Make Music Day 2021 Announces Updated Schedule Of Events

Thousands of Live, Free, In-Person and Virtual Outdoor Music Making Events to Launch Sum-mer in Over 100 U.S. Cities

June 2, 2021

Make Music Day, the annual global celebration of music occurring on June 21, today announced its updated schedule of in-person and virtual music-making events that will immerse and enthrall participants while showcasing music’s power to connect, comfort, unite and uplift. Featuring thousands of free outdoor concerts, performances, music lessons and jam sessions nationwide, the all-day musical celebration on the summer solstice will be held in over 100 U.S. cities and the entire states of Connecticut, Hawaii, New Mexico, Vermont and Wisconsin. This year’s event will return to a mostly in-person experience after last year’s pivoted to a largely virtual one due to the pandemic. Safety protocols will remain in place.

Completely different from a traditional music festival, Make Music Day celebrates and promotes the natural music maker in all of us, regardless of age, ethnicity, background or skill level. Make Music Day is a free and open invitation for everyone to make, enjoy, perform, teach, learn and experience the joy of making music on the longest day of the year.

U.S. cities hosting major celebrations this year include New York City, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Madison (WI), Miami, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New Haven (CT), and Santa Fe, among others. Additionally, iconic buildings, landmarks and attractions in participating U.S. cities will shine orange in honor of Make Music Day.

Launched in France in 1982 as the te de la Musique, Make Music Day has become a global sensation, observed by hundreds of millions of people in over 1,000 cities in 120 countries. Make Music Day is presented in the U.S. by The NAMM Foundation and coordinated by the nonprofit Make Music Alliance.

To remember and honor the lives lost to COVID, Make Music Day will present a musical memorial, This Moment in Time, a series of gong performances nationwide and globally. At noon local time, a noted musician will play on a large gong for one straight hour, marking the year of incalculable loss, but also ushering in a new era. The performances will be live streamed to MakeMusicDay.org. Afterwards, in many locations, the public will be invited to play the gongs. This Moment in Time observances will take place in Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and 15 U.S. cities, with more locations to be announced.

Additional national highlights of Make Music Day in the U.S. will include:

• Flowerpot Music A new collection of pieces by composer Elliot Cole and directed by percussionist Peter Ferry features an unlikely but beautiful percussion instrument: the flowerpot. On June 21, over 40 groups will assemble in parks, fields and public squares to learn and premiere a special version of “Flowerpot Music.” Attending percussionists will receive Balter mallets, generously provided by partner Vic Firth.

Junkophonics — Cities across the U.S. will host junkophonics workshops where people of all ages can build wind, percussion and string instruments out of found objects.

Leaf Music — All around us, an exquisite musical instrument is hidden in plain site: the leaf. Music fans everywhere are urged to find their favorite tree and try the most common uncommon instrument. Leaf Music programs on June 21 will include a Global Leaf Symposium over Zoom, a Track Meet featuring leaf musicians, and instructional videos for turning your own greenery into a symphony.

Mass Appeal — People of all ages and skill levels will join together to make music in over 150 large, single-instrument groups. Anyone can take part, and in many cases, you don’t even need to bring an instrument! Hohner will provide free harmonicas to participants at 35 Harmonica Mass Appeal events. D’Addario is contributing ProMark drumsticks to 23 bucket drumming events, for anyone to use and bring home with them. Rhythm Band Instruments is sending bundles of Boomwhackers and hand percussion for 40 drum circles. And Alfred Music is providing free beginning ukulele songbooks for 34 ukulele gatherings.

MixMash Studios — The public is invited to send in short recordings of bass lines, barking dogs, vocals, machine noises, or anything else they find intriguing. Then, on June 21, producers will create an original piece using only those samples, and nothing more.

Music Lesson Marathon — Shake the dust off your instrument and start playing again, or try an instrument for the first time. Dozens of master musicians across a wide variety of instruments will be offering 12 hours of live, free online group lessons on Make Music Day, curated by Dance Music Initiative, Flight Ukuleles, Hohner Harmonicas, Jupiter Band Instruments, Music Teachers National Association, and Nuvo Instruments.

#MySongIsYourSong — Musicians will participate in a global song swap where they’ll learn an original song by another artist, and hear theirs covered in return.

The American Song — Capturing the stories and experiences of ordinary people across the U.S., the Make Music Alliance will pair 50 people — one from each state — with 50 professional songwriters. On June 21, each songwriter will video chat with their partner, write a song inspired by their talk, and then, during a second video chat, perform the song for their partner.

Track Meet — Over six hours, teams of four musicians will create brand new original tracks in a creative relay. Using SoundTrap, each musician will get one hour to add their contribution before the next teammate takes over. The final tracks will be hosted online for all to enjoy. This year, the new featured instrument is the aforementioned musical leaf.

Window Serenades — Musicians will continue the new MMD tradition of sharing the joy of live music with isolated elderly people by playing outside nursing home windows in 16 cities for those who request a song. Special thanks to Harman for supporting this project.

Young Composers Contest — To mark the Tulsa Race Massacre’s 100th anniversary, composers aged 13-21 wrote a song for an overdubbed, a cappella baritone singer, using text from a first-hand account of the tragedy. A panel of distinguished judges will select three winning pieces that will be recorded and released online on June 21.

City-specific U.S. highlights will include:

• El Paso (TX) — Locals can take part in “On a Hike Note,” a hike through the city’s mountainside, with live keyboards, donated by Casio, providing the soundtrack.

• Green Bay (WI) — Drawing on the city’s local history and heritage, organizers will present “Packerland Polka Palooza” in the Title Town District.

• Hartford (CT) — A series of overlapping performances by bands and musicians of multiple genres will be held in the popular Pratt Street Historic District. Organizers will also activate empty storefronts with music piped outside to be enjoyed by music fans and passersby.

• Houston (TX) — For its debut MMD, festivities will include Parks Department summer youth activations at 20 locations, and special Houston Airports Harmony in the Air performances.

• Knoxville (TN) — A classical music event at Zoo Knoxville’s Tiger Temple, and a celebration of the blues with music by Knoxville School of Rock and live painting at the Knoxville Museum of Art are among the highlights.

• Land O’ Lakes (WI) — A piano player will serenade fishermen, boaters and beach-goers at Black Oak Lake Beach.

• Las Cruces (NM) — At Klein Park in the historic Mesquite District, a local mariachi group will discuss mariachi music’s importance to the region’s culture before giving a special performance.

• Milwaukee (WI) — City institutions including the Beulah Brinton House, Florentine Opera, and UWM Music Library will all hold special live and online programs. Additionally, Guitars 4 Vets will showcase local guitarist veterans.

• New York (NY) — The flagship event of MMD, Make Music New York highlights will include “Masayo Ishigura and Miyabi Koto Shamisen Ensemble” in partnership with the Consulate General of Japan at Bryant Park; “Music Traveler at Oculus,” featuring five distinctive, lively and interactive piano-centric sets from the ground level of Downtown’s famed public transit hub; “Mozart’s Requiem;” and “The Apollo Presents: Respect the House,” where noted house DJs will perform under the Apollo Theater marquee.

• Platteville (WI) — “The “M” Stands for Music and Mining” event will be held atop the highest point in southern Wisconsin — the world’s largest “M” — and in the underground Bevans Mine using a portable keyboard donated by Casio.

• Portland (ME) — A claw-foot tub and shower with curtain complete with a sound system will be set up in a busy downtown square, Lobsterman Park, so people can hop in and show off their shower singing skills.

• Southeastern (CT) — Over 100 performances will occur across the region with New London holding “stages” at the Whale Tail, Garde Arts Center, and Cumulus Media New London.

Simultaneously with the U.S. events, Make Music Day will be celebrated globally. Make Music Day UK, in partnership with Beyond Skin and the John Cage Trust, will debut a series of videos from around the world showing performances of John Cage’s silent composition, 4’33”, along with hundreds of more traditional concerts and music workshops. In Lagos, Nigeria, highlights include a “New Music Marathon” where radio stations play songs that have never before been broadcast, and “Pop-up Worship,” a gospel music songwriting camp for youth.

Elsewhere, Australia will stage backyard and balcony concerts and street performances countrywide, Make Music Cyprus will feature concerts throughout the old city of Nicosia, and 400+ Italian cities will participate, one highlight being a performance at Castello Sforzesco in Milan by Italian rock star Eduardo Bennato. Additionally, Make Music Day celebrations will be held for the first time in Mexico (at venues in Mexico City and Cuernavaca) and in South Africa (in Durban).

At www.makemusicday.org on June 21, a 12-hour Global Livestream will show highlights of these Make Music Day programs, and many others, as they unfold around the world.

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 virtual and in-person events will be posted on the website in early June.

The official hashtag is #MakeMusicDay.

For editorial photos of previous MMD events click here.

About Make Music Day

Held annually on June 21 to coincide with the summer solstice, Make Music Day is part of the international te de la Music taking place in more than 1,000 cities across 120 countries. The daylong, musical free-for-all celebrates music in all its forms, encouraging people to band together and play in free public concerts. This year, over 100 U.S. cities and the entire states of Connecticut, Hawaii, New Mexico, Vermont and Wisconsin are organizing Make Music celebrations, encompassing thousands of music making opportunities nationwide. Make Music Day is presented by The NAMM Foundation and coordinated by the nonprofit Make Music Alliance. For more information, please visit www.makemusicday.org

Participating U.S. Make Music Cities in 2021

Albuquerque (NM), Allen (TX), Anaheim (CA), Appleton (WI), Austin, (TX), Avon Lake (OH), Barron (WI), Beaumont (TX), Beverly Hills (CA), Big Bear Lake (CA), Black Hills (SD), Bridgeport (CT), Charleston (SC), Charlotte (NC), Chattanooga (TN), Chequamegon Bay (WI), Chicago (IL), Cincinnati (OH), Columbia (SC), Crystal Lake (IL), Dallas (TX), Danbury (CT), Darke County (OH), Davis (CA), Decatur (AL), Denton (TX), Denver (CO), El Paso (TX), Englewood (NJ), Fairfield (CT), Federal Way (WA), Fitchburg (WI), Gallup (NM), Gig Harbor (WA), Green Bay (WI), Hartford (CT), Hastings (MN), Hebron (CT), Houston (TX), Issaquah (WA), Ithaca (NY), Kansas City (MO), Kenosha (WI), Knoxville (TN), La Crosse (WI), Lancaster (PA), Land O’ Lakes (WI), Las Cruces (NM), Liberty (MO), Los Angeles (CA), Macon (GA), Madison (WI), Marshfield (WI), Miami (FL), Middletown (CT), Milford (CT), Milwaukee (WI), Montclair (NJ), Montgomery (AL), Nashville (TN), Newark (NJ), New Haven (CT), New York (NY), Nicholasville (KY), Northwestern (CT), Norwalk (CT), Orange (CA), Ossining (NY), Palm Beach County (FL), Peoria (AZ), Philadelphia (PA), Phoenix (AZ), Pittsburgh (PA), Platteville (WI), Portland (ME), Provo (UT), Rolla (MO), Roselle Park (NJ), Ridgefield (CT), St. Louis (MO), Salem (OR), San Jose (CA), Santa Fe (NM), Seattle (WA), Southeast (CT), Stamford (CT), Stratford (CT), Temecula (CA), Topanga (CA), Tucson (AZ), Twin Cities (MN), Ventura County (CA), Waterbury (CT), Waunakee (WI), Yonkers (NY) and the entire states of Connecticut, Hawaii, New Mexico, Vermont and Wisconsin.

About NAMM

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry. NAMM is comprised of approximately 10,300 members located in 104 countries and regions. NAMM events and members fund The NAMM Foundation's efforts to promote the pleasures and benefits of music, and advance active participation in music making across the lifespan. For more information about NAMM, please visit www.namm.org, call 800.767.NAMM (6266) or follow the organization on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.