Make Music Winter Celebrates Ten Years

Elizabeth Dale

Presented by The NAMM Foundation and the Make Music Alliance, Make Music Winter is a free, outdoor music celebration for musicians of all ages and skill levels. Occurring each year on December 21 and coinciding with the winter solstice, this marks the tenth anniversary of the event.

Started in December of 2011 in New York City, Make Music Winter has grown to include 40 different cities throughout the United States. As the winter counterpart to the June 21st Make Music Day, the summer solstice, Make Music Winter, has been transforming audiences into musicians for the last decade. While the streets are typically buzzing with activity as large groups gather to celebrate the power of music each December 21, the 2020 celebration will look a bit different, albeit with the same enthusiasm.

In a time when the world is still grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent social-distancing protocols, many of the loved offerings of Make Music Winter are receiving a twist for safer musical gatherings alternatives. New to the 2020 Make Music Winter lineup are:

Citizens Band Radio: Large ensembles in St. Petersburg, Florida, will be splitting up into small groups to ride as passengers in a slow procession of cars. While listening to a local community radio station, the station will broadcast at a pre-determined time a piece from the ensemble’s arsenal. Using the broadcast as a “click track,” the band members will roll down their windows, stick out their horns, tambourines, amps, and other instruments to perform a synchronized mobile performance for people on the street.

Window Serenades: Solo musicians and small groups will perform live outside nursing home windows for isolated populations to lift spirits. Window Serenades debuted during this year’s Make Music Day on June 21 to such great success that it was only natural to continue the new tradition.


Percussion Parades: With instruments donated by Make Music Winter sponsor, Rhythm Band Instruments, and Vic Firth, music will come alive around the country. Scheduled events include handbell ringing at Lake Superior in Chequamegon Bay, Wisconsin; a children’s percussion parade in Ridgefield, Connecticut; a “Little Drummer Boy Hawaiian Style” performance in Honolulu, Hawaii featuring slack key guitars, ukuleles, and percussion; and a Pizza Box and Paint Bucket Marching Band in Federal Way, Washington.

These new and exciting events are not the only ways to participate in Make Music Winter. Many cities across the US are planning socially-distanced, in-person events to take place on the winter solstice. Highlights include New York City’s flagship event, a dozen socially-distanced musical parades across the five boroughs. NYC also is participating in the community project “Harmonicas in Solidarity,” and “Bell by Bell,” a series of handbell compositions for beginners; “32 for Third,” a program of Beethoven’s sonatas performed by the Third Street Music School; and “Flatfoot Flatbush,” a Brooklyn-based parade of music and dancing from the Appalachia region.

Flatfoot Flatbush - 2016

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For more updates on Make Music Winter, please visit and join in the conversation by using #MakeMusicWinter.