinois: Chicago; Indiana: Indianapolis; Massachusetts: Boston; Maine: Portland; Michigan: Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Lansing; Minnesota: Hastings; Missouri: Columbia, Kansas City, Liberty, Rolla, and St. Louis; North Carolina: Raleigh; New Jersey: Englewood, Montclair, and Newark; New Mexico: Albuquerque and Santa Fe; New York: Albany, New York City, Ossining, Syracuse, and Yonkers; Ohio: Avon Lake, Cincinnati, and Darke County; Oklahoma: Tulsa; Oregon: Clatsop County, McMinnville, Polk County, Rogue Valley and Salem; Pennsylvania: Altoona, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and York County; South Carolina: Columbia; Tennessee: Chattanooga, Knoxville and Nashville; Texas: El Paso, Frisco, Houston, and Laredo; Utah: Utah County; Vermont: statewide; Washington: Federal Way, Gig Harbor, Issaquah, and Seattle; Wisconsin: Appleton, Barron, Beloit, Chequamegon Bay, DeForest, Eau Claire, Green Bay, Kenosha, La Crosse, Land O’Lakes, Madison, Marshfield, Middleton, Milwaukee, Platteville, River Valley, Sparta, Stevens Point, Sun Prairie, Superior, and Waunakee.