MAKE MUSIC DAY 2021 RETURNS ON MONDAY, JUNE 21
5,000+ Live, Free, Virtual and In-Person Outdoor Music Making Events to Usher in Summer in Over 90 U.S. Cities
Worldwide Celebration Embodies Music’s Enduring Power to Bring Joy, Connectivity, Healing and Unity to All People
Make Music Day, the annual global celebration of music held on the summer solstice, returns this year on June 21 with an exciting, creative and diverse lineup of both virtual and in-person music-making events that will immerse and enthrall participants while spotlighting music’s power to connect, comfort, unite and uplift. Over 90 U.S. cities and the entire states of Connecticut, Hawaii, New Mexico, Vermont and Wisconsin will take part in the live, free daylong celebration, encompassing over 5,000 concerts, performances, music lessons, jam sessions and other musical events nationwide. Safety protocols will be in place following local requirements, including mask-wearing, social distancing and limited capacities and group sizes.
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 an open invitation for everyone to make, enjoy, perform, teach, learn and experience music on the longest day of the year. Due to the pandemic, last year’s celebration was largely virtual, but many in-person events will return in 2021.
Launched in France in 1982 as the Fête de la Musique, Make Music Day has become an international phenomenon, celebrated 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.
One global highlight of Make Music Day 2021 is a musical memorial to the pandemic’s devastation called This Moment in Time. Working with musicians and cultural partners worldwide, massive gongs will appear in public spaces on June 21. At noon local time, a celebrated local musician will play the gong for one uninterrupted hour, marking the incalculable loss of the past year. Along with being free and open to a live audience, these performances will be live streamed to makemusicday.org. Afterwards, in many locations the public will be invited to play the gong themselves, hearing the unfathomable mystery of the sound, experiencing the cathartic feeling of hitting something massive, and feeling the deep therapeutic vibrations in their bodies.
Another new international program highlights an exquisite musical instrument that is hidden in plain sight: the leaf. Leaf Music, where a humble tree leaf is blown to create a simple reed instrument, has a long history in China, Cambodia, Australia, Brazil, Japan and Nepal. Leaf Music programs on June 21 will include an International Leaf Symposium over Zoom, a Track Meet where leaf musicians will collaborate sequentially with other musicians to produce new musical tracks, and instructional videos to help anyone turn their local greenery into a symphony of sound.
Other national highlights of Make Music Day 2021 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. People in cities across the U.S. will join together safely to debut “Flowerpot Music: Make Music Day book.”
- Junkophonics — Learn how to build and play fun musical instrument that you create from found objects. Participants can get tips from Bash the Trash Environmental Arts performers and educators as well as instrument builder extraordinaire Craig Woodson. Junkophonics Workshops are being held nationwide.
- Mass Appeal — People of all ages and skill levels will join together both online and in physically distanced, in-person settings to make music in large, single-instrument groups.
- MixMash Studios — Between June 6-20, 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, selected producers will have 24 hours to create an original piece of music using only those samples provided, and nothing more.
- Music Lesson Marathon — Dozens of master musicians curated by Dance Music Initiative, Flight Ukuleles, Hohner Harmonicas, Music Teachers National Association, Nuvo Instruments, and more will offer 12 hours of free, online group lessons on a variety of instruments and across all skill levels. Jump around and experience different instruments, or binge on 12 hours of your favorite.
- #MySongIsYourSong — Musicians will join 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 in a diversity of styles. On the morning of June 21, each songwriter will video chat with their partner for an hour. In the afternoon, they will write a song inspired by their conversation. That evening, over a second video chat with their conversation partner, they will give a live private performance of the song they just wrote.
- Window Serenades — Musicians nationwide will continue the new Make Music Day tradition of sharing live music with isolated elderly people. Select nursing homes are partnering with local Make Music chapters to invite solo musicians to safely serenade residents from outside their windows.
- Young Composers Contest — In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre of May 31 – June 1, 1921, composers aged 13-21 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, and submit it by May 31st. A panel of distinguished judges, including composers Hiroya Miura and Trevor Weston, composer/conductor Francisco Núñez, and soprano Talise Trevigne, will provide feedback and select three winning pieces, which will be professionally recorded by baritone Christopher Herbert and released online for Make Music Day.
City-specific highlights around the U.S. will include:
- Chicago (IL) — Local vocal quartet Fourth Coast Ensemble will present “Journey Song,” an interactive event that celebrates travel during Make Music Day. Utilizing Chicago’s unique byways, the singers will arrive by boat along the Chicago River and disembark in Ping Tom Park, all while performing a program of music inspired by exploration and discovery. The singers’ voices and piano will be amplified throughout the park.
- Kansas City (MO) — Make Music Kansas City will debut Musication Station. Inspired by guitarist and sonic scientist Mark Stewart, in collaboration with two local musical instrument manufacturers, they will present a special “No Experience Required Sound Making Event.”
- Knoxville (TN) — Mailboxes with small speakers inside of them will be placed around a local neighborhood, creating an immersive sound experience for passersby to enjoy.
- New York (NY) — “Wake Up! Wake Up! A Choral Tapestry Honoring Our Earth,” which is presented in partnership with Diana Wege/The Earth Requiem Project, will celebrate the Environmental Justice movement through performances by an 18-voice professional choir directed by Malcolm J. Merriweather, readings by Dr. Dorceta E. Taylor, and the visual art works of Wege. It takes place at the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in historic Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park.
- Philadelphia (PA) — Local musician and Make Music Philadelphia coordinator Vincent James will give 50 music lessons (virtually) to students across the 50 U.S. states beginning June 18 and concluding on Make Music Day.
In the virtual realm, Make Music Day is partnering with Bramble to create interactive spaces where participants can (virtually) walk around and interact with each other freely for concerts, talks, workshops, and social gatherings. And on the makemusicday.org website on June 21, a 12-hour Global Livestream will show highlights of Make Music Day programs 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, please visit https://www.makemusicday.org/media/photos/
About Make Music Day
Held annually on June 21 to coincide with the summer solstice, Make Music Day is part of the international Fête de la Musique 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 90 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), Avon Lake (OH), Austin (TX), Barron (WI), 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), Danbury (CT), Darke County (OH), 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), Lancaster (PA), Land O’ Lakes (WI), Las Cruces (NM), Liberty (MO), Los Angeles (CA), Macon (GA), Madison (WI), Marshfield (WI), Miami (FL), Milwaukee (WI), Middletown (CT), Montclair (NJ), Montgomery (AL), Nashville (TN), 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), 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), and the entire states of Connecticut, Hawaii, New Mexico, Vermont and Wisconsin.
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.